A BENDIGO TAFE apprentice and teacher have been shortlisted in the 2020 Victorian Training Awards.
Building and construction trainer Torin Coakley, who is a finalist in the Teacher/Trainer of the Year category, said he was pleasantly surprised about the recognition.
Mr Coakley has been teaching at Bendigo TAFE for the past three years, alongside the trainers who taught him at the institution 30 years ago.
"It's amazing to be able to teach alongside them and to learn from them," he said. "I'm still learning off them."
Mr Coakley said he enjoyed being able to help his students.
"It's nice to be able to share your skills with other people," he said. "It's great to help them use those skills to advance and progress."
Bendigo TAFE apprentice Joel Handcock said he was shocked to find out he had been shortlisted in the Apprentice of the Year category.
"I definitely was not expecting it," he said. "It's an incredible opportunity."
Mr Handcock, who lives in Echuca, had been working as a fitter and turner at Simplot Australia when he decided to learn a new trade.
The 30-year-old signed up to do a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician at Bendigo TAFE in 2017.
He said it was great to build skills in an area he had always been passionate about.
"I always had my eye on the electrical sort of things," Mr Handcock said. "Finally the opportunity came up for an apprentice electrician at Simplot."
Mr Handcock said he hoped the training awards recognition would encourage others to take on new opportunities.
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"If someone is a bit stagnant in their role and are thinking they can't change careers because it's too late, it's not too late," he said.
"If you're passionate about it, chase that opportunity. You work for eight hours of your day, you want to do something you're happy with.
"Hopefully I can inspire someone that is a similar position so they know they can do this and they're not alone."
Mr Handcock said he wouldn't be in the position he was in without the support of those around him.
"My family and friends have stuck by me - this is as much their award as mine," he said. "Simplot has given me a second opportunity as an apprentice. So definitely without their support, I wouldn't be here.
"Bendigo TAFE has also nurtured me. You don't get to these places on your own. It's not a one-man show."
Bendigo Kangan Institute chief executive Sally Curtain congratulated the finalists.
"The Victorian Training Awards is one of the state's most important showcase events to celebrate the best in the TAFE and training sector," she said.
"Making it to the finals demonstrates the outstanding skills and abilities of our students, as well as the great work by our teachers in helping students achieve their educational goals."
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