Worthy win for father of seven - TAFE Queensland Gold Coast

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Worthy win for father of seven

Celebrations are in full swing at TAFE Queensland Gold Coast after students took out two of Queensland Training Awards at the regional finals at QT Hotel last Friday.

Mechanic Kurt Trask won the Apprentice of the Year title, while father of seven Mark Watego, was crowned the region's Vocational Student of the Year.

Mark, who is studying a Diploma of Community Services, said he is extremely honoured to receive the award.

"I can now add this award to the list of my proudest achievements alongside being a father of seven and my dedication to the Indigenous community," he said.

"For me, winning this award has also added validation to reach my goal of becoming an educator and trainer in the community services industry upon graduation."

After working in the Community Services industry for more than 15 years, Mark yearned to further his education however, he struggled to find the time and money to balance work, family and study.

It was only earlier this year that Mark felt confident enough to commence study after he received a $5,000 TAFE Queensland Scholarship towards his diploma.

"The scholarship assisted me with all my TAFE expenses and afforded me the opportunity to study the course I had waited so long for."

Kurt Trask who won Apprentice of the Year grew up helping his father work on project cars, which inspired him to become a mechanic. His passion for the industry also saw him win gold in an Australian WoldSkills under 23s competition.

As regional finalists, the two winners are now contenders in the state finals in Brisbane in September, and could then go on to contest for national honours at the Australian Training Awards in Darwin in November.

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast General Manager, Jenny Dodd said the organisation is extremely proud to be the training provider for such outstanding students.

"Mark and Kurt have demonstrated excellence in their industry areas and we congratulate them on their nominations, "said Ms Dodd.

"They are a reflection of the high standards set and achieved by all TAFE Queensland Gold Coast staff and students."

"Industry within the region looks to TAFE Queensland Gold Coast to deliver apprentices and graduates who are suitably qualified and committed to shaping the future of local business here on the Gold Coast."

The Queensland Training Awards is the State's highest recognition program in the training sector.

TAFE Queensland Gold Coast students have been named state finalists in recent years with Kieran Chilcott named Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year in 2015, while in 2014 the Queensland Apprentice of the Year award was won by automotive graduate Peter Newbold.