Bendigo TAFE apprentice clinches GAN International Scholarship

Bendigo TAFE’s electrotechnology apprentice Joel Handcock has been named the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) Australia’s International Apprentice Scholarship recipient for 2019.

Currently employed at Simplot Australia, the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician (UEE30811) apprentice was presented the scholarship at the 2019 GAN Australia and Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) Awards Dinner held in Victorian Parliament House, Melbourne on 6 December.

Valued at $12,000, the scholarship aims to provide Australian apprentices and trainees with the opportunity to go overseas to experience alternative technologies and work methods and consider the application of the learnings to their apprenticeship in a local context.

“I’m very humbled and honoured to receive the scholarship,” said Joel, who plans to travel to the United States to learn about apprenticeship training and automation technology at Simplot’s potato dehydration plant in Caldwell Idaho.

While in the United States, Joel also hopes to complete a seminar about programmable relays for beginners, which he hopes to apply to pre-apprenticeship studies, as well as visit the Tesla factory to gain knowledge on the automation of future cars.

“I’m excited to complete the scholarship and promote what I’ve learnt within Australia. It’s a great opportunity for me to give something back to the Industry after all the years of service,” said Joel.

“I’d like to show that there is more depth to electrotechnology beyond domestic electrical work. By bringing more exposure to the industrial side of electrotechnology, particularly automation and programming, I hope to help attract more young Australians to take up apprenticeships in electrotechnology.”

Bendigo TAFE CEO Sally Curtain congratulated Joel on his success and highlighted the significance of this award in inspiring future generations.

“Bendigo TAFE is very proud of our electrotechnology apprentice Joel Handcock for achieving the prestigious GAN International Apprentice Scholarship,” she said.

“This award will not only provide Joel with an opportunity to expand his knowledge and further his career; it will also serve as a solid platform for him to make meaningful contributions within the electrotechnology industry and inspire the future generation of apprentices.”

Joel, who is a second-time apprentice after previously completing a mechanical engineering apprenticeship, expressed gratitude to his teachers and employers for supporting him through a career change.

“Bendigo TAFE has had a pivotal role in helping me achieve this success as I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without the help of everyone involved,” he said.

“I’d like to thank all my teachers who have played a role in helping me through the years. I especially thank my third year teacher Robert Spicer for being a very supportive teacher and mentor, and also someone I can call a mate.

“I also want to thank Simplot – they have given me the opportunity to pursue two trade careers and I could not be more grateful. I thank my boss Brett Quayle for mentoring me over the past three years as well as engineering manager Mark Beer for seeing something in me and allowing me to pursue a second career.”

Joel anticipates travelling to the United States in April 2020.​

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