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Hunter TAFE students lead the pack when it comes to trade excellence in the building and construction industry. This was never more evident than at the recent prestigious Master Builders Association 2016 Newcastle Building Excellence Awards when two plumbing students picked up apprentice-of-the-year awards.
Jake Brunette, 22, who completed his Certificate III in Roof Plumbing, was named Housing Apprentice of the Year and Cameron Anacki, 23, who completed his Certificate III in Plumbing, was named Commercial Apprentice of The Year.
Both apprentices completed their plumbing certificates at the Maitland TAFE campus at Metford and Master Builders’ judges were impressed with the confident manner in which they presented themselves at interview, positive attitude and skill and aptitude for the plumbing industry. 
Mr Brunette works with Master Builders host employer Brooks Metal Roofing and hopes to continue with the Medowie-based business. His enthusiasm was evident when describing his goals and career ambition to complete both the roof plumbing and plumbing trade qualifications.
“There were more than 200 nominations so I didn’t set my hopes too high,” Mr Brunette said.
“The award came as a big surprise. My boss Gary Brooks and his wife were there and they were very excited.”
Mr Brooks said his protégé is a highly valued employee who impresses with his positive attitude and the strong work ethic he displays every day on site. These are attributes the judges also acknowledged in describing him as a worthy winner.
“I’ve finished my studies for the moment but at some stage I will return to TAFE and complete my Certificate III and my Masters in Plumbing,” said Mr Brunette.
He aims to build his own successful plumbing business, which will give him the opportunity to employ apprentices.
“But at the moment I just aim to stay with Brooks,” he said. “They are very nice people and great to work for.”
Mr Anacki works with Master Builders host employer Mullane Plumbing and is also now 10 months or about halfway into a Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services (Operations Stream). He is described as an outstanding apprentice.
The Master Builders Association had told him of his nomination, but he didn’t expect to win.

Mr Anacki diligently completed his plumbing trade qualification and hopes to remain with Mullane to further improve his skills and knowledge, and in the near future start managing projects.
“A few people from Mullane were at the awards night and they were very happy,” said Mr Anacki.
“Hopefully I can stay with Mullane. I don’t plan on moving, but my Certificate IV should just about enable me to run my own business, or go on to a diploma. It’s all knowledge, so it’s not wasted,” said Mr Anacki.
Mr Anacki had not always planned to go into plumbing but it seems he and the industry found each other.
“I had actually planned to go to university,” he said, “but I also knew I wanted to work outdoors.”
Mr Anacki’s peers view him as a future leader within the plumbing industry and his positive approach to all challenges made him a worthy recipient of the Master Builders award.

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