Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year

The Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year recognises the most outstanding Australian School-based Apprentice in Australia undertaking a Certificate III or above qualification.

Brenden Williamson’s dream of starting a motorcycle apprenticeship while still at school set him up for quite a task. But now, as winner of the Australian Schoolbased Apprentice of the Year Award at the 2015 Australian Training Awards, and in the second year of a Certificate III in Motorcycle Mechanical Technology, Brenden knows it was worthwhile.

At the age of 15, Brenden heard about Australian School-based Apprenticeships (ASbA) and loved the idea. “Something that let me start the apprenticeship I wanted to do, earned me a bit of money and also let me finish Year 12 was worth a try.”

No New South Wales students had previously undertaken Brenden’s particular qualification as an ASbA, but he and his teachers made it happen, assisted by the Yamaha Student Grand Prix Partnership that had been created to help address the shortage of experienced technicians in the marine and motorcycle industry.

Each week Brenden travelled the three hour round trip to attend his workplace plus an hour each way to TAFE. He also volunteered at expos and schools, promoting the value of an ASbA to students.

“I want younger students to see that there’s an alternative to dropping out of school. I also want people to know that there are career paths equally as good as university,” Brenden says.

Brenden is particularly pleased with his award for the influence the title will add to his passionate promotion of Australian School-based Apprenticeships.

“I’m now speaking to them as the Australian winner.”

Now 18, Brenden says he’s really learned the value of networks and the support of family, friends, colleagues, teachers and employers.

“I’ve continued great friendships with Yamaha and my teacher who really supported me. My employer is supportive of my speaking commitments and now my network includes the Australian Training Awards community.”

Brenden’s award also makes him an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador, but it’s easy to see that’s a role he’s already been unofficially performing for some time.