Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year Award

The Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year Award recognises the most outstanding Australian Apprentice (Trainee) in Australia. State or territory training award winners of this category are automatically finalists for the Australian Training Awards and will compete at the national level.

Joshua Lodge’s plans to study chemical engineering at university were deferred when he decided to gain some practical understanding first. Enrolling in a Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques at TAFE NSW’s Hunter Institute, Joshua secured a traineeship with Origin Energy. Completing the theory component of the certificate in the first year, Joshua then enrolled in (and completed) a Diploma of Chemistry. Rewarded for exceptional outcomes in his training, Joshua won the 2014 Australian Apprentice (Trainee) of the Year Award at the Australian Training Awards.

"Winning the award was a very humbling experience and a great way to top off my traineeship. It highlights all the time and effort people have put into my training and how valuable vocational education and training is.  

The award is also good recognition for both my host company Origin Energy and group training organisation Hunter Valley Training Company," Joshua said.

While still undertaking his traineeship, Joshua enrolled in a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) at Newcastle University.

"I’m very happy I started with a traineeship as my learning pathway instead of jumping straight into university. It has allowed me to gain industry experience straight away which can be difficult to obtain. I’ve also been able to undertake my own projects and work on a large variety of water treatment plants which has been the highlight for me," Josh said.

Having now completed his traineeship, Joshua is mentoring two trainees who will work in Origin Energy’s

chemical department and has secured full-time employment there.

"The Australian Training Awards is a great way to promote vocational education and training. The publicity of the awards inspires the next generation to look into a traineeship or apprenticeship whilst also recognising organisations that are achieving incredible goals around the country," Josh said.

Josh also represented Hunter Valley Training Company at Group Training Australia’s Today’s Skills Tomorrow’s Leaders programme in 2013, as well as winning GTA’s Trainee of the Year and Laboratory Techniques Trainee of the Year awards. Joshua has recently been appointed as an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador for the Australian Government.