Bendigo TAFE apprentice clinches GAN International Scholarship

The scholarship will provide the opportunity to experience alternative technologies and international work methods.

Bendigo TAFE apprentice Joel Handcock has received the 2019 Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) Australia's International Apprentice Scholarship.

Currently employed at Simplot Australia, the Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician 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.

The scholarship, valued at $12,000, aims to provide Australian apprentices and trainees with the opportunity to go overseas and experience alternative technologies and work methods. This will allow them apply these learnings to their apprenticeship in a local context.

'I'm very humbled and honoured to receive the scholarship' said Joel. He 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. He would also like to visit the Tesla factory to gain knowledge on the automation of future cars.

'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.

'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 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. 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.'

Joel anticipates travelling to the United States in April 2020.