Riverland and Mallee Vocational Awards

Mr WHETSTONE (Chaffey) (15:11): It gives me great pleasure to stand and talk about last Friday night in the electorate of Chaffey. The vocational awards in Berri, hosted by the Berri Lions Club, is an outstanding event. They are the largest regional vocational awards in the country, so it was a great pleasure to attend the 2020 Riverland and Mallee Vocational Awards at the Berri Hotel.  

About 200 people were there due to the COVID restrictions, but normally they are packed to the rafters. What we saw on Friday night was an example of the great spirit and the great support of Riverland businesses training those young ones and those older trainees into the workforce. They will be an asset not only to the region but in some instances they will be an asset to the state's economy and travel far and wide with their expertise.  

The awards are a coming together of businesses, and I want to thank them for their time, their work, their training and their dedication to the opportunities for those young trainees and apprentices right across the Riverland and Mallee. It really is an outstanding success and an outstanding continual upskilling of our workforce. The Lions Club have presented these awards for 36 years—and they are 36 years strong. We continue to see excellence, we continue to see those looking to upskill or to skill into a workforce, and there was nothing more inspiring to me as an apprentice as a young fella than to see these people, these apprentices with aspirations to be the best they can be.  

Congratulations to Breeann Duncan, my trainee, who was runner-up in the trainee awards. She is an outstanding trainee and is my 11th office trainee. She came to the fore but, sadly, she was only just pipped at the post by Bianca Shephard. Both of them are outstanding young Riverlanders, and they will be an asset to the region's economy.  

The Loxton maintenance fitter Jakob Johinke-Milich and the Barmera chef Madison Lailey were jointly named apprentice of the year. I understand that is the first time we have seen joint winners, and good on them because they are both dedicated to the job. We know that being a chef is an extremely hard profession. We also know that being maintenance fitter gives an opportunity to go on. I was in the maintenance fitter regime as a young fellow and moved on into toolmaking. What it does is give them the opportunity of a life skill.  

I know the member for MacKillop was an apprentice boilermaker, we know that the Minister for Innovation and Skills was an apprentice cabinetmaker, and the list goes on. I think the member for Hammond was an apprentice shearer, and good on him. It takes all sorts to make the world go around. It shows that on this side of the house we are a rounded group of people, we have all sorts of entrepreneurial skills and, in some way, shape or form, the backbone to some of the state's and the region's economy.  

Jakob, as an apprentice at Loxton's The Wine Group, which is a large winery in Loxton, is completing a Certificate III in Engineering. As I said, he is an apprentice fitter and turner. Also, Madison from the Barmera Hotel is completing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. Good on those two, and good on everyone for actually having a go and being a part of it.  

The award for school-based trainee went to Emily Taylor, and the VET student of the year went to Parker Steinert. The industry winners included Necip Durmus, who won the automotive award; Madison Lailey from the Barmera Hotel, who won the cookery award; the building and construction award went to Briley Gibbs; and the electrical/air-conditioning award went to Craig Turner at Water Engineering (I presume that is SA Water)—great work.  

Other winners included Jakob Johinke-Milich from the TW Group at Loxton, who won the engineering award, and Jorja Bradley from Jarahs Hair won the hairdressing award. I commend all those trainees and apprentices and I commend all the contestants. It was a great night and great for regional South Australia because #RegionsMatter. 

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