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Education Training

2024 Western Sydney and Blue Mountains Training Awards celebrate excellence in Vocational Education and Training?

NSW Department of Education 3 mins read

Note to editor: photos from the Training Awards can be downloaded here.

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 Western Sydney and Blue Mountains Regional 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 Samer Rawas and Isabella Bruce, who took top honours at the 2024 Western Sydney and Blue Mountains Regional Training Awards ceremony held at the Western Sydney Conference Centre.   

Taking out the Apprentice of the Year category is Samer who relocated from Perth to Sydney to complete his Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician with Endeavour Energy. He is passionate about helping young people from immigrant backgrounds overcome ‘hidden barriers’ due to a lack of cultural awareness. 

Samer is commended for mentoring younger apprentices and inspiring students to pursue trade pathways. In addition to being a VET ambassador, Samer is known for his willingness to respect and include people from all backgrounds. 

An early interest in playing video games and assembling computers led Trainee of the Year, Isabella, to complete her Certificate III in Information Technology. She is celebrated for role in IT training, collaboration to resolve persistent issues and project management. 

Isabella’s proactivity in suggesting and implementing improvements to optimise operations and continuous pursuit of learning and development also saw her take out the Top Performing Trainee Scholarship from MIGAS and the CEO award for role at her host employer, Jaybro. 

The finalists and winners at the Western Sydney and Blue Mountains 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 Samer and Isabella 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, Samer Rawas, said: 

“I chose to pursue this training pathway out of my desire to ensure my community continues to display a shining example of the thriving electrical transmission network it lives under.” 

“I believe the most important quality of an Apprentice of the Year is the ability to be an approachable role model of the field I represent, as well as representing the exceptional traits of the people who trained me.” 

Trainee of the Year, Isabella Bruce, said: 

“Growing up, my fascination with technology and computers led me to be the go-to person for troubleshooting at family gatherings. Choosing a traineeship felt like a natural progression given my passion for technology.” 

“The traineeship allowed me to learn on the job while also studying online. This combination allowed me to practically apply new skills and knowledge in real-time situations at work.” 

For more information on VET in NSW visit 


  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year: Tataya Curry-Jones, Quakers Hill  

  • Apprentice of the Year: Samer Rawas, Liverpool  

  • School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year: Xavier Shepherd, Emu Plains  

  • Trainee of the Year: Isabella Bruce, Mulgoa  

  • VET in Schools Student of the Year: Sharnie Clinch, Colebee  

  • VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year: Alice Clarke, West Pennant Hills  

  • Vocational Student of the Year: Kenneth George, Seven Hills 

Contact details:

Duyen Nguyen on or 0417 227 375

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