March 7, 2022

Apprenticeship Employment Network Awards

Interspersed throughout the annual Apprenticeship Employment Network Awards, IntoWork staff from four different businesses were proud to celebrate the successes of the young nominees. The Arts Centre Pavilion was buzzing, and representatives from Mas, AGA, Interact, and Kestrel were there to support each other’s achievements. Highlights included AGA’s Apprenticeship of the Year nominee, Alex Szutta, and the presentation of the inaugural Disability Achievement award, which was championed and sponsored by Mas.

Each of the categories was presented by the sponsor of its respective award. IntoWork was thrilled to have Leeann Rayner, on behalf of Mas, announce the first recipient to ever take home the Disability Achievement Award. After the crowd had enjoyed their dinner, Leeann took to the stage with the nominees and reiterated IntoWork’s long-standing commitment to taking action that results in meaningful change,

”… our group approached the AEN with the recommendation to create this new award. I feel proud to be representing Mas here tonight as well the Melbourne Disability Network…”

The winner, Massimo Zurzolo, gave a short but poignant speech. He gave thanks to his mentor, Mark – one of many proud mentors that came to support their mentees,

“I would like to give thanks to my Mentor, Mark, for this opportunity… I hope this award helps other disabled people to do the same work I do.”

During dessert, the IntoWork team was doing what they do best at these events – networking, catching up with colleagues, and sharing their favourite success stories from the past year. At the AGA table, Apprentice of the year nominee Alex Szutta was sitting with his mum, Denise, waiting anxiously for the announcement. And while he did not take home the trophy, he was still beaming from the excitement of the night and the supportive atmosphere. He was just happy to realise his dream and thankful for the opportunities that his mentor, Michael, and AGA had afforded him,

“Where I am, Philip Island-wise, I don’t know many sparkies personally. With the AGA Group and Michael (Dixon), particularly – he knows a lot of sparkies and different fields – I’ve gone through different industrial sectors – hospitals, schools…”

His mentor, Michael, sees a future for Alex that is brimming with possibilities, “When he was in first year, he was very focused…Already, on the site that he’s working, he’s feedbacks really good – he’s working close to the level of tradesman now”

Alex’s mum, Denise, perfectly summed up the spirit of the occasion – one of personal achievement that echoes IntoWork’s aspiration of ‘Vibrant Futures’ for individuals like Massimo and Alex,

“I’m really proud of him – he’s practiced, and he fails, and he gets up and tries again. He does what he does because he enjoys it. The proof is that today he got nominated for this. We are proud that he does something he likes to do.”

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