|Crusader Homes apprentice Lucas Henderson,
left, and chief financial officer Kelvin Derksen-
Luelf, at the Australian Training Awards.
LOCAL business Crusader Homes has been named the Small Employer of the Year in the Australian Training Awards. Held in Brisbane last Thursday, the awards are the peak level of Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector.
New Norfolk-based Crusader Homes went into the national awards after winning the title of Small Employer of the Year in the Tasmanian Training Awards in September. “We are so proud of our town and the things to come,” company director Justin Derksen said on Facebook after the national win.
The award citation noted that the Crusader Homes vision was to build low-cost, high-quality homes in the Derwent Valley. “With the Derwent Valley’s unemployment rate being at around 8% and the youth unemployment being around 19%, principal contractor and director Justin Derksen employs locally and strives to give young people a purpose.”
While reading the paper and working in a job at the casino several years ago, Mr Derksen decided to embark on a mature-aged apprenticeship that saw him go from a back-of-a-ute builder to the biggest builder in New Norfolk.
It was his aim to give young apprentices an enjoyable and high-achieving experience and never to have them be out of pocket for their education at TAFE. Crusader Homes employs locally so that the people who live in their home town have a greater opportunity at employment.
The several Tasmanian winners in the awards were congratulated by Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Training, Jeremy Rockliff. “The Australian Training Awards are the highest recognition of excellence in VET training in the country and this was Tasmania’s best result in a decade,” he said.
Mr Derksen said 2019 had been a huge year for the family business, which is branching out with the establishment of the New Norfolk Distillery at Willow Court. The year Crusader Homes has been awarded:
- Tasmanian Government Small Business Awards Employer of the Year
- Telstra Tasmanian Medium Business of the Year
- Tasmanian Small Employer of the Year at the Tasmanian Training Awards
- And the big one – Australian Small Employer of the year at the Australian Training Awards.