Talented youngsters being recognised for the abilities is nothing new in the Southern Highlands.
And this year is no different.
At the recent 2020 NSW Training Awards, Joshua Nickl from Gumnut Patisserie won Apprentice of the Year for the Illawarra and South East NSW region and Darcy Howard was awarded Highly Commended Vocational Student of the Year.
Joshua, who recently finished his apprenticeship won both Apprentice of the Year for baking but also overall Apprentice of the Year across all trades.
Following a written application and interview, the winners were then selected.
Illawarra Vocational Training Committee (IVTC) member Meagan Thorpe from 1300apprentice presented the awards earlier this week.
"It's for people who are going above and beyond, not just doing their job," she said.
"They're performing in all areas of their apprenticeship, from the quality of their training, community involvement, how they're performing at work, teamwork and communication- a wide range of factors."
Joshua said he was pleased to win the award but could not have done it alone.
"It's quite a good achievement. It comes off the back of a lot of hard work and lot of support from both family and friends. My parents have supported me a lot through my apprenticeship," he said.
"Also working at the Gumnut Patisserie has helped me a lot. It has really pushed me further."
And while winning awards is nothing new for Joshua, it is his attitude that plays a large role in his continued success.
"Always just striving to be better every day is the key and not resting on your laurels when you've won an award or been named best apprentice in the Illawarra," he said.
"Keep pushing those boundaries to be better because I think every day you may think you're a good pastry chef but there's someone out there who is as good, if not better than me. So pushing every day to make myself that little bit better I think goes a long way in winning awards."
Darcy, who has a traineeship with J J Dresser & Co- stock and station agents in Cowra- was not on hand to receive his award.
His award was in the field of primary industries after he studied a Certificate II in Agriculture at Chevalier College.
His mother Wendy received the award for him.
"He was very excited and proud [to get the award]," she said.
Darcy has been working in Cowra since the start of the year and has loved his time there.
"He loves dealing with the stock and also loves a chat with all the farmers," Wendy said.
"He just wants to work hard and create relationships through the business."
And for Joshua, there is more to come.
He will now go on to represent the region at the state training awards.
For the state awards, he will have another interview which he said would look at his apprenticeship, how he can promote apprenticeships and trades along with how he could be a good ambassador for apprenticeships.
He is also hoping to be a part of the Australian pastry team to compete at the next Pastry World Cup as well as further overseas travel.
Last year, as part of on-the-job learning, Joshua travelled to Europe and enjoyed a "working holiday" to increase his skills and knowledge.
He worked in pastry shops in London as well as fine dining restaurants doing plated desserts, worked in Belgian chocolate shops and spent some time in France.
"I really pushed my skills and my knowledge in that aspect, learning from some of the best in our pastry trade.
"And then the last six months over the COVID period has been tough but it has been an opportunity for me to look back on some of the skills that I can refine and become better with the extra time I've had."
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