Common ground for western Sydney apprentice and trainee of the year

Success: Robert Mendel and Stephanie Dewar. "It's really good to see that there is a lot of support in western Sydney for trainees and apprentices," Miss Dewar said. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Success: Robert Mendel and Stephanie Dewar. "It's really good to see that there is a lot of support in western Sydney for trainees and apprentices," Miss Dewar said. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Western  Sydney's apprentice and trainee of the year have more than an award in common.

Robert Mendel was named Apprentice of the Year and Stephanie Dewar Trainee of the Year at the Western Sydney Regional Training Awards on June 13.

Both work at Toshiba International Corporation in Parramatta and have taken on extra qualifications while apprentices, including a diploma of mechanical engineering at Mt Druitt TAFE.

It is the first time two people from the same company have taken out awards in the same year.

Miss Dewar had dropped out of an engineering degree at university when her epilepsy affected her exam performance, before completing a three-year traineeship with the company in just two years.

"I think it has been even more beneficial for me than it would have been finishing my degree," she said.

"It has gotten me from having absolutely no skills to being a team member that is relied upon, which is a huge difference.

‘‘I’ve just moved into the low-voltage motors technical team so I provide technical support for our sales team and also for the customers.’’

Mr Mendel completed a four-year apprenticeship in engineering drafting six months early, along with a Certificate 3 in detail drafting.

‘‘I enjoy drafting but I decided to learn more about the engineering side of the work, besides just drawing a motor and not knowing anything about it,’’ he said.

‘‘It has helped my general knowledge.’’

Mr Mendel said drafting involved drawing motors in 2D and 3D on an AutoCAD program before their manufacture or modification.

He now supervises new trainees and apprentices in the field.

‘‘It’s nice to be in control and have people ask you questions instead of you being the one asking all the questions,’’ he said.

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