LES Tomich is well-known as the former Albury Council boss, but he draws equal satisfaction from his work in helping get young people into training.
Despite all his efforts, he readily admitted it was a big surprise to learn he had been recognised in today’s Queen’s Birthday honours list.
Mr Tomich receives the medal of the Order of Australia for service to local government and to Albury.
General manager at the council from 2005 to 2012, Mr Tomich said he was “exceptionally humbled” by the award.
“I just did my job as best as I could do and did whatever I could for the community I live in as best as I can do,” he said.
Mr Tomich said he was especially proud of his involvement with Apprentices Trainees Employment Limited or ATEL, formerly known as the Albury Wodonga Group Apprentices Scheme.
He has been chairman of ATEL since 2002 and was deputy chairman from 1991.
“We’ve trained literally thousands of kids and older people in various trades and helping them to get jobs,” he said.
“ATEL’s still a very strong, vibrant company. Like all companies we’re doing it a bit harder at the moment due to various government policies.”
Mr Tomich said he had always “had a thing” for training young people.
The council’s own trainee scheme, he said, was probably one of its greatest achievements at the council.
“The younger people of today are our investment into the future,” he said.
“Our future will only be as good as they’re going to make it for us.
“We can shape certain things, but they’ll carry that on and so we’ve got to give them the opportunities to train them.”
Mr Tomich said his time on the council — he retired in December, 2012, after 26 years — was a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the community.
“Your community repays you tenfold with everything you put into it,” he said.
“But I was only ever part of a team of people — a number of people have all contributed.”
Mr Tomich said he especially enjoyed making his contribution to the council’s state-wide reputation as a fine local government authority.