Hunter electrician wins prestigious training award

Cessnock local Ben McDonald took out top honours when he was named Apprentice of the Year at the 2017 NSW & ACT Group Training Awards in Sydney on Friday night.

The 25 year old electrician from Cessnock enrolled in a teaching degree at university after his HSC but soon discovered it wasn’t the right career path for him.

“In 2012 I decided to follow in my father’s and great grandfather’s footsteps and applied for an electrical apprenticeship through HVTC Hunter then accepted a position with host employer Peabody at their Jerry’s Plains site,” said Ben.

Ben was drawn to the hands on learning style an apprenticeship offered and excelled in his Certificate III Electrotechnology - Electrician training at the HVTC Skills Centre in Rutherford.

“I enjoyed learning the core theories and laws behind the electrical trade and how to go about my work in a safe manner, both individually and in a team environment.

“Being named the NSW & ACT Group Training Awards Apprentice of the Year is an amazing honour and it feels great to have all the hard work I’ve put in recognised in this way.

“I’m looking forward to continuing on my career path and passing on the skills and knowledge I’ve acquired to the next generation of electrical apprentices,” Ben said.

HVTC CEO Sharon Smith attended the event and said Ben is a fantastic ambassador for the vocational education and training sector.

“Ben is incredibly focussed, both personally and professionally and has a bright future ahead of him. He has now accepted a permanent position with Peabody and they are to be credited for their role in making sure our young people secure quality employment outcomes,” Ms Smith said.

No stranger to recognition, Ben has received numerous awards and scholarships during his four year apprenticeship including the 2017 Hunter Region Training Awards Apprentice of the Year title.

Ben McDonald GTAs 

Left to right: Jon Black - Managing Director TAFE NSW, Ben McDonald, John Liddicoat - Chairperson AEN NSW & ACT