ETU Victoria’s Jack Todaro claims Apprentice of the Year for 2019

Nicholas McCallum

'It shows what a great union the ETU is for apprentices to give us such a key role': Jack Todaro.  

With the ETU celebrating 100 Years of Power, there were opportunities to look at past while looking ahead to the future.

The huge week’s events culminated in a gala dinner where 2019 ETU Apprentice of the Year was awarded to 24-year-old Jack Todaro of Victoria.

“I really wasn’t expecting this,” the 4th-year sparkie said after taking the gong on the night.

“It shows what a great union the ETU is for apprentices to give us such a key role.”

ETU Victoria apprentice Jack Todaro. Image: Max Mawby

In October, Jack will head to Washington DC to represent the ETU as a Youth Delegate at the Global Power Trade Union Congress (GPTUC).

Following the congress, Jack will spend a week with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), gaining valuable insight into the US trade labour movement.

Throughout his stay, Jack will be exposed to the different aspects of the electrical trade in the US and how its Vocational Educational Training (VET) system functions. 

After Jack received his award, National Apprentice Officer Mark Burgess said there “was an incredible number of apprentices apply for the award this year and it was hard to find just one stand-out winner among so many stand-out candidates”.

In commending all 12 of the outstanding contenders, Burgess said the finalists all showed commitment, drive and passion for the ETU and their trade.  

Jack (R) was selected from 12 finalists. ETU National Apprentice Officer Mark Burgess (L) praised all the finalists' efforts.

“Every one of our apprentice finalists showed the spirit of union and social justice is strong and we have a bright and long future ahead of us.”

National Secretary Allen Hicks agreed the hardest part of the contest was picking only one winner.

“Our judges were blown away by the candidates for Apprentice of the Year and I’m proud to be the national secretary of a union with so many bright young sparkies,” he said, adding Jack’s win was well earned.

“Jack stood out as the winner because he is a dedicated apprentice who is committed to his trade, committed to his union and the ETU is proud to reward him for his hard work fighting the good fight every day.”

Jack, who started his apprenticeship on railway construction, said it was a great honour to be awarded Apprentice of the Year.

He said the award showed how the ETU was dedicated to training and educating its apprentice members and vowed to “keep pushing forward” and carry on the fight. 

“We’ve had some big fights over the years and we need to keep fighting, keep pushing forward. Dare to struggle, dare to win, it hasn’t changed,” he said.

Delegates to the ETU Apprentice conference.

“We need to raise the bar and keep raising the bar to make the ETU the strongest it can be so we can build a better society of all Australians.” 

ETU Victoria Secretary Troy Gray said the state branch was full of pride that the Apprentice of the Year for 2019 was one of their own.

“Jack is hard working apprentice and dedicated to the ETU and his fellow unionists. He sets a great example for his peers young and old,” he said.

“I know our whole branch is filled with pride to see Jack recognised for all his dedication and he sets an example for all to follow.”  

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