Community News

Sunshine ‘Apprentices of the year’

Sunshine Sugar apprentices Sam Kapeen, Josh Plummer and James Brodin were recipients of NSW TAFE 2014 Apprentice of the Year award for their trades and year groups. The Clarence Valley locals attended an awards ceremony along with their families and Sunshine Sugar employer representatives to celebrate their achievements. Harwood Site Manager Steve King said he was proud of the apprentices commitment and dedication to their apprenticeships and the organisation. “Success stories like this show that Sunshine Sugar’s apprenticeship and traineeship program is one of the best, if not the best in the region” he said. Josh Plummer, 4th year electrical apprentice comes from a long line of cane farmers and knew in high school that he wanted to start a career at the mill. “It is great to see that all my hard work over the last 3 years has paid off,” he said. Josh has now been offered a second apprenticeship with Sunshine Sugar to become a duel qualified Electrical / Instrumentation Technician. James Brodin came to the Apprenticeship Open Day before he applied for the position to see what life was like at the mill, and after hearing the current apprentices and tradespeople talk about the job, he decided to apply. “It was great to get a feel for what sort of things I would be doing every day and what I would learn. Two years on and I’m still loving it!” James has started a bridging course to get into Electrical Engineering at The University of Southern Queensland when he finishes his apprenticeship. Sam Kapeen who is a Yaegl man was nominated for and received a scholarship for his apprenticeship, and won Apprentice of the Year all in his first year. He has also joined the safety committee and will be doing further qualifications in Hydraulics and Pneumatics at night next year. When asked if they had any advice for young people looking to complete an apprenticeship or traineeship, the apprentices agreed that gaining hands on experience whilst studying has been the ideal way to start their careers. “This is best thing I have ever done” said Sam. “I have a really good support network at work and at TAFE. My supervisors want me to succeed and they tell me when I’m doing a good job, and have helped me deal with the expectations of the workplace”.