In summary

  • Carpentry student Douglas Heath has been awarded Swinburne’s the First Year Apprentice of the Year at the Swinburne Trade Awards
  • The award recognises new industry talent in addition to resilience when faced with the challenges of COVID-19
  • Through the support of Milwaukee Tool, students like Mr Heath have the resources they need to work in the industry 

After finding out he had been named Swinburne’s First Year Apprentice of the Year for carpentry, Douglas Heath was ‘overwhelmed and shocked’. A month later and Mr Heath says it still hasn’t sunk in.

‘This is a huge achievement for me and has helped me to believe in myself because I struggle a lot with self-doubt. It’s a privilege to have won and I’m so grateful and appreciative.’

After studying the Certificate II in Building and Construction Pre-apprenticeship – Carpentry, Mr Heath transitioned into the Certificate III in Carpentry while working as an apprentice at T Walshe Constructions.

His efforts and dedication to his studies and trade was recognised at the 2021 Swinburne Trade Awards, where he was awarded a Milwaukee M18 Brushed Drill Driver, Milwaukee Impact Driver Combo, $50 Total Tools voucher and honour that comes with being the First Year Apprentice of the Year for carpentry.

Swinburne’s Manager of Building Trades Jane Clancy says students were judged on trade skills and knowledge as well as interpersonal skills. 

‘Yes, the winners are great carpenters or bricklayers but the past two years have shown us that we are judged by much more important attributes,’

Like every other industry, Swinburne’s trade school has dealt with adversity due to COVID-19. 

‘It’s often misunderstood the depth of education that trades people must go through to be qualified. This year, with the added pressures, it is particularly important to still recognise the great people out there building our homes and maintaining our infrastructure,’ she says.

‘Douglas has shown immense motivation and energy for every task he tackles at trade school, that is also reflected onsite.’

T Walshe Constructions owner, Tyson Walshe, says he is very proud of Mr Heath. 

‘I cannot fault Doug’s work ethic and punctuality; he’s very deserving of the award. He’s very level-headed for a young guy and if he keeps up the hard work, he will be a successful carpenter,’ says Mr Walshe.

Building the future

Studying at Swinburne taught Mr Heath not only the basics of the trade, but also how to execute the skills as best as possible in a supportive and friendly environment. 

‘It’s great to be able to communicate and learn from the staff as well as each other,’ he says. 

Milwaukee Tool Job Site Solutions Manager, Daniel Ventieri, says the company is committed to supporting apprentices early in their careers through providing prizes, in addition to their yearly donation of tools to Swinburne. 

‘Milwaukee Tool is proud to partner with Swinburne to help apprentices develop the best skills to get the best start to their careers. They are our future tradespeople and we want to encourage them to strive for excellence in their work,’ says Mr Ventieri.

‘Recognising their achievements and celebrating their success is important to us and important for these students.’

Mr Heath says he is amazed at the support he has received from Milwaukee and the Swinburne community after being named First Year Apprentice of the Year. 

‘Winning this award doesn’t feel real or right when there are so many deserving people in the same sector.’

He hopes future students will embrace the Swinburne trade school and apprenticeship experience. 

‘Hard work pays off and try to enjoy what you do, because there’s no point doing what you’re doing if you don’t enjoy it.’

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