Swinburne carpentry apprentice, Steven Jeffery, has won the Apprentice of the Year award at the 2016 Victorian Training Awards.
It is the third consecutive year that a Swinburne apprentice has taken out this category.
In 2015, the award was given to horticulture apprentice Chris Henbery, and in 2014 fitter and turner Melinda Lethbridge was named Victorian Apprentice of the Year.
“We are incredibly proud of Steven, his achievements and ambition,” says Executive Director Pathways and Vocational Education at Swinburne, David Coltman. “There is no doubt he has an amazing career ahead of him and is a young man to watch.
“It is also a fantastic recognition of the staff and support available to students at Swinburne, that we have again been recognised for our student’s achievement.”
Steven says he was proud to represent Swinburne at the awards.
“It's an absolute honour to win this award and a privilege to be recognised in the top level of my industry and the VET system.
“I hope to inspire future students to seek out the amazing career opportunities that the VET system has to offer.”
Steven completed a Certificate III in Carpentry and Certificate IV in Building and Construction and undertook his apprenticeship through his father’s business.
While he knew from a very young age he wanted to be a builder, he struggled in school with dyslexia.
“Even though it was hard, I never hid behind it or used it as an excuse to lower my standards or my commitment to work,” Steven says. “In fact, it gave me the opportunity to push past my 'limitations' and constantly improve.”
Steven travelled to India and Cambodia as part of Swinburne Global Tradies, a program that enables students to volunteer their time and skills to build in developing communities. He helped raise $25,000 for building materials for an arts centre in Kampot, Cambodia.
“The whole experience was awe-inspiring and mind-blowing. It was great to work side by side with the local tradesmen, being able to learn different building techniques,” Steven says.
Steven wrote an essay about his experiences that won him third prize in UNESCO’s first Skills in Action awards for young people that have used their vocational skills to help others in developing countries.
In the future, he hopes to run his own building business and train and invest in apprentices.
Steven will represent Victoria at the 2016 Australian Training Awards in Darwin on Thursday 17 November 2016.