It’s no secret that Kristina Stima is a very passionate individual when it comes to aquatics.
Kristina is currently completing her school-based traineeship with Leisure Employment Australia (LEA). Based at the Lane Cove Aquatic Leisure Centre, Kristina is employed as a lifeguard, swimming instructor and more recently, a pool deck coordinator (PDC).
Her passion for swimming is something that Kristina has always known, “My first swimming lesson I did when I was a few months old. I’ve always been at the pool. I even train at the club at Lane Cove!”.
“I’ve always just been part of the community,” explained Kristina.
As a result of this ongoing passion for swimming, Kristina recently won the 2023 School-Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year for the NSW Central and Northern Sydney Region at this year’s NSW Training Awards.
“They announced my name, and I don’t know how to explain it… I kind of felt like I was going to cry, like I don’t know how I was. My emotions were everywhere,” described Kristina.
As the winner of this award, Kristina is eligible for the federal title of School-Based Trainee of the Year, and is currently undergoing the application process.
The NSW Training Awards are conducted annually by Training Services NSW within the NSW Department of Education to celebrate students, trainers/teachers, employers and training providers.
The NSW School-Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year Award is presented to a student who demonstrates great dedication to their formal studies at school and in the workplace.
NSW Traineeship Consultant Kate Van Es, illustrated how this winning moment initially came about, “We sat down as a team, and I knew. They hadn’t even mentioned nominations and I was like ‘Kristina!’.”
“She embodies everything that you look for in a trainee, in all aspects. She’s always willing to learn. And I think that’s just so important. She’s always seeking feedback, which is such a fantastic quality as well…I think seeing Kristina be able to know what she wants and work for it is really impressive,” expressed Kate.
When asked how she would describe the awards, Kristina told us “I think the training awards really showcase that there are so many other opportunities that you can do. Like there’s someone in my category who’s doing retail, there’s someone who is doing hospitality. There’s so many things that I think doesn’t get recognised enough. So, I think that’s what the training awards is all about, helping people find a pathway that they didn’t really know about”.
Kristina began her traineeship in 2022, after quickly discovering the program at swim club.
“So I actually found out through Olivia Townsend who was the winner for the regional awards last year… We swim together in the club, and I was looking for a job to have, and she was like “oh, this is good for you!”. And it came at a good time because it was year 10 subject selection. Everyone knew exactly what they wanted to do, and I was like “I’ve got no idea what I want to do”. So it kind of helped me find a pathway that I wanted to pursue.” said Kristina.
“I started the traineeship really shy and with not much confidence, so I think as I’ve progressed through lifeguarding and through swim school my confidence has grown.” Kristina explained.
Although the path for Kristina has not always been smooth sailing, after all nothing worth having comes easily.
“Probably if you’d asked me this time last year if I was going to finish the traineeship, I would have said no… I was falling really behind, I wasn’t making it at all” expressed Kristina.
NSW Traineeship Consultant, Kate explained, “Kristina worked really hard to pick those hours up. We were at a time where she was doing twelve hours a week. She worked really hard, as it was only six hours she needed a week”.
In true Kristina style, she brushed off the compliment and instead focused on the positives of her traineeship, “…so I think that’s the biggest challenge, but with LEA they give you the best resources to help you move forward”.
Explaining further, Kristina stated “The good thing about LEA is that you have a consultant, so you have someone to talk to if you have any issues, they guide you through it. Which I think not a lot of workplaces have, which I think really helps ease you into the whole workplace environment a lot. Which I think is really important, especially if you’re a highschool student who’s trying to figure out what you want to do and trying to balance school and any other hobbies you have.
“It really helps that the consultants are all past trainees. So they understand what it’s like because they’ve experienced it personally,” said Kristina.
So what advice does Kristina have for those considering a school-based traineeship?
“I’d say go for it! I think it may be a little bit of a risk to take, but it’s a good risk to take. It’s a new experience. It’s a very professional experience.”
“I think the big thing about the traineeship is you get out of it what you put in it. So if you put in no effort, then you won’t get much out of it. I think it’s all about your approach and what you want to get out of it,” explained Kristina.
Kristina has since progressed as a state winner and is now nominated for the federal title of School-Based Trainee of the Year.
Congratulations Kristina! The entire team is extremely proud of you, and cannot wait to see what you achieve next…possibly the federal title of ‘School-Based Trainee of the Year’.