Featured Scholarship Winners

2016 Gold Winner: Joe Hornung

Middy’s: How has the Scholarship grant assisted you in achieving your long-term career goals?

Joe Hornung: I joined the electrical industry later in life after a career change and believed that by applying for the Middy’s Scholarship it would open new opportunities to excel in my professional life. By undertaking courses that are beneficial and adding additional skills to my portfolio. This Scholarship grant has definitely assisted in achieving my long-term goals by new found skills.

M: What training course(s) did you undertake or plan to undertake as a result of winning the Scholarship Program and what benefits do you think this will have on your business?

JH: I’ve completed two courses, a Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas and a Certificate IV in Instrumentation. The courses were challenging with a lot of information to take in. The instructors at RTO Tech Skills Australia were great, full of knowledge and industry experience. What I learnt will give me the confidence to take on new tasks and transfer and implement these skills into new opportunities for the business.

M: What were the reactions from your family, friends and employer when you won the Scholarship Program?

JH: It was a great surprise when I received the news with my wife. Disbelief turned into joy as the news finally sank in. Everyone was very excited and pleased for me when I told them I won, especially at work they got right behind me. I am fortunate to have a supportive employer who values his people and has given me the flexibility to undertake further training.

M: How would you evaluate your Middy’s Scholarship Program experience?

JH: My experience has been exceptional. The online application process was easy to understand and follow. The preparation and organisation of Middy’s with regards to the travel, accommodation and attending the award ceremony were just perfect. The Awards Presentation Night itself was a fantastic initiative and a great opportunity to meet the amazing team from Middy’s and fellow Scholarship Winners. I have nothing but praise for the whole Scholarship Program and all the people involved at Middy’s.

M: Have the training courses you’ve undertaken helped you to excel in your business? Describe some of the benefits you and your employer have noticed with your new-found skills?

JH: I firmly believe that the further training has given me a great boost of self-confidence and a sense of satisfaction and achievement. The new skills learned have allowed me to approach tasks in a more efficient and effective way. I’m now able to support my employer in taking on new business opportunities that might have been missed due to the lack of certain skills required.

M: What improvements would you like to see for this year’s Scholarship Program application screening process?

JH: Being a successful recipient of the Middy’s Scholarship Program, I cannot see any faults with or comment on improvements of the screening process. I do commend and congratulate Middy’s for putting together and financing this Scholarship Program. It is great to see that money is being put back into the electrical industry and it will continue to positively influence many individuals, their businesses and their customers for years to come.

2016 Gold Winner - Aaron Durasovic

Middy’s: How has the Scholarship grant assisted you in achieving your long-term career goals?

Aaron Durasovic: The goal for my company Earth and Energy is to continue to excel at helping small to medium businesses improve their energy efficiency. Undertaking extra education through the Scholarship Program, has furthered my knowledge and expertise in areas not covered by a conventional Certificate III in Electrotechnology.

M: What training course(s) did you undertake or plan to undertake as a result of winning the Scholarship Program and what benefits do you think this will have on your business?

AD: I chose to study Electrotechnology Certificate IV PLC & Motor Control. I wanted a deeper understanding of SCADA and PLC systems. If I am to be able to continue improving a building’s energy efficiency going forward, I will need to cultivate an extensive knowledge base in these areas.

Over the remainder of the year, I will also complete:

  • NECA Education & Careers - Estimating Stage 1 & 2
  • Box Hill Institute - Certificate II Split Systems
  • Melbourne Polytechnic - Diploma of Electrical Project Management

M: What were the reactions from your family, friends and employer when you won the Scholarship Program?

AD: I am lucky enough to have family and friends who supported me throughout this process. They were all very excited when it was announced that I had won (one of six) Middy’s Gold Scholarship Awards. They reminded me to stay motivated and challenge myself to work hard enough for the things you want in life. The next time I dropped into my local branch, Middy’s Airport West, they saw my face all over the latest magazine and we all had a chuckle.

M: How would you evaluate your experience with the Middy’s Scholarship Program?

AD: I cannot advocate for the Scholarship Program enough. It is very generous of Middy’s to organise and fund a program aimed solely at providing further education for electricians. On the Awards Presentation Night, I had the opportunity to meet the other Scholarship recipients as well as the judges. It was great to see electricians from all over Australia gather together and toast towards educating and upskilling electricians in our industry.

M: Have the training courses you’ve undertaken helped you to excel in your business? Describe some of the benefits you and your employer have noticed with your new-found skills?

AD: Running a business and further educating myself hasn’t been easy but I’m privileged to be in this position. Currently I’m undertaking two night classes per week at the Box Hill Institute undergoing newly found skills in the Certificate IV Integrated Technology course whilst working full time. Since completing my Certificate II Split Systems & Heat Pumps, I have been able to install multiple 8kw systems in my clients’ offices and factories. Eliminating outsourcing work to a contractor and guaranteeing my clients receive high quality work they can trust.

M: What improvements would you like to see for this year’s Scholarship Program application screening process?

AD: After talking with the judges on the Scholarship Awards Presentation Night, they briefed the attendees and gave an insight into the selection process and how difficult it is to select 12 winners (6 gold recipients and 6 silver recipients). Four judges each year need to evaluate hundreds of applicants and the process is quite rigorous. A recommendation I would like to see for this year’s Scholarship Program screening process, is a face to face interview for all shortlisted applicants, giving everyone a chance to really let their personality shine. This could pave the way to seeing a higher calibre of applicants selected for this year and the future.

2015 Gold Winner - James Lee

We caught up and spoke to James about career aspirations and how the Middy's scholarship fits in.

Middy’s: What is your current employment in the Electrical Trades Industry?

James Lee: I am currently the Electrical Supervisor at Ego Pharmaceuticals, responsible for the operations of the electrical maintenance team of 5 at our Braeside facility in Victoria. The plant operates 24hours a day, 5 days a week, which means some early 6am starts managing the demands of a round the clock facility! Ego is the largest Australian owned pharmaceutical company specialising in dermatology (skin care) and we manufacture all our products at our Braeside plant.

M: Why did you apply for a Middy’s Training Scholarship?

JL: In short, to try and get some financial assistance towards my higher education goals. For around the last 4 years I have been heavily investing time in my professional development through various certificate IV’s and a Diploma. The successful completion of these certifications progressively presented me with numerous career opportunities. It worked as a positive reinforcement for me confirming if I put in the effort, I can reap the rewards! So when I stepped back and assessed what was next, a tertiary education was the next logical step. As it is an expensive investment financially, it made perfect sense to apply for the Middy’s Scholarship for a financial contribution, and avoid a massive HECS debt!

M: How did you find the online application process, Easy/Hard?

JL: Incredibly simple. I came across the brochure in the branch which gave me a good outline, and the guys behind the counter were supportive in encouraging me to apply. It was then simply a matter of getting online, following the steps, entering my personal and my employer's details, submitting my answers to the 6 questions within the word limit and that was it.

M: How long did the application process take?

JL: From leaving my local Middy’s with the brochure for the scholarship to submitting it online, the process for me personally was a few hours. Firstly I wrote a draft application, proofed it and made sure that I was getting my message across. So it took me personally a bit longer than it would for most people, but for me it was time extremely well spent, it’s the best hourly rate I’ve ever been on, it paid off!

M: What training course(s) did you undertake as a result of the Scholarship (or plan to undertake)?

JL: As a result of the scholarship, I’m currently undertaking a Master of Project Management at RMIT University. The course is part time 4years, and I’m about to complete the first semester. The course is select entry only and I believe that having the scholarship on my application played a favourable role in my acceptance.

M: Did you undergo the training during or outside of business hours?

JL: I’m studying part time, outside of full time business hours. I have contact hours at the city campus 2 nights per week after work. Additionally I spend a great deal of time studying on my own time outside of the course contact hours. So at the moment it's most of my life outside of work!

M: How did your employer react to you winning the Scholarship and undertaking the training?

JL: Ego was really excited to hear the news and have been incredibly supportive with assisting me with my chosen studies. From writing a personal recommendation to the university, to a write up in the ‘Egogram’ (an internal company newsletter) and allowing a photo shoot to go along with this interview to be conducted onsite - the support has been incredible. I have really appreciated how they have got behind me, I’m lucky to have an employer that understands the importance of investing in its people.

M: What new business or career opportunities do you hope the further training will open up? How do you envisage your career progressing with this further training?

JL: Successful businesses increasingly see the need for effective project management, making it a very broad qualification applicable to most industries. Combined with electrical and maintenance expertise this broadens the greater horizon to construction or disaster recovery, or even not for profit. Being that Ego is such a rapidly growing business that continues to invest in its infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities, I am hoping my further studies will help me grow and diversify to a position in the company that helps it grow and deliver successful projects.

M: Do you anticipate an increase in income as a result of the training?

JL: Naturally I would expect that it would, that training and further education are an investment in yourself, and by arming yourself with more knowledge and skills, it's safe to assume that if you apply skills efficiently and practically the investment will repay itself by way of remuneration.  

M: Would you recommend others to apply for the Middy’s Scholarship program?

JL: I couldn’t recommend it strongly enough. The process to apply is extremely straight forward, and if you’re successful, the opportunities have direct benefit. Even if you aren’t fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship, the process gives you an opportunity to reflect on where you’re at with your career and where you feel you’d like to go.

M: What are your biggest concerns about the electrical industry?

JL: This is a tough question, and I really only feel as though I am qualified to answer with respect to the industry that I am in, manufacturing. My biggest concern would have to be for future generations of industrial maintenance electricians, and their opportunities for exposure and training within the industry. I was fortunate enough to complete my apprenticeship within the automotive manufacturing industry, an industry which is nearly extinct in Australia these days. With major car manufacturers closing down in recent years, and the knock on affect to all of the 3rd party suppliers to that industry, many opportunities that once existed for maintenance electricians and apprentices to learn and perfect their craft, have all but disappeared. So my biggest concern for my industry is that without these opportunities, the calibre of maintenance electricians will decline, purely by a lack of opportunity to develop skills in the industry. Which is really disappointing.

M: What do you enjoy most about your job/the electrical industry?

JL: There are many things, but really, on a day to day basis, it’s the people. The electrical trade industry has many colourful characters that I interact with, but for me personally, it would have to be the electrical and mechanical team at Ego. I’m lucky to have the team that I do. Without them in my corner, my role with Ego would be significantly more difficult! I am sure many of the team will read this, so I’d like to take the opportunity to thank them and acknowledge all of their hard work, in addition to the broader team, or ‘Egozites’ as the directors are fond of calling us. I really do believe that it is the people, not the profits that make a business like EGO what it is, which is why I like going to work. It’s really rewarding to be involved with a business that is investing in its people and future in Australia.

2012 Gold Winner - Daniel Parsons

Daniel won the $10,000 Gold Scholarship in 2012 at a time when he was running his own general electrical business. Whilst Daniel had the base level skills required to undertake the work, he had no idea about how to successfully run a business, and was finding his estimating, quoting and business management skills were way off the mark.

The Scholarship gave Daniel access to training and tools to evaluate, plan and measure the financial side of running a business. As well as the Estimating 1 & 2 and Frontline Management courses, Daniel studied Energy Efficiency and Lighting which sparked an unexpected passion for lighting design. In turn, he enrolled in a two year night course at RMIT in lighting design and engineering to build on the skills he learnt with his Scholarship.

Daniel now runs a successful full service energy efficient lighting design and installation business. Daniel’s recent projects include the lighting design and fit outs of some of Australia’s major hardware stores. He’s also started designing his own light fittings.

The Scholarship has given Daniel’s skills the edge he needed to succeed in a rapidly changing industry. Being able to offer a full service from design to installation by licensed electricians has given his business the competitive edge in the market. Daniel’s business continues to grow and he now has one full time employee and five contractors working for him.

2012 Silver Winner - Danielle Denblyden

Danielle started out in 2003 as a 21 year old apprentice and started her own business ‘A Zigi Spark’ in 2010. Danielle applied for the Scholarship in 2012 looking for opportunities to grow her business to the next level.

Danielle took the Electrical Inspectors course and Solar Installers course, which has in turn allowed her to become a fully qualified electrical inspector and solar installer.

Winning a Middy’s Scholarship has added extra bows to her business. Being an inspector as well as a general sparky has significantly broadened her customer base in Gippsland. With just a handful of inspectors available to do this kind of work, local electricians are now customers.

As well as being qualified to take on solar work, Danielle can also sign off on solar work. The scholarship training has proved the ideal platform to grow her business to the next level. Having the advanced skillset has allowed Danielle greater flexibility running a business and the freedom to work around raising a family.

2011 Gold Scholarship Winner - Chris Downing

Chris Downing from CMD Electrical Contractors was a 2011 Gold Scholarship winner pocketing $10,000 worth of training. Watch the video and hear all about Chris’ Scholarship Program experience.

2011 Gold Scholarship Winner - Michael Bruns

Michael Bruns from Stowe Australia was a 2011 Gold Scholarship winner pocketing $10,000 worth of training. Watch the video and hear all about Michael's Scholarship Program experience.

2009 Gold Scholarship Winner - Craig Paterson

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank Middy's for their commitment to the Middy's Scholarship Awards Program. I'm sure the Middy's Scholarship program will continue to develop, inspire and energise everyone involved. The Scholarship Program is an initiative. I am very proud to be associated with. I congratulate all this year's award winners and wish them all the best for the future.

Craig Paterson, Paterson Electrical (Gold Scholarship winner)

2009 Gold Scholarship Winner - Adam Hassett

I would like to pass on my appreciation for being able to attend one of the best management courses that I have been involved in. With the use of the Middy's Scholarship, I was able to attend the ElectroComms course at Glen Erin Retreat. The presenter of the course, Thomas Chapman and Peter Wesley, were first rate and surroundings at Glen Erin first class. Parts of the course that were presented will be implemented into our company's structure.

Adam Hassett, Kane & Co (Gold Scholarship winner)

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