The Vocational Student of the Year Award recognises outstanding achievement by a vocational student in a course of study leading to a nationally recognised 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.

Rachel Dudok has completed an Australian Apprenticeship and a Diploma in Aeroskills (Avionics) through Aviation Australia, has internationally recognised qualifications and is employed as an aircraft maintenance engineer. Rachel has been an individual finalist at the Australian Training Awards twice - in the Australian Apprentice of the Year category in 2012 before winning the national Vocational Student of the Year title in 2014.

With an aptitude for subjects such as mathematics and technology, Rachel decided to pursue an engineering degree. During one of her work placements, she realised that she preferred to be hands-on rather than sitting behind a desk.

"It is extremely humbling to be awarded Australian Vocational Student of the Year. For me, this award acknowledges all the study and training that I have done to achieve my qualifications.

It also gives me the opportunity to celebrate and share the accolades with everyone who has helped along the way, from my friends and family, mentors, training provider and employer. None of which would have been possible without their encouragement and support," Rachel said.

Following the completion of her Diploma in Aeroskills (Avionics) through Aviation Australia, Rachel is one step closer to realising her goal of working as a Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Rachel has broadened her studies to include a Diploma of Management, with the intention of better understanding the dynamics of her work team at QANTAS.

"The best part about my learning pathway and career is working alongside some of the best in the industry and learning in real time, applying the knowledge and skills needed for my trade as well as the

opportunity to be at the forefront of advancements in technology," Rachel said.

Rachel is also an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador for the Australian Government and spends much of her spare time spruiking the benefits of VET.

"I love what I do and I am passionate about helping others realise their career aspirations by sharing my experiences and hopefully encourage and inspire others to do the same. The Australian Training Awards have been a great experience which I have been lucky enough to enjoy twice. It promotes the diversity and range of opportunities possible though VET and affirms that great careers from this pathway are possible," Rachel said.