More than 600 people turned out last night at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to celebrate the achievements of Victoria’s finest building and construction apprentices at the 2023 Victorian Apprentice of the Year Awards. 

In front of hundreds of their fellow apprentices, employers, families and training providers, metropolitan category winners were formally recognized for their outstanding skills and commitment to the industry, joining major category winners from across regional Victoria, who received their awards at events through March 2023. 

The Regional and Metropolitan winners then went head to head to reveal the overall winners of the State Categories, before the prestigious and overall winner of 2023 State Apprentice of the Year Award was announced.

That honour went to 23 year old Isaac Stolk from Wendouree, who had been awarded the Ballarat Apprentice of the Year Craftsperson Award in the earlier regional awards, and also took out the overall State Award in the same category.

A clearly thrilled Isaac was presented with his Apprentice of The Year trophy by Master Builders Victoria’s newly installed President, Geoff Purcell and Master Builders Victoria CEO (Interim) Michaela Lihou.

“I am absolutely stoked to receive these awards!” said Isaac. “I love my job and the work I get to do, so to be recognised as a regional and then State winner was amazing, but then to be named as the Apprentice of The Year is just incredible!”

“I want to thank my family, friends and the Lord and I want to say a huge congratulations to all of the other winners!”

Nominated by his training provider, GOTAFE and employed by Robson Glass in Ballarat, Isaac has been described as a passionate worker, committed to his craft in glass and glazing.

“With a sharp eye for detail, Isaac shows great passion for this craft, which is demonstrated in the beautiful works he creates specialising in leadlighting,” said the judges. “It’s clear he enjoys glazing, and loves having to adapt across a wide variety of jobs.”

MBV President Geoff Purcell said he was thrilled and heartened to see the quality and the passion of the next generation of the industry coming through, across such a broad variety of trades and skills.

“Isaac is a stand out winner for State Apprentice of The Year against a stellar field of contenders,” said Mr Purcell.

“And despite the challenges that building and construction has faced recently right across Australia, you cannot help but feel optimistic when you see these really committed apprentices of all ages, who can see their future in our industry,” he said. “I applaud them all!”

MBV CEO (Interim) Michaela Lihou paid tribute to the employers, training providers and families who supported the apprentices on their career journey.

“Without their combined ongoing encouragement and support, wisdom and patience, we wouldn’t be seeing the great achievements we’re witnessing in these apprentice awards,” she said.

Last night’s Victorian State Award winners included:

  • President’s Award – Austin Cloete
    Employed by Andrew Huf Building Contractor and nominated by South West TAFE 
  • Apprentice of The Year - Future Builder Award – Todd Robinson
    Employed by AA & KA Jones and nominated by South West TAFE 
  • Apprentice of The Year – Developing Leader Award - Skye Jeschonek-Pride
    Employed by D5 Building Group and nominated by Skillinvest 
  • Apprentice of The Year – Craftsperson Award – Isaac Stolk
    Employed by Robson Glass and nominated by GOTAFE
  • Apprentice of The Year – Structural Trades Award – Mason Goldsworthy
    Employed by Henny Pty Ltd and nominated by Holmesglen Institute of TAFE 
  • Apprentice of the Year – Finishing Trades Award – Joshua Brereton
    Employed by Reflex Glass/JT Joinery and nominated by GOTAFE

Along with the individual apprentice awards, custom home builder Construct Melbourne was recognised for its ongoing commitment to developing apprentices, winning the Brian Fitzmaurice Memorial Award.

A full list of the winners in the 2023 Master Builders State Apprentice of The Year Awards can be found here

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