James Totman named region's Apprentice of the Year

Leussink Engineering training supervisor Allan Van Elsland congratulates James Totman after he was named Apprentice of the Year at the Vocational Training Committee  Illawarra and South East NSW Region Training Awards. Picture: GREG ELLIS

Leussink Engineering training supervisor Allan Van Elsland congratulates James Totman after he was named Apprentice of the Year at the Vocational Training Committee Illawarra and South East NSW Region Training Awards. Picture: GREG ELLIS

C&M Leussink Engineering fitter and turner James Totman is celebrating being named apprentice of the year at the 2014 Regional Training Awards.

The announcement was made at the annual awards hosted by the Vocational Training Committee (VTC) for the Illawarra and South East NSW Region.

It was a double celebration for Mr Totman, who also recently became engaged to Katrina McMahon who celebrated with him last Friday night.

Mr Totman, who recently completed an Engineering – Mechanical Trade Certificate III with Leussink Engineering and TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute,  is no stranger to recognition.

He was highly commended in the Australian Industry Group’s Illawarra Apprentice of the Year Awards last November and placed three times in WorldSkills competitions.

He also placed first in his year at TAFE but the latest award essentially means he was recognised as the best apprentice in the Illawarra for all trades.

‘‘I won apprentice of the year in my mechanical trade, mechanical engineering, which is fitting and turning, and then I also won the big one, which is out of all trades,’’ Mr Totman said.

‘‘This is my fifth year at Leussink Engineering. I have completed my trade so I am a fitter and turner now. 

‘‘At night I have also completed a number of fabrication courses. I want to stay and progress further through the company. 

‘‘I would eventually like to become a supervisor or something like that. I am already getting time working with other younger apprentices and helping train them.’’

Mr Totman said he hoped his achievements would help inspire them.

But he said his success would not have been possible for him without the great training the company provided him.

‘‘It is a terrific company to work for and it really encourages us to enter these awards,’’ he said.

Mr Totman said the business had a fantastic apprenticeship program led by training supervisor Allan Van Elsland.

‘‘I have learned a lot from Al and I have really looked up to him over the years,’’ he said.

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