“Vocational education and training allows you to grow as a person—I’m opening up, learning new skills, it’s bringing the best out of me,” says Donald Dundas, who won Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award at the 2017 NSW Training Awards.
Donald then went onto to receive the 2017 Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the Australian Training Awards, and is proof of the opportunities and success that came come through VET.
Donald undertook a Certificate III in Plumbing through TAFE NSW. His success at the Training Awards led to a new job working as a mentor in the New England region with training and workforce development organisation Skillset. His role is to inspire and support around 90 apprentices from the construction and mining industries.
“I have learned a lot and I am grateful and humbled by the opportunity I’ve been given—and taken it with both hands,” he says of his experience as a role model and ambassador for VET.
Donald lives with his partner and young family in Coonabarabran, on the edge of the Warrumbungles, in the NSW central west. A proud Aboriginal man, he is actively invested in the wellbeing and prosperity of his community and offers this advice: “Be yourself, work hard. Make mistakes and learn from them. Set professional goals but, more importantly, ensure you continue setting education goals as well.”