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Trainee Spotlight: Celebrating our First Nations Trainee of the Year Award Winners

Trainee Spotlight: Celebrating our First Nations Trainee of the Year Award Winners

Trainee Spotlight: Celebrating our First Nations Trainee of the Year Award Winners

At our recent Virtual Graduation Ceremony, we awarded our top First Nations trainees from around the country. The awards acknowledge outstanding trainees or apprentices who have exhibited exceptional commitment and abilities in their role and are nominated by their host employers.

This year’s nominees were outstanding and their host employers described these young trainees as “exceptionally hard working”, “passionate and enthusiastic”, “an inspiring role model in the organisation” and “potential to become a leader in the First Nations space”.

We sat down with a few of our winners to talk all things traineeships and what winning this award means to them.

Our winner from WA, Proud Ballardong & Wadjak man, Kruz Garlett, completed his traineeship at the City of Swan at Swan Active Leisure Centre while studying a Certificate in Business and was offered full-time employment after graduating.

“It was one of the best feelings to win the award, maybe one of the proudest moments of my life,” he said.

 “I loved every moment of my traineeship and the opportunities I was given throughout it. Every day I learnt something knew, I worked with the most incredible people and I got to work on exciting projects,”  he added.

In his traineeship Kruz played an important role in the design, education and roll out of the Swan Active Maali Borduck-yen shirts where he worked closely with local First Nations elder Jeanette Garlett.

“Creating these T shirts was by far one of my greatest achievements to date. I got to do something that not only meant something to me but meant something to my community and culture. On the day of the launch, I got to meet many senior members of the City of Swan. It was surreal experience.”

Kruz’s supervisor, Sarah Mason, couldn’t say enough positive things about Kruz and the impact he has made.

“Kruz has gained employed as a team member of Swan Active because he has demonstrated commitment to the role.

He has not only developed a diverse range of Leisure specific skills but has immersed himself into cultural learning with local Whadjuk Noongar peoples with outstanding outcomes.”

Our QLD award winner, proud Kamilaroi woman, Nicole Egel, completed her traineeship as a Library Assistant with Western Downs Regional Council as part of the Arrow Energy Program.

She said, “winning the award made me proud, proud to be a Kamilaroi woman,”

Nicole believes her traineeship gave her an array of new skills and knowledge which has allowed her to grow into the best version of herself.

“I have never felt more confident in my abilities. I feel like I have come a long way from when I started and it just fills me with joy because I can do it, I can achieve great things.”

Her supervisor, Chris Bermingman, praised Nicole for her work ethic.

“She approaches tasks optimistically, she is a positive influence on the library team culture, she shows initiative to assist in completing tasks beyond the scope of her role and she is enthusiastic and ready to learn new operations. You can trust Nicole to get the job done.”

More winners of the 2022 First Nations Trainee of the Year include:

  • Victoria –Tiffany Ward (Yorta Yorta) – ArtsReady – HotHouse Theatre Wodonga
  • New South Wales and the ACT – Lachlan Mayo (Mudburra & Mabuiag) – Basketball ACT
  • South Australia and the Northern Territory – Paige Wandin – Commonwealth Bank
  • Tasmania – Trey Thomas (Pakana & Palawa) – AFL Tasmania

Congratulations to all the winners on their incredible accomplishments and for the significant and positive impact they are making in community.


AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello

DATE: 23rd of June 2022

IMAGE: Kruz Garlett with ALFSR Field Officers Katie Ashton (right) and Tracey Carrington (left)