Skillinvest Regional Awards 2017: Thomas Hamilton, Branca Clutterbuck win Skillinvest apprentice, trainee of the year

SKILLINVEST honoured the best trainees at school-based, certificate and trade levels at its annual regional awards night on Friday.

Thomas Hamilton won the apprentice of the year award for his work at Northern Grampians Shire Council, while Coller Rathgeber Property Group’s Branca Clutterbuck won the trainee of the year award.

Mr Hamilton was recognised for his outstanding work in council’s parks and gardens department.

Judges said he was highly regarded by his supervisors, and had highly developed skills and knowledge.

They also praised him for his community contributions.

Mr Hamilton is a basketball group president, coach and player, hockey player and coach, and an ambulance community officer. 

“Thanks to Mum and Dad for their support during my apprenticeship and life in general, Northern Grampians Shire Council, and my supervisor,” Mr Hamilton said.

“We have four finalists here tonight so I think that's a great credit to the shire.

“Thanks to Chris Perry – my apprenticeship consultant, and to Tim Shaw and Rudy Panozzo with their judging interview and for also listening to my theories on supporting apprentices further.”

​The trainee of the year award is named in honour of the Wimmera and Grampians Group Training Co – now Skillinvest – founding director Dennis Batchelor. 

Miss Clutterbuck was unable to attend the event; Coller Rathgeber Property Group’s Tim Coller accepted the honour on her behalf.

Miss Clutterbuck works in the group’s sales department. Judges commended her excellent communication skills and rapport with clients, staff and service providers.

Mr Coller said Miss Clutterbuck was a modest and humble person.

“But when she gets in a work environment she's totally different,” he said.

“She's a wonderful employee. She's incredibly dedicated and incredibly accurate with all the work she does.”

Mr Coller commended fellow employee Danielle Johnson for being nominated in the best trainee at certificate four and diploma level category.

“The pair of girls we have at the moment are simply outstanding,” he said.

Cassianne Carman was named the best trainee at certificate two and three level.

She completed her traineeship with West Wimmera Shire Council within the required timeframe despite becoming ill.

Ferguson Perry Surveying’s Jake McIntyre won the best trainee at certificate four and diploma level.

Mr McIntyre completed the trade school component of his work a year in advance of the scheduled timeframe.

Best apprentice in first year of trade went to Thomas Hobbs, who is completing his apprenticeship at Horsham’s Cafe Jas. 

Jakob Cassells won the best apprentice in second year of trade category for his work at Kings Cars in Ballarat.

Judges were impressed with the initiative Mr Cassells had shown in his role, particularly when he helped a customer suffering a stroke.

The best apprentice in third year of trade went to mechanic William Hovey.

Mr Hovey works at JJ O’Connor and Sons, and also runs his own business out of hours. 

Hogan Plumbing and Gasfitting’s Matthew Harrington was awarded best apprentice in fourth year of trade.

Matthew Arbuckle received the best school-based apprentice award. He works at AJ and TM Arbuckle and also attends Longerenong College, where he is studying certificate four in agriculture.

The 2017 judges were Tim Shaw, Lynley Hoiles, Rudy Panozzo, and Peter Horwood.

The night included a presentation from previous award winner Tim McDonald, a heavy diesel mechanic with Horsham Rural City Council.

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