7A retail baking student from TAFE Illawarra has been awarded the inaugural Steve Hornery Award at a presentation held at TAFE New South Wales Sydney Institute.
Jessica Timpano received the award in recognition of her professional and personal achievements and her enthusiasm for the baking industry. Jessica completed a Certificate III in Food Processing at the Wollongong Campus in 2011 and also competed in the National WorldSkills competition last year.
The prestigious Steve Hornery Award is presented at each WorldSkills National Competition event to a competitor who demonstrates commitment, compassion and support for their fellow teammates.
As a fitting tribute to the award’s namesake, Jessica was noted for displaying an extraordinary depth of character. Working at Cavallaro’s Cakes in Liverpool, NSW, as an apprentice pastry chef, Jessica would travel more than an hour to the Wollongong Campus to attend class and to train for the WorldSkills competition.
Despite being involved in a serious workplace accident in the weeks leading up to the competition where Jessica lost the use of eight fingers, she was still determined to compete.
“My fingers were seriously damaged in a taFe illawarra student wins the inaugural steve hornery awardnut grinder. I was admitted to hospital where I underwent surgery. The recovery process involved a skin graft along with weeks of physiotherapy to regain movement,” Jessica said.
“I was adamant I would still compete because I had trained for more than one year. It wasn’t until 10 days before the competition I was able to use my hands, so it was a challenge.”
By the end of the first day of competition, Jessica’s fingers had started to swell and the pain had gotten to an unbearable level. Nonetheless, after icing her hands and regaining her composure, Jessica managed to submit a standout entry.
TAFE NSW Sydney Institute director Dianne Murray said Jessica was a deserving recipient and had a bright future ahead of her.
“We are very proud of Jessica’s achievement especially as this is the first time the award has been presented,” Dianne said.