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A mature-aged TasTAFE Electrotechnology apprentice was named Apprentice of the Year at the 2019 Tasmanian Training Awards on Friday (6 September).

Devonport’s Marek Porter, who is employed by NECA Education and Careers at host employer, RBD Electrical and Instrumentation, won the prestigious award, while Drysdale Butchery teacher, Darren Scott was named VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year. TasTAFE also won awards in the categories of Industry Collaboration, School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

Marek was a wood machinist and joiner, who at the age of 35, decided to follow a passion for the industrial electrical industry and enrolled in a Certificate III in Electrotechnology at TasTAFE.

Marek said his work at RBD Electrical and Instrumentation had allowed him to work across a number of different industrial sites including for Hydro Tasmania, Simplot Australia and TasWater and he had received outstanding support from both NECA Education and Careers and RBD Electrical and Instrumentation.

“As I had already completed one trade, I knew of the value of undertaking a trade qualification and I have always loved the mix of theory and on-the-job training. I find I respond well to this style of learning as I find I can easily apply the theory back in the workplace,” Marek said.

“As a training organisation, TasTAFE, in particular, has provided me with invaluable, in-depth exposure to both practical experience and theoretical training.

“My experience in Electrotechnology at TasTAFE has been fantastic, I have nothing but praise for the TasTAFE electro training department.

“The high standard and professionalism of the teachers has been really impressive. Their ability to draw on their past experiences in the real world and relate them to the classroom environment was exceptional and made things really ‘click’ for me. Their teaching skills were instrumental in helping me achieve great results in the most difficult units.”

TasTAFE CEO, Jenny Dodd said TasTAFE was proud to train more than 4500 apprentices each year.

“Marek’s journey is a great example of how our training can help people find a whole new career pathway.

“Many people see TasTAFE as an option for young people but the reality is that the majority of our students are aged over 25. This is in line with new figures which show that more than 42 per cent of Australia’s vocational students are aged between 25 and 44 and 23 per cent are between 45 and 64,” Ms Dodd said.

One of the reasons behind our success is the calibre of our staff, like Darren Scott who took out the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year award.

Darren has worked in the meat industry for more than 36 years and has been a butchery teacher at Drysdale for 13 years, training a large number of butchery apprentices.

He takes a personalised approach to training, developing training methods to suit a range of students. Completion rates for Tasmanian butchery apprentices are among the highest nationally.

“Teaching has been particularly rewarding for me. I really enjoy helping students improve their technical skills and being a part of their overall career development. It’s been a fantastic chance to give back to an industry that I love,” Darren said.

Darren has also supported training as a regional world skills organiser and judge and as a national judge. He trained the 2016 WorldSkills national Butchery gold medallist.

He has also delivered customised bandsaw training for cutting ice for scientific research worldwide.

Ms Dodd said TasTAFE was extremely proud of all of its finalists and winners at the Tasmanian Training Awards.

“Our training has the ability to change people’s lives. Winning awards is never our end game, but they are a fantastic endorsement of the quality of our teaching and learning and the fact that we are getting it right for individuals and for industry.

“I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners,” Ms Dodd said.


  • Apprentice of the Year: Marek Porter (Certificate III in Electrotechnology – Electrician)
  • VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year: Darren Scott (Drysdale South – Butchery)
  • School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year: Daniel Ragg, (Certificate III in Electrotechnology – Electrician). Hobart College, Training provider TasTAFE
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year: Djuker Willis-Hart (Certificate III in Guiding – Drysdale)
  • Industry Collaboration Award: St Lukes Health with TasTAFE and MEGT
  • *TasTAFE’s Manager Quality, Lyndene Bowen received the Trevor Leo medal for her outstanding contribution to VET.


TasTAFE celebrates success at Tasmanian Training Awards