Local and Skillset trainee, Reece Oldfield, has been named as a Finalist for the 2020 Trainee of the Year at the Western Training Awards.
Reece, who completed his Surface Mining traineeship in January, was employed by Skillset and hosted by Moolarben Coal Operations while completing his Certificate III in Surface Mining - Surface Extraction Operations with TAFE NSW.
Having previously worked in earthmoving, he said, "I gained a few skills that were transferrable and the opportunity came up at Moolarben and Skillset to be a trainee". And that with mining, "there's a long way that you can go with it a whole new range of career opportunities".
However, just as his traineeship was drawing to a close, duty of a different kind had called. A member of the Rural Fire Service from a young age, Reece answered the call with blazes on the doorstep of the Rylstone area.
"I had to take a lot of time off in December and January during the fires. And I was really lucky that Moolarben and Skillset were really flexible about that," he said.
Although, the awards don't just celebrate achievements in training, nominees' citizenship is also taken into consideration. And Reece's volunteer work in the community helps in that regard.
"I've been on the Rylstone Kandos Show Society for a few years now and we created the Youth Committee, as a way of getting the younger generation involved," he said.
"[Being in the RFS] is not something you do for the recognition, you do it to help other people. There's no better feeling you get than helping someone, especially during a fire.
"Much the same with the Show Society, when I joined there was a bit of an age gap. I was president of the Youth Committee for a couple of years to get it off the ground and our idea now is to get Year 11 and 12 kids into the presidency job to build up their skills."
Due to restrictions and social distancing measures, Training Services will announce the category Award Winners who will then progress onto the NSW State Training Awards Finals, through an online event on July 1, 2020.
"I couldn't speak more highly of my training experience. I attribute the success throughout my traineeship to the collaborative support from my employer, Skillset and consultant Nicole Lee, the team at Moolarben and training support of Troy McBride from Train365," Reece said.