Gemma Hartwig has been awarded the Australian Apprentice of the Year Award at the 2017 Australian Training Awards on Thursday 23 November. The ceremony, held in Canberra, attracted more than 740 attendees, and gave recognition to many talented employers and employees.

Ms Hartwig’s win is not only a personal victory but a triumph for young women in the mechanical engineering trade. But this is not Gemma’s first time on a national stage. In 2014 she was awarded the School-Based Apprentice of the Year at the Queensland Training Awards. She went on to represent Queensland at the Australian Training Awards for the same category.

Gemma was also named as the Harry Hauenschild Queensland Apprentice of the Year in September after completing her Diesel Fitting Apprenticeship through TAFE Queensland in Dalby.

It was watching her grandfather and great-grandfather work with farm machinery on their farm in South-West Queensland that inspired Gemma to enroll in a school-based apprenticeship when she was 14-years-old.

Gemma now works full time as a diesel mechanic at Diesel Care. She encourages others, and especially women, to consider where an apprenticeship pathway can lead them.

The runner up for the Award, Jordan Cahill, recently won an Australia BBM Scholarship for his outstanding talent in his trade as a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualified in landscape construction.

Jordan is another great example of the pathways that are accessible through apprentice based training. He has traveled to London to work with The Outdoor Room at the Royal Chelsea Flower Show thanks to this scholarship.

Both Gemma and Jordan have been appointed as Australian Apprenticeship Ambassadors.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, the Honourable Karen Andrews MP, who presented the major awards on the night, announced the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Information Strategy, which will address misconceptions around VET, and promote the opportunities that an individual can gain by completing a VET qualification.

Its roll out will include a range of initiatives centered around a united tagline for the VET sector, real skills for real careers and promote a collaborative approach by stakeholders and corporate and community partners.

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