SuniTAFE Swan Hill Apprentice of the Year Inspires Graduates 

23 Apr 2024

Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining (CPC31220) apprentice Tristan Bulger was named Apprentice of the Year at the Swan Hill Graduation and Awards event held last month.  

Tristan’s award win comes after he earned a gold medal at the WorldSkills Australia National Championships in 2023.  

WorldSkills gives trainees and apprentices the opportunity to showcase their abilities and knowledge within their chosen fields by competing in skills competitions.  

Participants begin at regional competitions where they compete against peers. Those who excel then move on to the National Championships, which brings together regional winners for three days of intense competition, networking, and learning. 

Those who win gold medals, like Tristan, are deemed the best in the country at what they do.  

During the Graduation and Awards event, Tristan was asked to deliver a speech wherein he took the time to share stories from his WorldSkills experience and used this to inspire the other graduates. 

Tristan is a gracious winner and could not be more thankful for those around him.  

“It was very exciting, and I was overwhelmed with emotions when my name got called as the winner,” he said.  

“I honestly didn’t think that I would win. They read out the award winners for the bronze and silver medals and when I didn't place either second or third, I assumed I mustn't have placed at all. I never even contemplated winning gold. So, when they read out the name of first place, I was astonished. 

“I’m pretty proud and it makes me humbled to know that I’m good at what I do. I always thought that I was good, but I never thought that if I competed that I would win. So, there were definitely mixed emotions that day. 

“I’d really like to say thank you to everyone who helped me get to the competition and win. Without them I couldn’t have done it.” 

Tristan was the winner of the Plastering and Dry Wall Applications cohort of the WorldSkills Championships. The tasks he had to complete as part of the competition replicated the day-to-day tasks of the workplace.  

Tristan believes that his studies at SuniTAFE ultimately prepared him to take on this challenge and be so successful.  

“Everything that I was taught was in detail, and if I ever had questions I could ask and I would get the correct information,” he said.  

“I would get shown, not just one, but multiple way to do things. This really helps in case you come into a problem that sometimes you need to try and solve because the solution isn’t obvious. 

“There were a few things, like the steel stud framing we did in the competition, which I have only ever done with my trainers when we had to do that unit. That is more of a commercial thing, and my job has me doing mostly residential work. So, the course has given me wider knowledge of the trade.” 

Unlike other trade courses at SuniTAFE, Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining (CPC31220) is delivered entirely in the workplace. SuniTAFE has employed skilled trainers to travel around Victoria teaching within this discipline.  

This means that Tristan, who is from Shepparton, did not need to travel to either the Mildura or Swan Hill campuses to complete his course.

To read more about Certificate III in Wall and Ceiling Lining (CPC31220) through SuniTAFE, click here.