B and V Engineering apprentice Ben Davis has been named 'outstanding first-year student' by the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).
He studies at the college every Wednesday and was nominated by his teacher.
The prize was a welder and welding helmet to help Mr Davis in his future trade.
He is now in his second year of apprenticeship and in another two years, Mr Davis will be a qualified heavy metal fabricator.
Owner of the Yass-based family business, Peter Van Den Bulk, said Mr Davis had been "jumping through hoops" since he started his apprenticeship in December 2017.
Mr Davis had been working with Mr Van Den Bulk during the school holidays and asked about an apprenticeship when he completed year 12.
"I wouldn't let him go," Mr Van Den Bulk said.
This is the business' second apprentice and Mr Van Den Bulk had a high school student helping during the October holidays.
"It's an extra hand in the workshop and it keeps the trade going," he said.
Mr Davis said he loves the work.
"Every day is different," he said.
Like most high school graduates, Mr Davis wasn't 100 per cent sure what his future career looked like, but getting hands-on experience has helped him to find out.
"I'm glad I did it," he said.
Mr Van Den Bulk hopes Mr Davis will stay on after his apprenticeship.
Both encourage others to consider an apprenticeship to develop trade skills.
Mr Van Den Bulk said most employers would be open to a conversation about possible apprenticeships.
"That's all you can do," Mr Van Den Bulk said.
Mr Davis said quite a lot of his high school friends have found apprenticeships.
"If people are looking for an apprenticeship, be keen, don't be afraid to ask," he said.
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