Meet all of the finalists in the VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year category for the 2022 South Australian Training Awards – what an inspiring group of individuals!
Get to know each of the finalists by reading their bios and don’t forget to vote for your favourite finalist in the Voters' Choice Award.
The 2022 VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year category is proudly sponsored by SkyCity Adelaide.
Employed by TAFE SA
Finishing secondary studies, Daniel had no idea where life would take him. He knew he liked growing plants and was intrigued by the opportunity of receiving a wage while his tuition was paid for, so when he came across an apprenticeship in horticulture at the Urrbrae Education Centre, the prospect was too good to pass up.
Undertaking an apprenticeship within the state’s horticultural education hub was an extraordinary opportunity, allowing Daniel to participate in training beyond regular tuition.
Surrounded by fantastic mentors, Daniel was encouraged to take up additional classes, participate in short courses and join extra-curricular field trips whenever possible.
“Connecting with industry bodies including the International Plant Propagators Society and the Nursery and Garden Industry of South Australia, I was able to access further training opportunities,” Daniel says.
“Before my apprenticeship was over, I'd developed diverse skills, knowledge and experience.”
“As a result, long ago, I was awarded the title of South Australian Apprentice of the Year.”
“Now older, wiser, and greyer, I am a good example of where these awards can take recipients.”
Daniel looks forward to continuing to train quality horticulturists who'll influence a connected and effective horticultural industry into the future.
“I hope too, that when those graduates think back on their years training, they remember me with the same appreciation that I do reflecting on my own lecturers.”
Employed by Adelaide Institute of Hospitality (AIOH)
At the age of 14, Bhu left his country of birth, Tibet, to join the Dalai Lama in exile at the spiritual home of Dharamsala, in India.
As a political refugee, Bhu was committed to giving back to his community. He wanted to fight for Tibetan independence and subsequently completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at Delhi University.
Through a Tibet support group, Bhu found himself ‘adopted’ as a son by a volunteer, Mother Kate Tan. Kate and her family arranged for Bhu to come to Adelaide on a sponsored student visa through cookery, giving him a chance at a new life.
“Getting into a new country and changing career into cooking was extremely challenging, but I was determined to work hard,” Bhu says.
Since moving to Adelaide and finishing his apprenticeship in cookery, Bhu has worked in the kitchens of prominent establishments including the Hyatt, Intercontinental, Grand Chancellor, Rockford, Pink Pig, The Blanc and Citrus.
“My purpose is helping others, which led me to my current work – teaching.”
“Teaching allows me to share my passion for food with the students in an attempt to inspire the next generation of chefs in Adelaide.”
Bhu considers himself as living proof of a person who can overcome difficulties and achieve whatever they put their mind to.
Setting an example and sharing his experiences to motivate and encourage his students is one of Bhu’s greatest gift.
Employed by TAFE SA
Natasha has been working in Foundation Skills at TAFE SA for 10 years as a lecturer in the Women’s Education program.
As a former student of the Women’s Education program, she knows first-hand how transformational the program can be.
“I left school with very little ambition to go into further study but after completing a Certificate IV in Women’s Education at TAFE SA I discovered a passion for learning,” Natasha says.
“This coupled with wanting to help others has led me to a career in the VET sector working as a trainer in the Women’s Education program.”
Having lecturers that cared and acted as strong role models and mentors has encouraged and supported Natasha along the way and is something she credits as being essential to her success.
“I feel fortunate to be working in a role and an organisation where I can act as a role model for others.”
Natasha’s goals for the future are to complete her current university studies in the Bachelor of Adult and Applied Learning and to continue to improve her professional practice.
“I would like to keep working with women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds to reach their study and work goals.”
“I would also love to expand the Women’s Education program further to give more women the opportunity to develop their skills and confidence in a supportive environment.”
Employed by TAFE SA
As a senior lecturer, Jon brings a wealth of knowledge and industry experience to TAFE SA Regency’s hospitality division.
A trained chef, Jon started his career in the United States of America before moving to South Australia, where he worked for several years at the Adelaide Hilton Hotel.
Prior to this move, Jon worked in several high-profile restaurants in Boston and New York and was the executive pastry chef for renowned celebrity chef Todd English.
“Although I have a wide range of culinary skill, patisserie is where my passion lies.”
“Some of my most proud achievements are the range of chocolates that have been served on menus around the world, notably at The White House and Buckingham Palace.”
“I have also written numerous articles and was a columnist for South Australia food and wine magazine ‘Sumptuous’.”
As an International liaison to Sri Lanka, Jon works closely with the Win-Stone School of Hospitality and has travelled to Colombo on several occasions to assess students at high vocational education training standards.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to pass on what I know to the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals.”
In a constant effort to continually push himself forward, Jon has applied for The Saskia Beer Fellowship, a new Churchill Fellowship to be offered from 2022 to honour the memory and legacy of the late Saskia Beer.
If awarded, Jon will actively engage in supporting the amazing food industry in SA and beyond.