Computer guru Reece Arday is a finalist in the Hunter Region Training Awards at Wests City, Newcastle, on Friday night.
The 23-year-old systems administrator from Port Stephens Council is in line to become the region’s business administration trainee of the year.
“Even before I was working in IT you could say I was playing with computers,” Mr Arday said.
“Now I do it while I’m at work and when I get home.”
Mr Arday attended Irrawang High School before he took up studies at the University of Newcastle in business administration.
Unhappy, he started an apprenticeship in carpentry but it was the right fit either.
Instead, Mr Arday took up a traineeship in business administration at Port Stephens Council in March 2015 while he studied at the Maitland TAFE campus.
“I actually started in the mail room at council and worked my way around,” he said.
This turned into a full time role in systems administration in September 2016.
“Carpentry can be pretty unforgiving,” he said.
“I’d rather be doing this [IT] than on the tools.”
This doesn’t mean he’s office bound though, often on the road between the council’s libraries, depots, holiday parks and tourist information centres repairing faults and erasing viruses.
Nor does it mean he shirks hard work.
“You definitely need to be a good trouble shooter, someone who’s persistent,” he said.
“I’m not complacent, so if something even a little bit off I’ve got to fix it. If it takes me two hours to make something five minutes faster – something you’re doing every day – I’ll do it.”
Mr Arday, who now lives at Macquarie Hills, said he’d be happy to take home the award.
“It would be really nice,” he said.
“I guess I’ve got that bit of extra maturity being 23, so that could make the difference. It’s funny, I don’t really think of myself as a trainee anymore.”
The awards are conducted annually by Training Services NSW to recognise outstanding achievement in the vocational education and training sector.
The awards honour and reward the achievements of students, trainers/teachers and training organisations as well as large and medium employers.
Regional winners qualify for the state awards.