Josh Hicks was named Warrnambool's Senior Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) Student of the Year at South West TAFE's VCAL Showcase and Awards Night on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old has completed foundation, intermediate and senior VCAL after dropping out of high school to cope with his anxiety.
"Still to this day I don't know what caused my anxiety," he said.
"But a lot of it was to do with what people were thinking about me.
"TAFE is a lot more relaxed and you feel more involved in classes where at high school I felt like I was just another number.
"The great support staff at TAFE have helped me overcome my anxiety and now I'm almost over it and see what options are open to me."
Mr Hicks said he was surprised and amazed to win the award and he already has plans to start a Certificate III in Information Technology at South West TAFE next year.
"I chose to do my work experience at Warrnambool East Primary School and I was in the IT Department," he said.
"I love technology and the work experience set this career in stone for me.
"I'm always helping people out fixing their IT problems and it's something I really enjoy so I'll see where it takes me."
More than 300 people attended the awards night and South West TAFE VCAL Senior Educator Emma McDonald said it was a chance to showcase the work of students.
"This is the first time we've held an awards night for our VCAL students and it's so exciting to be able to be able to congratulate our students for all of their hard work," she said.
"We've had high enrolments this year, our courses are growing and our students have achieved outstanding results."
In the past two years South West TAFE numbers of VCAL students have grown by more than 30 per cent with the 2019 enrolment at 170 students.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.