Weipa electrician continues winning streak at training awards

21 July 2017

A Rio Tinto Weipa tradeswoman has been recognised for her work as an apprentice electrician with a win at the 2017 Far North regional finals of the Queensland Training Awards.

Denica Russ was announced as the Tropical North Queensland winner of the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year Award at the awards ceremony on 14 July. This follows being named Apprentice of the Year at the 2016 Skill360 Western Cape Apprentice and Trainee Awards.

Denica was recognised this time for her strong commitment to safety in the workplace, competency in all aspects of her trade and willingness to mentor other apprentices.

"This award means so much to me as I am following in the footsteps of my dad and brother working in the electrical field.

"Without the apprenticeship programme I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to complete a Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician. I can’t wait to see where my career can take me now I am fully qualified," Denica said.

Rio Tinto general manager, Weipa operations, Daniel van der Westhuizen said "I am delighted that Denica has been recognised with this award.

"From the very beginning Denica has shown great enthusiasm for her trade and has also maintained momentum in improving her skills post-apprenticeship. She is an asset to our team and we look forward to supporting her future development.

"We are very proud to provide opportunities for local talent through our apprenticeship programme and other employment and training initiatives in the Western Cape Region."

Denica completed her electrical apprenticeship at Rio Tinto Weipa’s operation with Skill360 Australia and was offered a fulltime role as an electrician with the business shortly after.

Denica, alongside other regional winners will now go on to complete at the Queensland Training Awards at a gala dinner on 1 September, which celebrates the state’s top achievers including apprentices, trainees, vocational students, teachers, training providers, employers and community-based organisations across a range of categories.

The nation's top training achievers for 2017 will then be announced at the Australian Training Awards in Canberra on 23 November.

About Denica Russ

Denica is a Weipa local and attended Weipa North State School and Western Cape College. Following high school graduation in 2007 she planned to be a teacher and a completed a Bachelor of Human Movement and Bachelor of Education at QUT in Brisbane.

A year into teaching she decided to switch paths and pursue a career in the electrical field. Denica was inspired to learn this trade as her father and brother are both electricians. She went on to successfully apply for and complete an apprenticeship with Skill360.

Denica hopes to inspire others to have the confidence to try new things and give their best effort.