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Community & Business

4 August, 2021

Local Training Award Success

Oakey State High School Year 12 student Sydney Bodkin has won the 2021 Darling Downs and South West region School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year joining a cohort of other local students who took out the prestigious prize in recent years. Alongside Sydney, fellow Oakey State High School student Keesha Charles was a finalist in three categories at the awards.

Local student Sydney Bodkin (left) is continuing her work with Charley’s Place in Toowoomba. Student Keesha (right) is the first Oakey resident to be nominated in more than one category. - Photos, Syd Owen

The local student has completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and at Care Charley’s Place through education provider Kath Dickson Institute of EarlyChildhood Studies.

Sydney is now the first Oakey High School student to commence studies towards a Diploma while she is still at school.

Oakey State High School Vocational Projects Officer Haley Darr said Sydney is a great example of someone suited to working in early childhood education.

“Sydney is very passionate about working with children and I think it comes through when she talks about working in the industry,” Ms Darr said.

Via the online awards announcement Sydney said the Certificate III has given her a clear career path.

“The training I have received has changed my life because I really had no idea what I wanted to do and being given the opportunity to do my traineeship has given me a solid pathway,” she said.

Sydney said she now sees a long term future in the industry.

“I love what a do [at Charley’s Place],” she said.

“I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.”

Ms Darr said Keesha’s efforts are another first for Oakey State High School.

“No one else has achieved this,” she said.

“The training Keesha is doing has had a big impact on her life.”

Other locals who were finalists include Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician student Hans (HL) van der Merwe who was top three in the Apprentice of the Year award and his employer Oakey Beef Exports who was a finalist for the Large Employer of the Year.

To learn more about the Queensland Training Awards visit

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