Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke today presented a dedicated automotive apprentice with a scholarship to help her finish her training.

Ms Cooke presented automotive apprentice Shannon D’Souza with a Bert Evans Scholarship from the NSW Government providing her with $15,000 over three years to help complete her apprenticeship.

“Shannon is a well deserving recipient of this scholarship – she is a mother of two who knows that completing a trade and gaining a qualification will secure a positive future for herself and her children,” Ms Cooke said.

“Bert Evans Scholarships are awarded to first year apprentices who have a great attitude to their work and training but are facing financial or other hardships.

“Shannon is passionate about her automotive apprenticeship but finds it hard to make ends meet being a single mum on an apprentice wage, so this scholarship and its $15,000 will make a difference.

“She also travels 40 kilometres to work in Harden and attends TAFE classes in Wagga Wagga – a 190 kilometre round trip from her home in Cootamundra – showing her level of commitment.

“Shannon is typical of the great stories we hear about Bert Evans scholarship recipients – apprentices who are devoted to their trade and show remarkable resilience to overcome their difficulties to succeed,” Ms Cooke said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills John Barilaro said financial hardship was a factor that could prevent apprentices from completing their training.

“We want to make sure eager young apprentices don’t fall between the cracks and can get the support they need to succeed,” Mr Barilaro said.

“People like Shannon work hard and persevere to contribute to their communities and deserve this support. Apprentice completion rates under the Bert Evans scholarship program are 82 per cent so it is making a real difference.”

The Bert Evans Scholarships were launched by the NSW Government in 2014 as part of a $2.4 million program, with 482 awarded so far.