CQU-trained trio win big at Central Queensland Regional Queensland Training Awards

02 July 2023
(L-R) Central Queensland Regional Queensland Training Award winners, CQU-trained students Stacey Mason, Abby-Rose Bowman and Caitlyn Barnes

CQUniversity’s training has been held in high regard after three students won three categories at the Central Queensland Regional Finals of the Queensland Training Awards on 1 July.

Of the 20 Central Queenslanders nominated in the final, eight were from CQU – seven students and one teacher across four categories.

Ultimately, CQU-trained students Caitlyn Barnes, Stacey Mason and Abby-Rose Bowman took out top honours in three of those categories at the event, which was held at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre.

Diploma of Nursing student Stacey Mason, who is now an Enrolled Nurse at Rockhampton Hospital was unable to accept her Vocational Student of the Year award in person, as she was recovering from a kidney transplant.

In her nomination, Stacey spoke of how she was diagnosed with severe kidney and heart failure a few days after the birth of her son. 

“I have been on dialysis now for nearly three years and have an understanding of the importance of nursing care and advocacy for patients,” she wrote. 

“I decided I wanted to become a nurse that patients know has their best interests at heart, and in July 2021, I decided to enrol in the Diploma of Nursing with CQUniversity.”

She said her goal is to complete a Bachelor of Nursing to become a Registered Nurse in the future now that she has received her new kidney.

Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician student Caitlyn Barnes won the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year category.

Caitlyn finished her apprenticeship with BHP Coal at its Goonyella Riverside Mine in December last year and is now working at the mine full-time.

“It was very exciting and overwhelming to win, but it was a good feeling to see everything I’ve worked towards pay off,” she said.

Having grown up in Moranbah Caitlyn said she was always interested in doing a trade and working in the mines.

“I love the diversity of being an electrician – working as a domestic electrician is very different to working in the mines. The mining industry is more of a challenge,” she said.

“The training I received at CQU’s Mackay Ooralea campus was fantastic. It really helped me excel in my role and the teachers were all amazing.”

She encouraged any young women considering a trade to “definitely do it”.

“Sometimes it might be difficult, but in the end, it will be so rewarding,” she said.

Holy Spirit College Year 12 student Abby-Rose Bowman won the School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year Category.

Abby-Rose said deciding to pursue a trade was a natural choice having grown up on her parents’ farm.

“I’ve always wanted to get into a trade, and I tried them all through work experience at school,” she said.

Automotive Electrical was the one she was drawn to, and she ended up with an apprenticeship with local company NQ Autosparks where’s she’s been apprenticing for the past 18 months.

While only just starting her Certificate III in Automotive Electrical Technology training at CQU as part of her apprenticeship, she felt it would complement her job.

“I think it will work side-by-side with my work and help me understand my job more,” she said.

“I’m very excited about the win and very grateful. Everyone’s really proud of me.”

Deputy Vice-President for VET and Business Development Peter Heilbuth congratulated the winners and all the other finalists on their achievements.

“They should all feel very proud because CQUniversity is very proud of them,” he said.

“CQU vocational training's main aim is to give people the skills and knowledge to succeed and these winners and finalists are proof that we are not only changing lives, but also supporting the region’s future workforce.”

Other finalists included Rachael Legros (VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year), Gemma Riley and Mikaly Smith (Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year), and Lochie Fuller and Michael Hepburn (Vocational Student of the Year). 

The winners will now represent their region at the state final on 9 September 2023 in Brisbane.

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