COLAC teenager Jessica Perkins is Gordon TAFE’s school-based apprentice of the year.
The Trinity College student beat three other finalists to win the honour at Geelong this week.
“It’s pretty awesome, I wasn’t expecting it,” she said.
“It was pretty exciting.”
Jessica won a school-based apprentice of the year award in cookery, which led to her nomination for the overall Gordon awards.
She had to complete a written assignment and interview before the Gordon announced her as a finalist.
Jessica received $500 and a trophy, and Gordon TAFE could nominate her in the school-based apprentice category of the Victorian Training Awards.
Sharon Pellas, the chairwoman of Jessica’s judging panel, said Jessica had “shown dedication, commitment and passion”.
“Jessica is aware of the work load and commitment she will need to undertake in order to be successful when undertaking her school-based apprenticeship,” she said.
“She has been able to demonstrate strong skills when juggling her work and personal life aspirations in order to achieve her goals.”
Jessica said juggling Year 12 studies and her apprenticeship was a challenge.
“It’s busy and I’ve got to stay organised,” she said.
Jessica works at Colac’s Fusion Restaurant and studies her apprenticeship at Gordon TAFE through Western District Employment Access.
Trinity College principal Tim O’Farrell said Jessica was a “fantastic student”.
“We’re absolutely thrilled for her,” he said.
“I think the award is very well deserved.”
The 17-year-old said the award was a “confidence booster”.
“It’ll look good on the resume,” she said.
“Guess it makes you realise anything is possible.”
Jessica said she hoped to work in a patisserie once she qualified, and to study the specialty in France.