Emerald man Toby Greenbury has been named Central Queensland’s top trainee of the year after turning his gardening hobby into a career with Central Highlands Regional Council.
The mature-aged horticulture trainee received the Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year award at the regional final of the 58th Queensland Training Awards, held in Rockhampton on the weekend.
This is the second year a Central Highlands Regional Council employee has taken out the award.
‘I was a panel beater for 26 years, but always loved breeding plants at home,’ Toby said.
‘This traineeship offered me an opportunity to change my career path and support a better future for myself and my family.
‘I’m very humbled to receive this award and look forward to continuing to build my skills and knowledge in an industry I really love.’
Council also took out the Large Employer of the Year, with other finalists including the Mackay Regional Council and Civeo Pty Ltd.
Manager Human Resources Tanya Rouse said council’s learning and development team were excited and grateful to receive the award.
‘This is an absolute credit to our training officer Aleisha Catip for all the work she has done with our trainee and apprentice program – a program we are very proud of,’ she said.
‘Through our ‘Growing Our Own’ initiative we are demonstrating how important pathway learning and upskilling is to our organisation.
‘We are also working in collaboration with many external agencies and neighbouring councils to develop a ‘Water Industries’ training package to be delivered in our region. This will help to close some of the gaps for regional centres in sourcing training for one of the highest risk areas across the state.’
Mayor Kerry Hayes echoed Ms Rouse’s sentiments, congratulating staff for their efforts.
‘There is a clear focus in our organisation on personal and professional development, a desire to keep learning and improving, and I think that’s a wonderful reflection on the culture we have here at council,’ he said.
‘This is a remarkable achievement for everyone involved, and while awards don’t mean everything, they certainly mean a lot. So well done and we look forward to seeing what happens at the next level.’
Ms Rouse said it was also heartening to see all four of council’s nominations reach the top five in their respective categories.
Apprentice diesel fitter Blake Davies made the top five nominations for the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year category, while procurement officer William DeVreede was a finalist in the Vocational Student of the Year award.
Council and Mr Greenbury will now join the winners from six other regional finals to become state finalists at the Queensland Training Awards State Gala Dinner in Brisbane on 14 September.
Councils trainee and apprentice programs are proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government through its First Start program under the Skilling Queenslander for Work initiative.