Community Education Student of the Year Winner Announced

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has announced the winners of its 2018 “Community Education Student of the Year” Awards.

The Awards celebrate the achievements of Australia’s adult and community education students, based on career and study; communication, team and leadership skills; and community and other activities.

Lakisha Sloane (pictured above), nominated by Robinson Community College, Broken Hill, won the Award this year. Through sheer determination and family encouragement, Lakisha achieved her Year 12 certificate, and applied herself to complete vocational education at Robinson College. Enrolling into non-traditional mining, construction and high-risk tickets, she stepped out of her “comfort zone” to complete each one, securing ongoing employment. She inspires other young Aboriginal women to achieve their own goals in areas of employment and sport, which are typically non-traditional roles.

Commenting on Lakisha’s win, CEO of Robinson College, Tracey Dodimead, said: “From our location in remote Far West NSW, I witness every day the life changing opportunities vocational education and training offers our community. I’m talking about adaptable, culturally sensitive, specifically personalised vocational education which is delivered by highly skilled trainers and assessors who can identify with their students’ challenges and life stories without judgement. Lakisha’s achievements are an inspirational example of the immense importance Robinson College makes to this region”.

Jessica Urquhart (see photo below), nominated by Tamworth Community College, received a “highly commended” award. Jessica studied a Diploma of Leadership and Management. As a rural student with a yearning for further tertiary education, and no university in Tamworth, Jessica accessed the College’s articulation agreement with University of Newcastle, and is now studying for a Bachelor of Business – an example of the flexibility and value of VET pathways, particularly for rural and regional students.

The other six finalists for the Award were (in alphabetical order, by first name) all received honourable mentions for their achievements:

  • Aaron Curry, nominated by WEA Illawarra
  • Caitlin Collett, nominated by St George and Sutherland Community College
  • Emma Kastelein, nominated by Community College Northern Inland
  • Jasmine Ridgeway, nominated by the Youth Development Centre
  • Natasha Dickens, nominated by Central Coast Community College
  • Shiva Smyth, nominated by Byron Community College

The Awards were presented at the CCA Annual Conference “Gala Dinner” on the evening of Wednesday 14 November 2018 at the Mercure Hotel in Sydney, and were supported by the NSW Department of Industry.

“A common theme of this year’s Award finalists is the ability of our nominees to overcome significant life challenges through their studies. The judging panel was overwhelmed with the calibre of the students and their stories,” said Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of CCA.

About the Awards

An independent panel judged the nominations, consisting of Vanessa Iles, Manager of the Reading Writing Hotline; Sue Outhwaite, Senior Training Market Operations Officer, Training Services NSW, NSW Department of Industry; and Wendy Perry, Managing Director, Workforce BluePrint; chaired by Dr Don Perlgut, CCA CEO.

Eligibility for the 2018 Awards were students who undertook some form of study with an Australian not-for-profit community education organisation during the 14 month period 1 July 2017 through 31 August 2018. There was no age limit, although nominated students had to be Australian citizens or residents, and at least 18 years old by 31 August 2018.

This is the second year of the Awards: last year’s winners were announced at CCA’s annual Conference in Melbourne in July 2017.

Photos of the winners

Pictured below: Lakisha Sloane, Winner (nominated by Robinson College, Broken Hill) with Dr Don Perlgut, CEO of Community Colleges Australia

Pictured below: Jessica Urquhart, Highly Commended (nominated by Tamworth Community College)

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