Dubbo TAFE teacher Stephen Smith recently received a 2019 TAFE NSW recognition award for his dedication and contribution to the community.
Mr Smith was honoured after having dedicated what little free time he has to support and mentor young Aboriginal people from Orana Haven.
Mr Smith, a local builder and former marathon runner and boxer, works with the Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation to provide the men with job-ready construction skills such as carpentry and joinery.
Mr Smith also encourages and motivates his Orana Haven clients to start living a healthy lifestyle through fitness endeavours.
"I worked with the clients to equip them with hands-on skills by constructing a shower block and bathroom for the disabled in the Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre in Brewarrina, which will also benefit the community and give them a sense of pride," Mr Smith said.
"For many students, this will be the starting point for them; they are hopefully inspired to go on to get apprenticeships and further their careers in the construction industry."
Mr Smith said he was; "very humbled to be recognised for the work that I have been doing in regional communities."
"I really enjoy it and will continue to ensure the best possible outcomes for young people," he added.
Mr Smith said the opportunity to work with the men has been "wonderful" and getting the men involved in fitness endeavours such as running gives them a sense of purpose and provides them with something to focus on.
"Having a sense of purpose is the whole idea of life, isn't it? It gives them a reason to wake up in the morning.
"They're a unique group of men, all of them have something different to offer, and some of them have incredible skills.
"My parents were always very involved in the community and wanting to help, so It's in my nature, I love it."
Earlier this year, Mr Smith took a group of students to Sydney to compete in the City2Surf marathon event.
"A lot of these men have fantastic skills. The few men I took to City2surf, where they met champion marathon runner Robert de Castella, were really fast," he said.
Orana Haven Aboriginal Corporation CEO Alan Bennett said he's grateful for the work Mr Smith has done to help get young people into studying and improving their career prospects.
"Hands-on learning and work experience provides the young people with a sense of fulfilment and direction to improve their lives as well as the lives of their families," Mr Bennett said.