In Summary

This year’s Victorian Training Awards have seen horticulture student, Chris Henbery, announced as a finalist in two categories, including the inaugural Community Choice Award.

Chris, a mature aged student from Swinburne University of Technology who grew up in London alongside 10 siblings, was thrilled to learn that he was one of the frontrunners for the Community Choice Award as well as the Apprentice of the Year Award.

“I’m proud to represent Swinburne. The University has provided a supportive and solid foundation for my apprenticeship. Hopefully being a finalist means I can show future apprentices how important apprenticeships are to this country,” Chris said.

“Having an opportunity to highlight apprenticeships, particularly in horticulture and a job I love, is great.”

Chris undertook his apprenticeship at Braeside’s Gardenworld, a nursery where spending time with customers was something he really enjoyed.

“Sharing my knowledge to help customers get the garden they want is a definite highlight. I also love the fact that I get to spend everyday out in the open and not having to be in an office.”

As a young boy, Chris loved spending time in the garden. Living with a houseful of brothers and sisters in London where outside space is limited, the tranquillity of the outdoors was somewhere for Chris to escape.

However, it was only recently that he decided to pursue his passion for horticulture.

“I had previously worked in the banking industry for nine years, so this was a total change for me, especially because I have five year old son and family to support.”

Chris has completed his Certificate III in Horticulture (Retail Nursery) and has now started a buying role at Gardenworld.

“I would love to open my own retail nursery in five to 10 years and be able to offer apprentices the opportunities I have had.”

 The new Community Choice Award category was introduced to reinforce the Victorian Government’s support for apprentices in Victoria.

“Apprenticeships are at the heart of our training system, which is why this Government is providing apprentices with more support and opportunities to develop their skills,” Minister for Training and Skills Steve Herbert said.

Voting is now open for the Community Choice Award, you can vote for Chris so jump online to show your support.

The winners will be announced at the awards night at Crown Palladium on 28 August 2015.

Swinburne Professional Writing and Editing teacher Kate Herbert has also been named as a finalist in the Victorian Training Awards. Read more about Kate's nomination for VET Teacher of the Year

If you would like course advice or help with your application to study at Swinburne call 1300 275 794 or visit our website