NOORAT’S Shona McGuigan has received the top prize at this year’s South West TAFE’s annual Trades Awards – the Apprentice of the Year award.
More than 300 people attended the awards ceremony on Thursday, October 10 to celebrate the achievements of students across a range of trades, including plumbing, carpentry, electrical and engineering.
The former Mortlake P-12 College student, Ms McGuigan also took home the award for best third year plumbing apprentice and the Brian Crichton Memorial Award for displaying perseverance through schooling to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals in plumbing.
She said she was “shocked” when she learnt she had won the top prize.
“It was an amazing opportunity to win the Apprentice of the Year award,” Ms McGuigan said.
“I’ve seen some pretty good apprentices both in my class, and out on construction sites, who could’ve easily taken out that award, so it was a huge compliment to be selected as the winner.”
Ms McGuigan recently completed her exams to close out her last year of trade school, with another year as an apprentice with Warrnambool’s Cri-Tech Plumbing still to come.
“I still have the chance to complete Certificate IV in Plumbing when I’ve completely finished my apprenticeship, which I can definitely see myself doing,” she said.
“That will allow me to run my own business, but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to working full-time and promoting women in the plumbing trade.”
Ms McGuigan said she hoped the award would show to others that achieving anything was possible with the right support and motivation.
“I feel it’s important to be recognised as it pushes apprentices to strive to be better,” she said.
“With a big award out there, it creates a higher standard and ultimately creates a stronger and more determined workforce of apprentices coming through each and every year.
“I’m not just talking about ‘females can do what males can do’, I’m talking about anybody can try anything that they want to do. Hopefully, winning these awards can promote to society that you can do anything out of the ordinary and be successful like I have.”
Ms McGuigan thanked her family, friends, Cri-Tech Plumbing’s Justin Sarra and South West TAFE’s plumbing department for their support.
Mortlake’s Luke Smith was also named the runner-up in the Automotive Apprentice of the Year award.