New South Wales Minister for Skills John Barilaro today awarded Adam Cooke a Bert Evans scholarship worth $15,000.
Mr Barilaro surprised Mr Cooke at Walpett Engineering in Queanbeyan where he is completing an apprenticeship in metal fabrication.
Bert Evans scholarships are awarded to 75 apprentices around NSW who have demonstrated a commitment to their training despite hardships.
Mr Cooke is a mature-aged apprentice who moved from Western NSW to Goulburn for family commitments. He completes the more than 200km round trip daily to work in Queanbeyan.
Mr Barilaro praised the 36-year-old for his determination to create a better life for himself, his partner and young child through an apprenticeship.
“Adam becomes an example for young people who are considering trades,” Mr Barilaro said.
“We want to make sure these apprentices, who have shown such enthusiasm and positivity in the face of hardship, to have the support they need to complete their training.”
Mr Cooke and other scholarship recipients will receive $5000 each year for the next three years.
Mr Barilaro met Mr Cooke around the corner from where the now deputy premier once completed an apprenticeship in carpentry and joked that perhaps Mr Cooke would have political career in his future.
If he decides not to make a move to Parliament House eventually, Mr Cooke was grateful for the scholarship and was certain it would assist his future
“I’m really excited about this, it’s going to go a long way,” Mr Cooke said.
“I’ll be able to get some tools and all the new equipment that I need to do my job successfully.
“When I finish my apprenticeship I’d love to stay in the industry and eventually have my own business where I can help other people do the same.”
Bert Evans was an apprenticeship ambassador and was an advocate for vocational training for over 30 years. He passed away earlier this year and the NSW government increased the number of scholarships awarded this year to honour him.
Mr Cooke previously worked as a house painter and decided to change his life by learning a new skill and he was a clear advocate of that pathway.
“I’d say to anyone considering an apprenticeship to go ahead with it,” Mr Cooke said.
“You can learn so much from it and it’s definitely worth it.”