Australian boating icon Riviera is proud to announce three of its school-based apprentice students have received awards recognising them as finalists in Queensland’s School-based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SATs) Awards.

Riviera and Helensvale State High School this year rekindled the school-based apprentice program, which first started in 1997.  This multi-award winning training program has produced hundreds of highly skilled tradesmen with nationally recognised qualifications, many of whom have had the opportunity to travel and work overseas with Riviera.

Eleven new school-based apprentices joined Riviera this year, including SATs finalists Margaret Piakura in upholstery, Lachlan Davidson in cabinet-making and Brendan Smith in electro-technology.

Apprenticeship project mentor Tony Vaughn congratulated Margaret, Lachlan and Brendan on their achievements.

“These awards are a true reflection of the calibre of our young apprentices, their dedication to their trades and the quality of our training program here at our on-site Gold Coast Institute of TAFE Marine Training Centre, which opened in March,” Mr Vaughn said.

The SATs awards are an initiative of Queensland’s South East Region Department of Education Training and Employment.

The SATs awards recognise the achievements of school students in not only their school studies but also their vocational work.  The awards are designed to recognise students on their dedication to securing their future career paths.  Each category has three finalists with an overall winner for each category and then an overall winner is announced from all the categories.

Apprentice upholsterer Margaret Piakura was a finalist in the manufacturing category and she said it was a really exciting night.

“I felt really proud and my parents were there to congratulate me.  I have learnt so much this year at Riviera.  I have started sewing and it is really rewarding to see the finished products,” she said.

Lachlan Davidson and Brendan Smith were finalists in the Building and Construction category.

Lachlan said he was proud to make it into the top three finalists. “I was disappointed I didn’t win but to be a finalist is a great achievement and I am sure it will help me in the future,” he said.

Brendan said it was a very rewarding experience knowing he had been selected as a finalist from hundreds of applicants.

“It was such a great night and my parents were really proud of me.  I was dedicated to getting an apprenticeship as an electrician and I think my previous electrical work experience really helped my award application.”

Both Lachlan and Brendan are working on a rotation through Riviera’s various departments including lamination, new model development, Fit Out 1, Fit Out 2 and the waterfront, giving them exposure to all aspects of boat-building.

Mr Vaughn says Riviera’s school-based apprentices spend one day at the TAFE centre, which is located on-site within the Riviera complex, and one other day in on-the-job training.

“The students are truly immersed in the dynamics of the luxury boat-building industry and will gain a full understanding of all the trades, which will provide valuable experience and knowledge of their craft,” he said.

Riviera’s general manager Scott Cumming said all three students and their parents were justifiably proud of their achievements.

“It gives me a lot of confidence in the team we are building for the future and I must commend Tony Vaughn and all our managers for their dedication to mentoring these young people and our future tradesmen and women,” he said.

“In addition, our education partner, Helensvale State High School won the award for School of the Year, which was accepted by principal Mark Blackshaw, and I also congratulate Paulina Ford also from Helesnvale State High School for winning the award for Industry Liaison Officer of the Year – the recognition is a great achievement for not only our apprentices but our education partners as well.”

Riviera will commence enrolments for the 2015 school-based apprentice program later in the year.  Information will be available soon at