Riley Stewart was the regional winner of the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year category at this year's Queensland Training Awards. Picture: Contributed
Riley Stewart was the regional winner of the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year category at this year's Queensland Training Awards. Picture: Contributed

Diesel fitter named CQ’s apprentice of the year

A HASTINGS Deering employee is trying to stay humble after being announced the winner of a prestigious regional award.

Riley Stewart was the regional winner of the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year category at this year’s Queensland Training Awards.

Riley, who works as a field service diesel fitter at Hastings Deering, said he wasn’t expecting to be named a regional winner but was “pretty stocked”.

“There were a lot of other apprentices who put up a good fight and have had good training as well,” he said.

“To be recognised is pretty surreal.”

Growing up on a farm in Biloela, Riley was always pretty hands on.

He said it was an opportunity at the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy Oresome Trade Camp that set him down the mechanical trade career path.

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He completed a Certificate III in Engineering (Mechanical Trade) and his apprenticeship was signed off by the end of his third year.

During this time, he was recognised by his employer and named Hastings Deering’s 2nd Year Apprentice of the Year in 2018.

Riley said he now “pays it forward” by sharing his knowledge, values and experiences with upcoming apprentices and recruits at Hastings Deering.

“We get apprentices who definitely have potential but are a little too shy or haven’t had the opportunities with the right person to progress their skills,” he said.

“That’s how I got my chances. A certain tradesman would give me chances, like testing and diagnosing machines, running jobs, leading a team.

“Without those sorts of challenges, I wouldn’t be where I am today or have the knowledge I have.

“You just have to put in the work, show your ethic and show you are keen, so someone recognises you. Never be afraid to ask questions and always try your hardest. If you don’t know something, ask.

“I am a strong believer of giving younger apprentices similar experiences to what I had so they get the experience.”

As the regional winner, Riley will now progress onto the 2020 State Finals, which will be announced online on September 18.