Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

This award recognises the achievement of a First Nations student who is undertaking an apprenticeship, traineeship or a course of study leading to a nationally accredited qualification. The award is granted to a student who has been outstanding in aspects of their training, and demonstrates the relevance of lifelong learning for themselves and their community.

Meet the finalists in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category for the 2023 South Australian Training Awards – what a talented group of individuals!

The 2023 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year award is proudly sponsored by Reconciliation SA.

Brendan Kartinyeri

Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystems

Training Provider: TAFE SA

School: Meningie Area School

Employer: Ngarrindjeri Lands and Progress Aboriginal Corporation

Brendan is proud to be an Aboriginal student, completing a Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystems, supported by his mentor Bill Harmer at the Primary Industries and Animal Laboratory Services Access Centre at TAFE SA.

Through the Ngarrindjeri Land and Progress Association he has gained valuable hands-on experience and knowledge of the land and country. He initially became interested in this work because of his passion for the environment, and his desire to learn more about the land and its natural resources.

Brendan was inspired by his father and sister, who spoke highly of the course when they completed it.

Learning about sustainability and conservation for maintaining the delicate balance between humans and the environment, Brendan has gained practical skills in plant and animal identification, habitat management and land restoration techniques.

Brendan is committed to lifelong learning and his passion for the environment.

Courtney Sumner-Kimlin

Certificate III in Business

Training Provider: AFL SportsReady

Employed by: Adelaide Fringe

With a deep passion for the arts, Courtney began a traineeship as an administration assistant with the Adelaide Fringe in 2021, giving her a clear career pathway to connect with her interests and aspirations.

After high school, Courtney's Nan empowered and encouraged her to continue her education, despite a three-year gap in the workforce. Her Nan's unwavering support and belief in Courtney's abilities ignited a determination to explore further educational opportunities and led to her fulfilling career in SA’s thriving arts sector.

Now, as Diversity and Inclusion Administrator at the Fringe, Courtney actively engages in conversations to encourage other trainees, as a mentor and source of support. Through her work, Courtney recognises the role that mentorships play in empowering people to reach their full potential. Her future aspirations centre around making a positive impact on her community.

Jessica Holliday

Certificate III in Business

Training Provider: HITsa Training and Employment

Employed by: SA Health

Jessica’s confidence and experience grew as soon as she embarked on her pathway in the public service.

Attending a Pre-employment program at Tauondi, she learned about the Aboriginal Traineeship Program to support Aboriginal people to work in the public sector. Jessica completed Certificate III in Business and a traineeship in a department, then proudly won a role with SA Health in the End-of-Life Care Team.

Working in the team implementing Voluntary Assisted Dying, Jessica further progressed. Beginning with project work, Jessica soon transitioned to operational work.

Jessica’s father was part of the stolen generation, moving from Alice Springs to South Australia. Her family is currently on a journey to locate her father’s birth father and discover their mob.