Hastings Deering apprentice supervisor, Shane Whalley and Natasha Stark.
Hastings Deering apprentice supervisor, Shane Whalley and Natasha Stark.

Trainers vote Rockhampton recruit as a future top Cat

SHE may be only in her second year of training, but Rockhampton recruit Natasha Stark has already been recognised as a future Apprentice of the Year.

While Rocky’s finalist Riley Stewart just missed out on winning Hastings Deering’s 2019 Apprentice of the Year, Natasha won the Trainers’ Choice Award for all second-year apprentices from not only Queensland but Northern Territory, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Natasha joined Hastings Deering in the 2018 intake following in the footsteps of her boilermaker father with a career in a trade.

“I have always wanted to work in a hands-on environment,” she said.

“I joined Hastings Deering straight from Biloela State High School attracted by the company’s reputation for training and job stability. In 10 years’ time, I hope to still be working with the company.”

When you are the state’s largest non-government apprentice trainer, it’s not surprising competition is high to be the AOTY and the Trainers’ Choice Award is a nod to potential and future winners.

This is the 42nd year of the award which is a prelude to entry to a global competition by machinery giant Caterpillar to celebrate the very best in training.

Graduated apprentices like Riley, earn their ‘Cat passport’ meaning they can work anywhere in the world where there are Cat machines.

Hastings Deering managing director Dean Mehmet said diesel fitters were critical to the mining and construction sector.

“Our diesel fitters are very important to our business because they help our customers maximise their Caterpillar machines’ productivity,” he said. “The competition was incredibly high, with Darwin’s Andrew Creber winning the award.

“Hastings Deering’s Training Centre of Excellence offers apprentices the very best in skills training which is critical when you are out in the field on your own.”