WHEN people tell Inverell’s Emma McIlwain she’s got her head in the clouds, she takes it as a compliment.
Emma’s career objectives are firmly focused on the sky, with a dream of one day qualifying as an aeronautical engineer and mechanic.
In Year 12 at Inverell High School, she’s already taken the first steps towards her goal and is proving to be a natural, having recently been named the VET in Schools Student of the Year at the NSW Training Awards in Sydney.
Another Inverell High senior student, Courtney Harrison, was also recognised, taking home a special award for a Woman in a Non-Traditional Trade or Vocation.
Courtney has been studying automotive mechanics for several years and is an apprentice with Diesel Quip in Inverell.
She said once she finished her apprenticeship, she would consider a job in mining or the defence force and maybe even open her own business one day.
Emma joined the Australian Air Force cadets in Inverell five years ago and would like to attend the Australian Defence Force Academy to study aeronautical engineering.
New England TAFE director Alison Wood said it was wonderful to see two such talented young women receiving recognition for their achievements.
“For a small regional town, Inverell certainly produces skilled young men and women who punch above their weight,” she said.
The only other student from the New England Institute of TAFE to feature at the state awards was Margaret Noonan, who was a finalist for Vocational Student of the Year.
She is a Tamworth Regional Council employee who is completing a certificate IV in frontline management.