Tumut teen nominated for NSW Training Award

Tumut-based Year 12 student Montana Dean will find out this Saturday whether she has won the VET in Schools Student of the Year award, run through the NSW Training Awards.

Tumut’s Montana Dean was “jumping for joy” when she found out she had been nominated for an award in the NSW Training Awards.

The NSW Training Awards are an opportunity to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements in the vocational education and training sector. The awards have various categories to recognise students, trainers/teachers, training organisations, and large and medium employers.

Ms Dean, who is undertaking Year 12 at Kildare Catholic College in Wagga Wagga, is nominated in the ‘VET in Schools Student of the Year’ category.

“I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions I have made in my senior years of high school,” Ms Dean said about her decision to study Hospitality as a VET course.

“You’re doing something you love and are surrounded by people who love doing the same thing as you.

“The training and qualifications I gain from this course are endless, at the conclusion of this course, I will have gained my Certificate II in Hospitality, First Aid certificate and a Barista Course certificate.”

Ms Dean said the skills she is learning through her VET course will help with her future career ambitions. She intends to go to University once finishing school and undertake a Bachelor of Business (Hospitality Management).


She was nominated for the Training Awards by her Hospitality teacher Mrs Penelope MacKay.

“When I found out my teacher had nominated me for the award I was so pleased and shocked at the same time,” Ms Dean said.

“I was glad that someone saw that I should be recognised for all my hard work and dedication to Hospitality.”

After submitting her application, Ms Dean was excited to make it to the next stage and be interviewed by a panel from the Riverina-Murray Vocational Education and Training Committee.

“I had an interview to discuss why I decided to undertake the VET course, what I liked about it, what I intend on using it for, what it would mean to win the award,” Ms Dean said.

“They were all such lovely people and made me feel very calm.”

Soon after her interview, she was contacted by the Committee and informed that she had been nominated.


“I was jumping for joy! I was so excited to see where it would take me.”

Ms Dean believes that her dedication and passion for the VET course allowed her to stand out from other applicants.

“It is something that has brought me great joy and I see it more as a passion or hobby rather than just a ‘subject at school’,” she said.

Despite all the changes to school-based learning over the last few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Dean said that her learning has not been affected at all.

“VET is very good in which I was able to undertake this course even though I was doing school from home,” she said.

“My teacher Mrs MacKay helped a lot as she gave us everything we needed to do before we went into isolation. So due to its flexibility, I am still very prepared for the upcoming Trial and HSC exam.”

Ms Dean said she would feel “incredibly proud” to win the award, which will be announced this Saturday, May 30, through a virtual presentation held via Zoom.


“It would make my mum and dad so incredibly proud as my mum works in the hospitality industry and it’s something that is extremely close to her heart and my dad works in the business industry,” she said.

“If I was to win this award I would love to use it to expand on my career, encourage others to undertake a VET course and pass my knowledge onto others about what it can do for you.”