Vocational Student of the Year

This award recognises an outstanding student’s achievement in a course of study leading to a nationally vocational qualification.

Meet the finalists in the Vocational Student of the Year category for the 2023 South Australian Training Awards – what a committed group of individuals!

The 2023 Vocational Student of the Year award is proudly sponsored by Statewide Group Training (SA).

Jackson Burchell

Certificate IV in Leadership and Management
Training Provider: TIME Education and Training
Employed by: Toyota Material Handling Australia

Jackson has always been fascinated with how things work, which led him to start his dream career as an apprentice diesel mechanic in 2015 with Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA). Jackson completed his apprenticeship, then continued with TMHA as a qualified diesel mechanic.

In 2020, Jackson was promoted to team leader. He completed a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management - an incredible experience, taking that step up to improve his skills and knowledge as a leader.

Since then, Jackson has continued studying, enrolling in a Certificate IV Business. Jackson names his wife as a great source of inspiration, as a primary school teacher who changes lives every day, motivating him to do the same in his professional and personal life.

Becoming a role model for anyone who wants to start a career in VET is important to Jackson, who is proud to share his journey with others and show how successful they can be in their chosen career.

Kathleen (Kat) Rodda

Dual diploma: Training Design and Development / Vocational Education and Training
Training Provider: Healthy Business Training Academy
Employed by: Self-employed - The Kat's Whiskers

Kat Rodda’s passion for knowledge grew deeper after her experience of mentoring and training at the Healthy Business Training Academy. Falling into hairdressing after dropping out from high school (there’s a song about that!), Kat wishes she’d discovered traineeships earlier.

Now a qualified hairdresser, make-up artist, barber and beautician with her own very successful business, and a qualified trainer and assessor, Kat has undertaken a dual diploma - a Diploma of VET and Diploma of Training Design and Development.

Kat can’t wait to share her freshly ignited knowledge with future students, and one day run her own beauty school, and share the amazing opportunities that VET offers.

Lisa Agars

Certificate III in Horticulture
Training Provider: Ironwood Institute
Employed by: Lewis Horticulture

It takes courage to start training after a long break from formal education and Lisa is making the most of her opportunities.

She first decided to progress her career through a formal qualification, while working with Jarretts Indoor Plants.

Lisa undertook Certificate III in Horticulture, as a Propagation Manager at Lewis Horticulture, at Bucklands Park in the Adelaide Northern Plains.

Training subsidised by the SA Government led Lisa to the Horticulture course at Ironwood Institute, with a mix of hands-on and theoretical training and working part-time.

Lisa finds assignments expand her knowledge of plants, and practicals teach essential hands-on skills.

Lisa is now completing the Diploma of Horticulture Management, informing her new role as a Team Leader.