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Education Training

2024 Southern and Southwest Sydney Training Awards celebrate excellence in Vocational Education and Training

NSW Department of Education 3 mins read

The region's most outstanding people and organisations working and learning in the vocational education and training (VET) sector have been recognised at this year’s Southern and Southwest Sydney Training Awards. 


The event celebrated the achievements of all category winners including apprentices, trainees, students, businesses, and trainers that champion vocational education.  


Special recognition was given to Shane Button and Joshua Sullivan, who took top honours at the awards ceremony held at the Western Sydney Conference Centre.


Taking out the Apprentice of the Year category was Shane Button who received the award for showing exceptional dedication, exemplary work ethic, and unwavering commitment to excellence in the electrical industry.


Whether it's volunteering for additional training opportunities, assisting colleagues at Fredon Industries with complex projects, or volunteering his time to mentor young apprentices, Shane consistently demonstrates a commitment to excellence and a passion for his craft.


Trainee of the Year, Joshua Sullivan, received his award for his dedication to horticulture, after completing a Certificate 3, and landing a role at Flower Power Garden Centre in Milperra.


Joshua shows appreciation to the environment, contributes to his community, shows initiative in all that he does and respects his peers and the people in his community.


The finalists and winners at the Southern and Southwest Sydney regional awards exemplify the world-class VET sector in the region, highlighting the breadth of rewarding career opportunities offered by vocational education and training.  


Presented by Training Services NSW, the awards demonstrate the importance of providing real skills for real careers and highlight the NSW Government’s commitment to building a resilient and highly skilled workforce. 


Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan said:


"We know that many jobs created in the next decade will require vocational qualifications. These awards celebrate the young workers, trainers and businesses working to ensure we meet this challenge."


"Congratulations to Shane and Joshua for their remarkable achievements. Their stories exemplify the transformative power of VET and the opportunities it creates for individuals to thrive and make a significant impact in their communities." 


Apprentice of the Year, Shane Button, said: 


“This apprenticeship didn't just change my life; it saved it. Prior to this opportunity, my prospects were limited. But now, I stand transformed, equipped with skills that have opened doors I never thought possible.”


“As an Indigenous person, I'm deeply committed to uplifting others. I've embraced mentorship, guiding young Indigenous apprentices, sharing my journey, and inspiring them to pursue their dreams.”


Trainee of the Year, Joshua Sullivan, said: 


“This VET course has been a huge personal and professional improvement in my day-to-day life. I can say I am much better off after pursuing this traineeship.”


“One of the most unexpected outcomes of the course has been the improvement in my cooking skills. I was the type of person who was a 2-minute noodle connoisseur but now, through my knowledge of plants I have started to grow my own herbs, veggies and even fruit to use in cooking.”


For more information on VET in NSW visit 






Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year - Corina Button - Lethbridge Park

Apprentice of the Year - Shane Button - Penrith

School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year - Caitlin Schneider - Miranda

Trainee of the Year - Joshua Sullivan - Narwee

VET in Schools Student of the Year - Coen Furtner - Tahmoor

VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year - George Frangioudakis - Roselands

Vocational Student of the Year - Felicity Pettiford - Currans Hill

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