Introducing our nominees for the 2024 NSW Training Awards

We are thrilled to introduce St Nicholas’ nine amazing nominees for the 2024 NSW Training Awards. These awards are conducted annually by the NSW Department of Education, recognising outstanding achievements in vocational education and training.    

Each of our nominees were chosen for their commitment and determination towards lifelong learning. This reflects the talent within St Nicholas’ pool of trainees across our centres and services. We are so proud of our trainees for diligently working towards completing their accreditations and concurrently progressing in their respective roles.

Learn more about the NSW Training Awards and the incredible individuals and organisations they celebrate here.


Get to know our nine nominees:

Charlotte Bell

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Muswellbrook

Nominated for: Trainee of the Year

Charlotte joined St Nicholas in late January 2022, to commence her Certificate 3 Traineeship through our Pathways program. Her journey has been inspiring to watch as Charlotte has embraced every learning moment with enthusiasm and determination.

Charlotte joined St Nicholas in late January 2022, commencing her Certificate III Traineeship through St Nicholas Pathways. Charlotte has embraced every learning moment with enthusiasm and determination.

“Reflecting on my time with St Nicholas, a highlight has certainly been receiving the St Nicholas Team Award in 2023 along with my colleagues. After a challenging few years with COVID and subsequent staffing shortages across our sector, it was amazing to be recognised and appreciated for our efforts. It truly served as a testament to our teams’ resilience and dedication to reaffirm the significance of our work.

I want to encourage those considering a career in early childhood education and care to embrace the journey wholeheartedly, knowing that every moment invested in the wellbeing and education of children is invaluable. Despite the hurdles prevalent in the sector, the rewards far outweigh the challenges. Witnessing the growth and development of children firsthand and knowing that my contribution leaves a lasting impact on their lives and those of their families is profoundly gratifying.”


Madison Parnell

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Branxton

Nominated for: School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Madison has been with St Nicholas since 2022, completing St Nicholas Pathways’ Early Childhood Immersion program in September

and commencing her school-based traineeship in November. Her diligence and devotion in striving to achieve her goals and supporting her fellow SBATs is commendable.

“I’ve experienced numerous highlights that shaped both my professional growth and personal fulfillment. Building strong friendships with my fellow SBATs made the learning journey so much more enjoyable as we created an invaluable support network to help each other navigate the challenges and triumphs. Equally, the unwavering support and guidance that the St Nicholas team provides us is second to none. Our working environment is truly supportive and my colleagues are eager to see my growth and development.

The most fulfilling aspect of my role lies in the connections forged with the children in my care and their families. Being able to share with families how their children are progressing is so rewarding and highlights how valuable our roles are.

My advice for those looking at a career in early childhood education and care is to embrace it enthusiastically. There is so much support available to help you thrive. It’s a career that isn’t just professionally rewarding, it is deeply fulfilling.”


Alex Jones

Service: St Nicholas OOSH Charlestown

Nominated for: School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Alex’s journey with St Nicholas began in mid-2022 through St Nicholas Pathways’ Early

Childhood Immersion program. Eager to continue exploring this field, Alex secured an SBAT role.

“One of the most heartwarming aspects of my job is the greeting I receive each week at my OOSH service. Every time I walk through the door, I’m met with a chorus of excited voices calling my name and rushing to give me a welcoming hug. It’s these moments that ground me in knowing the impact that I have on the children and their families.

To anyone considering a career in early childhood education and care, I encourage you to take the plunge. There is no substitute for firsthand experience and you may discover a passion that you never knew you had. Jump in, embrace the opportunity, and see where the journey takes you!”


Jasmin Robinson

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Singleton

Nominated and finalist for: Vocational Student of the Year

Jasmin joined St Nicholas in 2020 through St Nicholas Pathways’ School Based Traineeship program and has developed a passion for and commitment to supporting those in her care to thrive. Jasmin has become a vital member of our St Nicholas Early Education Singleton team and her growth reflects her commitment towards lifelong learning.

“Taking on the School-Based Traineeship program allowed me to complete my HSC at school whilst participating in a weekly prac for myCert III in Early Childhood Education and Care. This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience as I took away so many learnings, achieved my educational goals and even secured a permanent role at the centre.

I’ve been lucky enough to work in the preschool room for the last two years and it has been so rewarding to watch the children blossom into confident and ambitious peers who are ready to take the next step into big school. Alongside this, I’ve been keeping up my studies to enhance my professional and technical knowledge which drives me to continue to excel, grow and learn.

There are so many opportunities to kick start a career in early childhood education and care. With St Nicholas, you can find a pathway that suits you and gain support throughout your journey.”


Annabelle Hennessey

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Newcastle West

Nominated for: School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

In joining the St Nicholas Pathways Early Childhood Immersion cohort in 2022, Annabelle quickly showed her enthusiasm and drive to explore

the world of early childhood education and care, and this reflects her achievements to date. Annabelle has taken on many new responsibilities which has shaped her growth both personally and professionally in this space.

“In starting with St Nicholas, I knew straight away that I was in for an exciting and rewarding career. I became part of the St Nicholas Early Education Newcastle West team and was given so much support and opportunity as I worked through my final schooling years and embraced my early childhood education career.

My personal highlight is the strong and beautiful relationships that I get to form with the children in my care. Nothing beats the experience of arriving at work and being greeted by a group hug. We converse about the day’s activities ahead of what we’d like to achieve, and it is so great to work alongside such vibrant young learners who are forging their way in the world.

Being an early childhood educator lets you release your inner child through your interactions with the children. I encourage anyone embarking on their educator training to let this guide their learning and experience growth. My top tip is to remember to have patience. Children are learning about the world and how it works. Witnessing this is so rewarding and you’ll quickly see how much of a positive impact you can have during this important and defining time of their lives.”


Lusi Ostojic

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Cardiff

Nominated for: School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Lusi began with St Nicholas in 2022, completing a ten-day placement. Having discovered a niche for finding creative ways to deliver enriching educational experiences, Lusi commenced her SBAT training in 2023.

“The learning doesn’t stop in this sector as your team and peers want you to succeed. What has stood out to me thus far, is the welcoming nature of our centres and the many educators and fellow SBATs that have inspired my outlook on creating enriching educational experiences for children in my care.

I loved every moment of guiding and witnessing our learners create their Easter hats for the annual Easter Hat Parade and sharing this celebration with our centre community. It was such a joyous moment and a privilege to walk with the children in the parade with my own Easter hat. It will be something that I will remember for a long time.

Sometimes things genuinely are tough within this field of work – but at the end of the day, that’s exactly why we do things because they’re a challenge that we’d like to overcome and learn from. I always try to remember that passion is a big aspect to resilience and persistence. Reminding yourself why you’re choosing this career path can always reassure you in knowing you’ve made the right choice.

Early childhood education is all about creativity and coming up with new ideas, and I think the most important thing is to embrace your creative, silly side and be a role model for children to learn from.”


Mercades Fogarty

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Cardiff

Nominated for: School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Mercades joined St Nicholas in 2022 as part of our SBAT cohort and has shown nothing but dedication to her career progression. Since joining the St Nicholas Early Education Cardiff team, her confidence has grown exponentially.

“The love I feel from my St Nick’s team for everything that I do in my role is second to none. Every moment of success is recognised and

every learning moment is highlighted to help me excel, grow and expand my abilities. An amazing aspect of being with St Nicholas is the relationship that exists between our early education centres and our schools. My progress has been shared with my school principal as I have gone through the SBAT program and it’s been great to have a harmonious relationship between my training and schooling journey.

Expanding on this, one of the great things that the St Nicholas SBAT program allows for is simultaneous learning both in the classroom and in the centres working with children. Having been able to start training to accumulate the relevant qualifications for my career of choice whilst completing my schooling requirements is such a great benefit. This practical style of learning really helped me to feel confident in knowing whether this is the right career for me.

There is so much to be inspired by in the early childhood and care sector. This is a great career choice if you are looking for something fun and out of the box. You will work with incredible team members who will help you grow both personally and professionally. I can’t wait to further immerse myself in this career once I finish school.”


Bree Perkins

Centre: St Nicholas Early Education Branxton

Nominated for: Trainee of the Year

Bree was a valued team member of our St Nicholas Early Education Braxton for 11 months. Stella Danks, Centre Director, provided the below to summarise her time and achievements with our Branxton team.

“Having Bree be a part of our team saw her passion thrive and her knowledge grow. We witnessed her become a valuable member of our team and in the lives of the children she supported. Bree was a fresh breath of air, and when given the opportunity, loved to demonstrate her dance teaching skills to the children, creating meaningful bonds with the children while expressing her love of dancing.”


Olivia Goodwin

Service: St Nicholas OOSH Wallsend

Nominated for: Vocational Student of the Year

Olivia was a valued team member of both our St Nicholas Kilaben Bay and Wallsend OOSH teams over four years.









The Hunter and Central Coast Training Awards presentation will take place at Newcastle Town Hall on Friday 31 May at 6pm.