The overall winner was Aaron Liebelt, aged 20, from Kilsyth, who is an apprentice cabinet-maker at Yarra Valley Cabinet Makers in Kilsyth South. Madam Deputy Speaker, you will not be surprised that it was not just the 17-year-old school leavers embarking on a career in a trade. In fact, there were many mature age people represented and nominated, who are swapping the daily grind of the corporate world for the prospect of learning a trade. For that very reason the panel decided to break the 10 finalists into two distinct categories—young apprentice/trainees and mature aged.
The winner in the young apprentice category was Dexter Bills, aged 20, from Chirnside Park, an apprentice spray painter at Slammed Creations in Lilydale. The runner-up was Paige Marsh, aged 18, undertaking a certificate in business administration at Yarra Ranges Shire Council. Encouragement awards were also awarded to Sean McCarthy, 21, from Lilydale, an apprentice electrician at Laser Electrical in Lilydale, and to Kate Butt, aged 21, from the Patch, undertaking a certificate in hospitality at Friends on the Hill in Monbulk.
In the mature age category the winner was Claude Zappia, 37, from Silvan, now an apprentice fitter and turner at OzPack in Scoresby. The runner-up was Lee Crippen, also 37, from Mooroolbark, an apprentice chef at Stones of the Yarra Valley in Coldstream. Encouragement awards went to Adam Edwards, aged 46, from Mt Evelyn, an apprentice horticulturalist at Specialty Trees in Narre Warren East; Stewart Morris, aged 28, from Healesville, an apprentice carpenter at Fineline Building Products in Boronia; and, finally, Sue Williams, aged 49, from Lilydale, undertaking a training and assessment certificate and diploma of management at Wendy's in Chirnside Park. As I mentioned earlier, the overall winner was Aaron Liebelt, aged 20, from Kilsyth, an apprentice cabinet-maker.
I wanted to take the opportunity tonight in the House to congratulate all 10 finalists, their employers who came along to make the night the success it was and, again, the judging panel, who did all of the hard work in choosing the 10 finalists, the winners and the overall winner.