Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year Award

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.

State or territory training award winners of this category are automatically finalists for the Australian Training Awards and will compete at the national level.

Growing up on a vineyard, 19 year old Mildura local Joel Schwarz had always been fascinated with the magnitude and complexities of agricultural machinery.

As he grew up, he witnessed various mechanics working on the equipment and began to envision his future career in the industry. Not wishing to give up his secondary school studies early, but wanting a head start on his career, he commenced an Australian School-based Apprenticeship in automotive mechanical technology.

Joel achieved such outstanding results while combining his college studies with on and off the job training that he was awarded the Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year at the 2013 Australian Training Awards.

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

"The Australian Training Awards have been amazing.

"The journey from applying earlier in the year, to being named Victorian School-based Apprentice of the Year and then to experience the whole Australian Training Awards finalist week of networking and professional development has been a really memorable experience."

Joel has three more years left of his Australian Apprenticeship, and continues to learn skills covering a large range of farm equipment, including combine harvesters, broad acre tractors, hoes, slashers and seeding implements.

He has a great understanding of his industry and emerging trends and displays maturity and insight in his chosen pathway.

"An Australian School-based Apprenticeship is a really good taster, and you are earning and learning.

"It is not a full-on commitment, you can still be doing your school as well – if you have the passion for it, just get in and have a go."

Joel would like to complete the Certificate IV in Automotive to broaden his knowledge and focus on the structure and science of an engine. In the long term, Joel hopes to open his own business.

Joel is encouraging others to think about Australian Apprenticeships through his role as an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador for the Australian Government.