August 1st, 2016

New personal stories reveal how Vocational Education not only provides opportunity for disadvantaged people to land their dream jobs, but also assists in the re-building of communities overseas. National Skills Week in August will shed light on these stories, celebrating how VET fosters positive change.

Jack Studholme’s life changed after he chose to pursue his cooking passions through TAFE. A young and emerging chef, Jack also has autism, but according to his mother, Jack’s studies and work experience have provided him with confidence and made him realise his true abilities and talents. Jack now works at renowned restaurant Catalina in Rose Bay, a life-changing step that his family described to Fairfax Media as “amazing.”

Michael McMahon, owner of Catalina, told Fairfax that he regularly selects first-year apprentices and Jack’s cooking talents and precision made him a deserving candidate. VET provided Jack with Industry world-class training from a young age, so that he was able to make a smooth transition into the workforce, allowing him to feel valued and in pursuit of his passions.

VET has continually demonstrated an ability to help individuals and communities, on both a local and international level.

“Vocational Education opens up opportunities to all people, from all walks of life, and gives them a sense of inclusiveness, responsibility and identity,” says Kirstin Casey, General Manager at SkillsOne.

“National Skills Week will celebrate these important qualities of VET, and shed light on how it encourages students to use their skills to help others.”

Troy Everett, Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador and Australian Training Award’s New South Wales 2015 VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Finalist, has found international platform for his skill sets in bricklaying.

A Certificate III in Bricklaying has enabled Troy to provide world-leading technical advice throughout Europe, and train some of the best competitors in the WorldSkills Australia competition, one of which went on to win a gold medal. He is also a driving force behind global humanitarian work.

“It is crazy that some weeks I am dealing with the absolute elite in bricklaying and other weeks I’m improving health standards by building brickwork sanitation blocks in remote Bangladesh,” Troy said.

This year Troy joins Project Kavre, a humanitarian venture that will help re-build schools in Nepal communities with the aid of TAFE teachers, tradies and building students. The Kavre region of Nepal was one of the hardest hit by the 2015 earthquakes, resulting in there not being a school for children since the natural disaster. Education is regarded as a highly valuable part of community life in Nepal, so it is a mission for Troy and the TAFE group to give this part of their lives back to them.

“I was just a hardworking bricky from Wollongong and now I get invited to places like Brazil, Russia and Denmark,” Troy said.

“Employers are recognising that investing in Australian Apprentices is good for business,” Troy said. “If they are willing to put in effort and give them the right guidance, it comes back to them tenfold.”

From August 29th to September 4th National Skills Week will celebrate VET for its ability to change people’s lives and harness positive global change. A New South Wales state launch will take place on August 29th with a private cocktail function in conjunction with Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College.

Join us in celebrating National Skills Week by organising an event, or taking part in the many events that can be found on the National Skills Week website:

For further information on Troy’s story or that of other Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit

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