On Wednesday night, Kangan Institute celebrated its students outstanding achievements and their ability to overcome challenges to pursue their education at this year’s Industry Excellence Awards.
The awards recognised 76 outstanding individuals across all areas of study at Kangan Institute, with a female auto mechanic, a sustainable fashion designer and an inspirational young woman among the major award winners.
Automotive apprentice, Madison Giordano, was awarded Apprentice of the Year 2021 for her achievements whilst undertaking a Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology.
After starting her education in nursing, Ms Giordano found it wasn’t for her and decided to take a trip around Australia. It was during that trip, when her car broke down, that she found her passion for the mechanical trade.
“I was stuck west of Alice Springs for a couple of months, so I stayed at a truck company, and I just helped out around the place,” Ms Giordano said.
It was there that she got to see the heavy mechanical industry firsthand, and when she arrived home, she made the choice to start her career in the industry as a first-year apprentice and undertaking her certificate with Kangan Institute.
“The facilities are really good, they had everything and multiples of everything. There’s always something for you to use, have a look at, pull apart, put back together.”
As a female in a male dominated field, Ms Giordano has found her team incredibly supportive but acknowledges that at times she does get treated differently by others.
“It can be daunting, there’s not many girls in this trade,” she said. “It’s just not very common.”
“You have to rely on people taking a chance and you kind of have to prove yourself a bit more and prove to people you can actually do it. But once you do that, and you get started, it’s really good,” she said.
Her employer, Craig Mee of mee’s, considers Ms Giordano as an asset to their workplace. “She always went the extra yard, and you don’t always get that,” he said.
Kangan Institute 2022 Apprentice of the Year Madison Giordano
Inspirational Student of the Year, Maryam Safdari was celebrated for her ability to overcome challenges both in her past and as she re-settled in a new country.
As a budding photographer whilst living in Pakistan, Ms Safdari taught herself how to utilise her skills to document the life around her and began teaching herself English through watching movies. Through her photography, she was accepted as a journalist in her hometown of Pakistan.
“We were just living in a small town, and we were not allowed to go out for education. So, I just tried learning it all myself,” she said. “I was accepted as a journalist in my hometown and basically I was the first girl who stepped out in my hometown on the streets to capture men, women, or anyone.”
In 2010, Ms Safdari’s father moved to Australia to escape the ongoing conflict and targeting of her community in Pakistan. In July 2019, her father called the family and shared that they had secured a visa and they would be joining him in Australia.
“It was the biggest blessing that I’ve had in my life. I was like, finally we are out of danger. We will be in this country, and we will be able to do the things we always wanted to,” she said.
When Ms Safdari arrived, she was committed to furthering her English language skills and enrolled in a Certificate IV in Spoken and Written English with Kangan Institute. Ms Safdari also continued to excel in her studies as they moved online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“I brought my dreams to Australia in order to fulfil them,” she said.
“All the things that I faced in Pakistan just made me believe in myself. If I believe in myself, I can do anything.”
Ms Safdari is now enrolled in a Certificate III in Education Support with Kangan Institute and aims to undertake a Certificate IV in Photography in the near future.
Kangan Institute 2022 Inspirational Student of the Year Maryam Safdari
Certificate IV in Disability student Joel Stibbard also won Kangan Institute’s 2022 Inspirational Student of the Year Award
Student of the year, Michaela Eddington, always wanted a career in fashion but prior to enrolling in Kangan Institute’s Advanced Diploma of Fashion Design and Merchandising she didn’t know if it was possible for her.
“Through studying this course many doors opened up. Not only did I discover my passion and true calling to be a fashion designer, but I managed to get two jobs in fashion which I am ecstatic about,” she said.
“The units I studied covered all areas of the fashion industry from the business side to creative side which gave me valuable industry knowledge and confidence to step out into the fashion industry.”
Mrs Eddington is passionate about sustainability and promotes this passion through her study and work.
“I remember learning about natural dying and using blueberries to dye a garment,” she said. “I also learned about using zero waste techniques and upcycling as well which definitely helped me become a better sustainable fashion designer.”
Mrs Eddington said she feels grateful to have the time to experiment with sustainable fashion practices under the guidance of her Kagan Institute teachers.
“I’m really grateful for everything I’ve learned and for having teachers with a wealth of industry experience,” she said.
“I felt that they were very happy to help, and helpful during lockdown especially when times were tough.”
In the future, Mrs Eddington aims to launch her own sustainable fashion brand, focusing on slow fashion, ethical production and reducing waste as best she can.
Kangan Institute 2022 Student of the Year, Michaela Eddington, with CEO Sally Curtain
Kangan Institute CEO Sally Curtain congratulated all award winners and highlighted the roles played by educators, industry and the Victorian Government in the students’ success.
“Congratulations to all award winners and nominees. It has been an incredible year for students, and I’m proud to celebrate their commitment to education in the face of many challenges.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the role of Kangan Institute’s teachers and staff, who have gone above and beyond to support our award winners to overcome these challenges and arrive at this milestone.
“I also acknowledge the role of our industry partners and the Victorian Government. Their support enables Kangan Institute to focus on providing high quality training that is aligned to industry, economic and community needs. Free TAFE has also enabled thousands of students access to training, some of whom are here tonight.”
Kangan Institute CEO Sally Curtain at the 2022 Industry Excellence Awards.
The full list of Kangan Institute Industry Award winners is:
|Student of the Year||Michaela Eddington|
|Apprentice of the Year||Madison Giordano|
|Uncle Norm Hunter Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year||Tamara Purcell|
|Guide Dogs Victoria Inclusivity and Accessibility Award||Connor Lunson|
|Inspirational Student Award||Joel Stibbard|
|Inspirational Student Award||Maryam Safdair|
|Runner up - Inspirational Student Award||Andrea Blanthorn|
|Runner up - Inspirational Student Award||Dylan Kelly|
|Trainee of the Year||Taylah Barnes|
|School-based Apprentice and Trainee of the Year||Jack Lloyd|
|Automotive Pre-Apprentice of the Year Award||Sebastian Van Houte|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: School Based||Christian Barasso|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Agricultural||Liam Millhouse|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Heavy Vehicle (Bus)||Tyler Barton|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Heavy Vehicle||Wyatt Lenffer|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Outdoor Power Equipment||Daniel Padula|
|A.R. (Dick) Jackson Award||Maung Lone|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Motorcycle||Lee Chhor|
|Automotive Electrical Achievement Award||Noah Farrugia|
|Automotive Student of the Year: Motorsport||Jack Santa Maria|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Automotive Electrical||Nathan Mosely|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Automotive Body Repair||Hayden Vincent|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Automotive Parts Interpreting||Adam Wood|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Heavy Vehicle (Key Client)||Harnley Tay|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Light Vehicle (Key Client)||Caleb McLaughlin|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Automotive Refinishing Technology||Jing He|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Marine Technology||Luke Taig|
|The Lindsay Fox Heavy Vehicle Technician Excellence Award||Rhys Garner|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Light Vehicle||Tim Nguyen|
|Automotive Inspirational Student of the Year||Dylan Kelly|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Automotive Body Repair (Key Client)||Paul Rubino|
|Automotive Apprentice of the Year: Automotive Refinishing Technology (Key Client)||Mark Reining|
|Sir Henry Royce Foundation Award for Excellence||Joshua Chessum|
|Apprentice of the Year: Automotive / Lionel Gell School of Instruction Award in Automotive*||Caleb McLaughlin|
|Student of the Year: Construction and Industrial||Jonathan Wolodymyr Sheppard|
|Apprentice of the Year: Construction & Industrial||James Angeloni|
|Apprentice of the Year: Electrical||Hakan Gunsay|
|Apprentice of the Year: Engineering (Fabrication)||James Angeloni|
|Apprentice of the Year: Engineering (Mechanical)||Barry Collins|
|Apprentice of the Year: Construction On Campus||Lachlan Johnston|
|Apprentice of the Year: Construction On Site||Ben Patrick|
|Apprentice of the Year: Bricklaying/Blocklaying||Dylan Beecham|
|Pre Apprentice of the Year: Carpentry||Paolo Rapisarda|
|Pre Apprentice of the Year: Plumbing||John Origizovic|
|Pre Apprentice of the Year: Electrical||Jared Knowesly|
|Oustanding Certificate IV in Construction Student||Darryn Savage|
|Oustanding Workplace Based Student||Kurt Fear|
|Outstanding Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing||Paul Didham|
|VETDSSS Student of the Year: Carpentry||Jake Cuschieri|
|VETDSSS Student of the Year: Plumbing||Jay Maota|
|VETDSSS Student of the Year: Electrical||Selim Rakipi|
|VETDSSS Student of the Year: Engineering||Anas Babawi|
|Australian Steel Institute Key Client Student of the Year||Philippe Noel|
|Student of the Year: Diploma of Construction||Kaitlyn Rafferty|
|Inspirational Student of the Year: Construction and Industrial||Jonathan Sheppard|
|Student of the Year: Community||Hannah Holec|
|Student of the Year - Horticulture||Belinda Burtt|
|Student of the Year: Animal Studies||Belinda Lancaster|
|Student of the Year - Laboratory Sciences||Lee Peterson|
|Student of the Year - Food Processing||Sean Kanhai|
|Apprentice of the Year - Parks and Gardens||Ben Barr|
|Apprentice of the Year: Landscape Construction||Trent Cook|
|Student of the year - Veterinary Nursing||Taylor Tobacco|
|Student of the Year: Health||Sarah Tomarchio|
|Apprentice of the Year: Hairdressing||Crystal McKinnon|
|Apprentice of the Year: Commercial Cookery||Joshua Sreater|
|Apprentice of the Year: Barbering||Shelby Reeves|
|Student of the Year: Beauty Therapy (Diploma of Beauty Therapy)||Christine Le|
|Outstanding Certificate III in Barbering||Frederick Howe|
|Outstanding Computer Systems Technology (Open to all levels)||Daniel Denkha|
|Apprentice of the Year: Bakery||Jamie Martin|
|Student of the Year: Hospitality||Selena Licastro|
|Student of the Year: Bakery||Jayasuriya Sheron Silva|
|Student of the Year: Fashion (Diploma of Fashion)||Olivia Barca|
|Student of the Year: Fashion (Advanced Diploma of Fashion)||Michaela Eddington|
|Student of the Year: Millinery||Debra McDonald|