South West TAFE is a finalist for the 2020 Victorian Training Awards and one of its students will be vying for the Apprentice of the Year title.
Cri-tech's first female plumbing apprentice and mentor to three other female apprentices, Shona McGuigan is up for the state award after a Taster Day gave her an insight into the plumbing industry.
"I had my sceptics who didn't take me seriously when I told them I wanted to be a plumber and it was daunting entering a male-dominated trade," she said.
"But it made me determined to work in this field and once I got into the TAFE environment it was easy."
Ms McGuigan won two VET In Schools awards during her studies and secured a four-year apprenticeship at Cri-tech which she will complete later this year before another challenge is thrown her way.
"I'm now 31 weeks pregnant so I've recently moved into the office but I love working on the tools and can't wait to be back out there," she said.
"I was shocked but very happy when I found out I was a finalist. I didn't think what I'd done was that big a deal; I just felt like one of the boys and completed an apprenticeship like anyone else, but I hope I can inspire some other women to look at trade apprenticeships.
"I walked out of the course with more attributes than when I walked in and finished with more energy to push and strive for more."
South West TAFE chief executive Mark Fidge said the institute was proud to play a role in developing a skilled workforce.
"Being recognised as a finalist acknowledges the outstanding achievements of our highly regarded staff, affirms the smart decisions made by our students in choosing SWTAFE, and confirms our standing in the local community as a leader in our region," he said.
"We are proud of the role we play in assisting our regional communities to achieve their current and future career aspirations as we aim to provide education that creates a lifetime of opportunity for all,."
South West TAFE is one of three finalists for the Large Training Provider of the Year title, alongside GoTAFE and Box Hill Institute.
Winners will be announced as part of a new virtual format on a date to be confirmed. Some winners will go on to represent Victoria at the Australian Training Awards in November.
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