(From Left) Mark Ryan (Member for Morayfield, Assistant Minister Assisting the Premier), Dr Jim Watterston (Director General), Emma Rice and Dr Paul Wilson (TAFE Queensland East Coast General Manager) at the North Coast Region's VET Trainer of the Year Awards.
(From Left) Mark Ryan (Member for Morayfield, Assistant Minister Assisting the Premier), Dr Jim Watterston (Director General), Emma Rice and Dr Paul Wilson (TAFE Queensland East Coast General Manager) at the North Coast Region's VET Trainer of the Year Awards.

TAFE trainer takes on to state awards after regional win

EMMA Rice is Brisbane bound for the 55th Queensland Training Awards State Final after being awarded the North Coast Region's Trainer of the Year for her work with Gympie TAFE.

Ms Rice said it was the first time she had been nominated for the regional awards, so to now be in the running for the state ones is a special experience.

"It's phenomenal,” she said.

"It's a nice achievement, nice to be recognised.”

A community services teacher who works with service managers in a wide range of fields including alcohol, drugs, mental health and disability services, Ms Rice's work now takes her internationally; for the last year, she has been working with the Republic of Kiribati, a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

It is the first collaboration between TAFE Queensland and the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT).

The goal is to help the residents of the republic to secure Australian training qualifications in case they need to migrate as a result of climate change.

With 22 graduates last year and 28 enrolled this year, the work has kept Ms Rice busy - so busy she is squeezing another trip in between now and the awards, flying out in late August and not returning to Australia until the morning of the State awards.

Working with TAFE Queensland since 2007, she said teaching has given her immense pleasure and joy, and while she said she cannot pinpoint any specific moment her career has been full of highlights.

"I really like seeing students who have worked very hard to complete their qualifications stand up at graduation with their families and have them cheering for them,” she said.

While the award is an amazing achievement for Ms Rice, she is adamant that it represents more than individual accomplishment.

"The QLD training awards puts Gympie on the map, and its an award we can all be proud of - all teachers - and it's nice recognition for all teaching staff.”

Gympie Times


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