Shoalhaven trainee tops state awards

HVTC trainee Cassandra O’Carroll has topped the state twice this month, winning School-Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year at two prestigious award events.

Last Friday, Cassie won the SBAT of the Year in the Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT Group Training Awards.

A week earlier, on 9 October, Cassie took out the same category in the NSW Training Awards. As the state winner, Cassie now progresses to the Australian Training Awards, which will be announced next month.

Cassie is completing a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management School-Based Traineeship with HVTC, while hosted to Shoalhaven City Council’s Environmental Services Section for on-the-job training. Her training provider is Kiama Community College.

Cassie’s latest accolades bring her award tally this year up to six. In June Cassie won SBAT at the Illawarra and South East NSW Training Awards; and vocational education and training (VET) Student of the Year for her SBAT as well as the Overall VET Student of the Year for the 2020 Shoalhaven Schools Excellence in VET Awards. She was also named SBAT of the Year in the 2020 HVTC Excellence Awards, announced earlier this year.

The 18-year-old said it has all been pretty surreal, even though she hasn’t really had the chance to take it all in with HSC exams now underway.

“It’s nice to be recognised and I’m happy to have gotten this far. Any award now is an added bonus,” she said.

After school, Cassie will be studying at the University of Wollongong after receiving early entry into he The Bachelor of Conservation Biology (Honours) (Dean's Scholar). She also has a few personal projects she’d like to get off the ground.

“I am a pretty ambitious person and have a lot of projects in the pipeline. One of them is building an insect farm,” she said.
“The global insect population has declined by 90% over the last 50 years, so I’ll be building an insect farm, just a small one, to do my bit to help. It will also be great for birds too, after the fires earlier this year wiped out the understorey and food supply for many bird species.”

HVTC CEO Sharon Smith said Cassie is an outstanding trainee who exemplifies the standard of employees that HVTC strives to produce.

“Cassie has had a big year on the awards front and is incredibly deserving of each and every single accolade she has won,” she said.

“Cassie shows a level of maturity well beyond her years. She is incredibly passionate about her chosen career path of conservation and land management and decided to take on a school-based traineeship to gain more experience and knowledge in this field and further her career prospects.

“That decision has certainly paid off. Cassie now has the potential to be recognised at a national level, which is a remarkable achievement. She should be very proud of herself.

“HVTC is certainly proud of everything Cassie has achieved during her traineeship, school studies and community work. We look forward to cheering her on in the Australian Training Awards.”

Young woman with gloves on working in greenhouse