The Bassendean resident was recognised as a high achiever during his two-year traineeship through Central Institute of Technology with Calibre Global and completing a Diploma of Engineering.
‘It was a tough two years trying to balance work life, footy life and study life,’ he said.
‘I would love to say I did it myself, but if it wasn’t for the support of so many people I wouldn’t have been able to cope.
‘But what really helped through it all was that I enjoyed what I was learning and I love footy, so it always makes it a bit easier.’
Mr Manton is now a mechanical draftsman working on the Yandicoogina project for Rio Tinto and hopes to become a senior designer within five years.
The Swan Districts footballer said he hoped other indigenous people would be inspired by his efforts to follow his career aspirations.
‘It is great that I can represent my people in a forum outside success in sport or university,’ Mr Manton said.
‘I hope they can see that they are not the only pathways to success.
‘I would love to see more of my people in the office and involved in project management.
‘There is opportunity and support out there for indigenous people and if I can make them aware of this through these awards then that is the real reward.’
Other local award finalists include Bayswater resident Amanda Guthrie for WA Vocational Student of the Year and Morley’s Hampton Senior High School for WA VET in Schools Excellence.