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Awards 2021

Indigenous Student of the Year Finalists. Watch the video and hear from our finalists.

Alexis Cato - 2021 winner

CPC50210 Diploma of Building and Construction 

Alexis Cato describes her building and construction course as a life-changing qualification that built her resilience and belief in herself.   

Alexis credits her teachers, the Learning Skills Centre and the Student Wellbeing team for helping navigate challenging personal circumstances and remain committed to her studies. 

Alexis says her biggest achievement was something as simple as turning up every day, even when it was most difficult.  

She has volunteered with a range of organisations, including Orange Door, Hills and Ranges, Worthy Australia, Narcotics Anonymous, Windana and Ngwala Willumbong. 

She belongs to the Yamatji Noongar people from Western Australia but would like to work locally with the Koorie Pride Network.

In her spare time, Alexis enjoys painting artworks, high intensity gym training and looking after her cat. 


Kathryn McDonald 

SHB30115 Certificate III in Beauty Services 

A positive Open Day experience paved the way for Kathryn McDonald’s beauty services career. 

Starting with the Free TAFE course, Certificate II in Salon Assistant SHB20216, Kathryn continued her studies into a Certificate III. 

Since then, her ambitions have been as clear as her creative make-up designs, including a main make-up artist role on Holmesglen Community Festival’s media production, Zombie Apocalypse.  

She has also worked as a costume coordinator on indie film The Faceless Man. 

Kathryn wants to become a film and TV make-up artist and costume designer and hopes to further her passion with a prosthetics or costume making course. 

“I want to offer hope to young people that there is a pathway available, and it's worth chasing your dreams no matter your circumstances.” 


Skye Hunter 

AHC31416 Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management 

Skye Hunter was one of 10 people selected out of 1500 applicants for a Melbourne Water traineeship, where she has gained the confidence to proudly express her relationship to land and country. 

Skye is passionate about the environment and always willing to share cultural information about indigenous plants and seek the knowledge of local Elders. 

Skye’s course and traineeship are giving her the tools to pursue a career as a Heritage Trust Cultural Adviser and proudly represent the Taungurung community. 

For the moment, Skye is enjoying putting her learning into practice. After the bushfires in early 2020, she provided feedback to her supervisor about on-site workplace safety in the bush, which led to a new module on Wildfire Hazard Management. 


Awards Festival 2021

Now in its 24th year, our Awards Festival celebrates excellence in education and training.
See all finalists

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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