- Twenty-seven exceptional individuals and 10 organisations named as finalists in WA Training Awards 2021
- Finalists showcasing excellence in the vocational education and training sector
- Winners announced at award ceremony in September
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery today announced the 37 finalists for the 2021 WA Training Awards.
From growing up in a Sydney housing commission house to sailing the seas, WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year 2021 finalist Grant Syron (Como) knew that pursuing a maritime career was an opportunity to see the world.
After completing the Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deck) through South Metropolitan TAFE, Grant has gone on to become a second officer and has aspirations to continue his training to become a Master Mariner.
For WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2021 finalist Taj Morris (Glenfield), cooking is in his blood, making it an easy choice to enrol in the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery course through Geraldton's Central Regional TAFE while still studying at high school.
Both of these courses are part of the State Government's 'Lower fees, local skills' initiative.
Now in their 27th year, the awards recognise the outstanding achievements of apprentices, trainees, employers and training organisations.
As well as the recognition these respected awards bring, individual winners will receive $3,000 which they may use to further their training or kick-start their career, while organisation winners will be recognised as industry leaders.
The 2021 WA Training Awards are made possible thanks to continuing support from the State Training Board, MEGT, Apprenticeship Support Australia powered by CCIWA, the Electrical and Communications Association of Western Australia, Polly Farmer Foundation, Roy Hill, StudyPerth and the Training Accreditation Council WA.
Winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony on September 17, 2021, and may go on to represent the State at the Australian Training Awards in November.
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"The WA Training Awards are the State's premier training award program, showcasing excellence and putting our best talent in the spotlight.
"With Western Australia's economy thriving and the strongest in the nation our State is experiencing training and employment opportunities like never before.
"High demand for skilled workers is providing new and exciting pathways for job seekers and career changers.
"I congratulate this year's fine calibre of finalists. They are great ambassadors for Western Australia's training system."
Minister's office - 6552 5700
WA Training Awards - Profile of 2021 finalists
WA Apprentice of the Year 2021 finalists
Hayden Carvell, Mundaring
Some of Hayden's fondest childhood memories involve holding a torch as his dad, grandad and pop tinkered under the bonnet of a car. The family connection and the ability to bring something broken back to life is what led the apprentice mechanic to study a Certificate III in Light Vehicle Automotive with North Metropolitan TAFE.
With on-the-job learning at mycar, Hayden has helped induct and teach new team members about safety, work practices and methods of fixing cars, and recognises that technology is moving quickly.
Joann Knight, Brabham
Visiting Kalgoorlie's 'super pit' as a child and seeing all of the machines in action was enough to convince Joann of a career in mechanics. She followed her childhood dream, completing an apprenticeship as a mobile plant mechanic and landed a job with BHP.
Joann was open to every opportunity as she completed the Automotive Technician (Heavy Mobile Equipment) course through the Westrac Institute, and wanted to show that women can work and achieve their dreams in a male-dominated industry.
Stacey-Lee Boothman, Cooloongup
Stacey-Lee always loved pulling things apart to see how they worked, so much so that at the age of 12 she started building bicycles. After years working in painting, mining, hospitality management and government administration, Stacey Lee's determination to pursue a career she is truly passionate about has come full circle, completing a Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade (Mechanical Fitter) through South Metropolitan TAFE, and she is just shy of achieving her Diploma in Engineering.
Stacey-Lee has had to battle health issues throughout her studies, making her achievement of winning South Metropolitan TAFE's Apprentice of the Year 2020 even more special.
Christian Ferrone, Bayswater
A curiosity for how things work and a love of aeroplanes led Christian to pursue a career as a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Now employed by ExecuJet MRO Services Australia - where he completed his apprenticeship - the course taught him how to safely maintain gas turbine and propeller driven fixed wing aircraft.
Christian completed the Diploma in Aeroskills (Mechanical) with a 95 per cent course average and was in the first cohort of WA apprentices through RTO Aviation Australia.
Now a mentor for other apprentices coming through, Christian knows teamwork is an essential part of the aviation industry.
WA Trainee of the Year 2021 finalists
Bonnie Barber, Bridgetown
Bonnie knew she wanted to join the mining industry when she was in her final year of school, but she did not know which career pathway to follow with the many options available in the sector.
An administration traineeship through Combined Team Services and working with Talison Lithium gave her the perfect mix of support and resources, and she found the ability to study and work a full-time job attractive.
Bonnie says the Certificate IV in Business qualification and hands-on experience has set her up for a fulfilling career working in a field she is passionate about, and she has now accepted a new position as Human Resource Administration Assistant working in her dream professional field.
Amber Ugle-Hayward, Karrinyup
Wanting to pursue a career that was meaningful, challenging and would make a positive impact on the lives of many Western Australians, Amber applied for the Public Sector Commission's Aboriginal Traineeship Program, knowing it would give her a 'foot in the door' to government. Amber has made the most of her placement with the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, gaining practical knowledge while completing a Certificate III in Government through Aspire Performance Training.
Throughout the traineeship, Amber has proactively sought opportunities to further her career and expand networks, establishing a reputation as a highly competent team member who consistently displays leadership, collaboration, respect and integrity.
Amber says the experience has allowed her to develop her confidence and communication skills to raise awareness of Aboriginal culture within the State Government, and directly influence the department's internal policies.
Vikki Doecke, Kelmscott
Passionate about food and hospitality since becoming a chef in her early 20s, Vikki wanted to stay in the industry but broaden her career. Initially afraid to make the change into management, Vikki says she finally started living life on her terms.
A Certificate IV in Leadership and Management through Stanborough Wemyss Contracting was the perfect training alongside her Assistant Village Manager role with Sodexo, which provides catering and managing services at mine sites.
The course developed Vikki's leadership skills so much so that she is now Village Manager of the Wintamarra site and thoroughly enjoys applying all of her past experience with her newly acquired skills.
WA Vocational Student of the Year 2021 finalists
Maxine Turner, Fremantle
Volunteering throughout India and Vietnam helping disadvantaged children and families guided Maxine towards her chosen career. Completing a Diploma of Community Services through North Metropolitan TAFE led Maxine to gaining full-time work at the Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support, following a successful work experience stint.
Maxine now gets to carry out her passion for helping those in need on a daily basis, using the skills and knowledge obtained through her course in her role as a residential worker.
Nerine Boulter, White Gum Valley
Returning to study as a mature age student gave Nerine a passion for learning that she had not experienced before. Her enthusiasm for sustainable aquaculture has been ignited during completion of the Diploma of Aquaculture at South Metropolitan TAFE, where has excelled, nominated for the South Metropolitan TAFE's Vocational Student of the Year in 2019 and 2020.
Nerine hopes to build her own sustainable, environmentally friendly business, growing and harvesting native seaweed for use in health foods, animal feed, cosmetics, bio-plastics and bio-fuel.
Meg Maroni, Albany
Achieving a better future for her local community by implementing and demonstrating digital technologies led Meg to complete her Certificate IV in Information Technology at South Regional TAFE.
Now employed in the industry as the Technical Support Officer for Little Grove Primary School, Meg applies the skills gained in her studies every day to the upkeep of the school's physical and networking digital infrastructure, and maintenance of implemented systems and software. Meg also assists teaching staff to design class exercises and assignments to fulfil their digital curriculum, and is now tutoring a student carrying out the same course she successfully completed.
Zoe Tucker, Bayswater
Twenty years after leaving school, Zoe finally feels like she has found her pathway. Finding traditional work roles not conducive to family life, the single mother of three took the plunge towards a new career and followed her passion, studying a Certificate IV in Landscape Design - a perfect fit for a creative person with a love of plants and nature and background in architecture.
Zoe has not looked back, winning South Metropolitan TAFE's Vocational Student of the Year 2020 and relishing the opportunity to create greener spaces.
WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year 2021 finalists
Kevin Wilson, Victoria Park
Growing up as a Wongai man from the Goldfields region, Kevin has had an interest in art for as long as he can remember. After a few years and a few too many run-ins with police, he decided he could not keep going down that path, so he signed up for an apprenticeship in print finishing at North Metropolitan TAFE, which was just the beginning of his TAFE journey. After completing his Diploma in Graphic Design, he continued on to the Advanced Diploma, becoming more confident in himself, his work and how he speaks about it. Kevin says he feels like he has found his calling in life, and since finishing has gone on to co-found Nani Creative, a graphic design company specialising in design for projects promoting Aboriginal tourism.
Grant Syron, Como
Sailing the seas may not be for everyone, but for Grant, pursuing a maritime career was an opportunity to see the world, meet new people and have a new challenge every day. From growing up in a Sydney housing commission, Grant says he had wonderful role models in his hard-working parents, who showed him anything is achievable if you put your mind to it.
After completing the Diploma of Maritime Operations (Watchkeeper Deck) through South Metropolitan TAFE, Grant has gone on to become a second officer, with his qualification allowing him to travel the world working on any ship.
Grant's hard work and commitment is an inspiration to the whole community, and he has ambitions to take his studies and career development even further, with his long-term goal of becoming a Master Mariner.
Keira Gentle, Ridgewood
From a young age Keira wanted to design clothes, and after a massive life turn around she decided to take a leap and enrol in a Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising at North Metropolitan TAFE. Juggling full-time study with being mum to her daughter, Keira said she has not looked back and is living her dream daily, with the opportunity to explore her creative side and the routine of study giving her the strength to manage her time and provide balance in her life.
Most importantly, studying the course has sparked her creative side that was always there but needed to be developed and nurtured.
Keira says that connection to creativity has been life changing, and she can now see a future where she can work in an industry that she loves, and has all the skills needed to develop a satisfying and challenging career.
Sterling Winmar, Orelia
Losing his father at the age of 13, Sterling did not know what he wanted to do with his life, but had the mental push to make his dad proud. Making the most of every opportunity that came his way, he jumped at the chance to take up an apprenticeship through South Metropolitan TAFE and the National Energy Technician Training Scheme (NETTS), completing a Certificate III in Engineering - Industrial Electrician.
His journey in the oil and gas sector has given him valuable life skills as well as experience in a thriving sector. Sterling has been a strong ambassador and role model, assisting younger apprentices and promoting the NETTS program by public speaking at schools.
WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2021 finalists
Courtney Short, Ellenbrook
Preparing meals with and for her family has always brought great joy to Courtney, so it seemed a natural fit to pursue her love of cooking at the age of 15, commencing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery.
Successfully juggling her school work at Mercy College with an apprenticeship through North Metropolitan TAFE, Courtney says the knowledge and skills she has already developed by working alongside chefs at Pan Pacific Hotel (through Hospitality Group Training) are essential for working in the industry.
Now aged 17, Courtney is well on her way to achieving her dream of becoming a chef and she is so pleased she followed a VET pathway.
Taj Morris, Glenfield
Working as a waiter in his nan and pop's family restaurant gave Taj his first taste of the hospitality industry. With his mother and two uncles all chefs, cooking is in his blood, so it was an easy choice for Taj to do a school-based apprenticeship, taking on a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Geraldton's Central Regional TAFE.
Taj says with a chef qualification he knows he will have many future employment opportunities and feels that the chance to learn practical industry skills while still studying at Nagle Catholic College has prepared him well.
Samantha Winter, Lower Chittering
In Year 10 and unsure of what career pathway to pursue, Samantha heard about the Certificate II in Government through the Public Sector Commission's school-based traineeship. Seeing it as a great opportunity, Samantha started the traineeship through Aspire Performance Training.
Juggling Year 12 at Bullsbrook College three days a week, a large portion of Samantha's training is done on the job at Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
Samantha sees it as a major head start in the workforce, broadening her knowledge, making connections and gaining independence and confidence.
WA Cultural Diversity Training Award 2021 finalists
Marli Nicholls, Carlisle
With knowledge and experience already gained from her home country Brazil, Marli knew that the language barrier was the only thing in her way when relocating to Perth with her Australian husband and their children.
Marli decided to take English classes to start her new life here, enrolling in Certificate IV EAL (English as an Additional Language) at South Metropolitan TAFE, to help her work, connect with people, make new friends and participate in the local community and her children's school.
Marli says her course has offered her so much more than language skills, gaining self-confidence, time management, teamwork, problem-solving and leadership skills.
Agnes Toluwade, Leeming
Migrating from Nigeria in 2015, the first time Agnes heard about the suicide of a teenager on the news, she was jolted. Determined to take action and contribute to her new home country, Agnes decided to study a Certificate IV in Mental Health and be part of the solution for a mentally healthy Australia.
The course at North Metropolitan TAFE has helped her understand the many issues that impact on mental health and the ways to support people's recovery.
Agnes has crossed several barriers to pursue her study and hopes that others in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities will see that studying at TAFE offers many opportunities.
WA International Student of the Year 2021 finalists
Johanna Faber, Yokine
Johanna has always been passionate about travelling, so when she came to Australia from Germany in 2017 and fell in love with the country, she decided she wanted a career in travel and tourism.
By studying in a different country, Johanna felt it would offer her the opportunity of experiencing travel and tourism first-hand, taking part in a different culture and learning a new language while completing her course - a Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management at North Metropolitan TAFE.
Studying allowed Johanna to gain confidence in communicating in English while learning the many facets of the industry, and she was able to land a job as a travel consultant. While COVID-19 forced the closure of the office, it has not deterred Johanna from working in the industry.
Shalynn Buss, Lathlain
Back in Canada in 2014, Shalynn was studying Business Administration to become a lawyer. During her studies she took an introduction to events elective course, which sparked her love of creating something out of nothing that brought people together. Fast forward to July 2020, she finally took the plunge into formalising her passion, starting a Diploma of Event Management through South Metropolitan TAFE.
Experience has shown Shalynn she learns best in vocational settings, continually challenging herself and demonstrating her skills and abilities in real-world scenarios, which lead to winning South Metropolitan TAFE's International Student of the Year 2020.
Shalynn has been putting her industry knowledge into practice, working for a small wedding and event business, and she hopes to one day own her own wedding planning business.
Aurelie Jammes, Scarborough
With a Masters degree in Events, Tourism and Hospitality and experience working around the world, French native Aurelie was employed at a winery in the Swan Valley when she realised she enjoyed in-house events. When COVID-19 hit she did not let losing her job get in the way, taking the opportunity to enhance her knowledge about this part of the industry by starting a Diploma of Event Management at South Metropolitan TAFE.
Aurelie says it was the best decision she ever made, now working as a hotel event operations supervisor. Aurelie is also an ambassador for Go Study, sharing her challenges and achievements as in international student in Australia.
WA Trainer of the Year 2021 finalists
Brendan Hibbert, Midland, North Metropolitan TAFE
With more than 15 years of lecturing experience with the graphic design department at North Metropolitan TAFE, Brendan has seen many changes over the years, but none had to be responded to as rapidly as the first COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. Brendan was able to quickly pivot to an online learning environment, forming part of a dynamic team managing the switch from face-to-face classes to an online format with minimal disruption.
Brendan has a focus on linking TAFE to the graphic design industry, engaging with commercial and non-profit clients for students to work with to improve their employment readiness. He is always championing the cause for students and the industry, giving up his own time to be active with many programs, competitions, exhibitions and associations.
Maryke Gray, Tarcoola Beach, Central Regional TAFE
Maryke is passionate about ensuring students have the same opportunities to receive quality training and assessment, no matter where they live. A trainer in Conservation and Land Management, Horticulture and Aboriginal Ranger Programs at Central Regional TAFE, Maryke delivers the full range of qualifications from Certificate I to Diploma, utilising live work projects, some of which involve working at the Abrolhos Islands and remote Aboriginal communities throughout the Mid-West and Gascoyne.
Maryke uses various methods to connect students from remote locations to live class sessions with students in Geraldton, and recognises that classroom-based training is not for all, delivering the Aboriginal Ranger training programs entirely on country.
With more than 20 years of experience in managing conservation projects, Maryke is committed to education for all to conserve our environment for the future.
Tarryn Drage, Cloverdale, WiseClick Training
Tarryn has come full circle at WiseClick Training, a small private registered training organisation, completing a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping in 2014, and is now employed as training co-ordinator.
Tarryn prides herself on providing one-on-one support to her bookkeeping and accounting students, and she is constantly improving to ensure she caters to different learning styles.
When the challenges of 2020 hit with shutdowns due to COVID-19, quick thinking and flexibility was paramount to keeping students engaged and continuing with their studies, with Tarryn implementing Zoom classes within one week and ensuring the small RTO could keep running.
Robert Carter, Narrogin, South Regional TAFE
As a qualified teacher with a background in the shearing and wool industry, Robert attributes his student-centred and industry-focused training delivery as the reason why his courses are so highly sought after, with potential students booking 12 months in advance.
Under his leadership, the shearing and wool classing training delivery has developed into the largest study area at South Regional TAFE's Narrogin campus.
Lecturing in the VET sector for 15 years to wool harvesting students across the State, Robert says a challenge he had to overcome was the reluctance in the industry to release workers for days at a time to undergo training, compelling him to develop highly flexible and customised training, incorporating feedback from employers and regulators.
WA Large Training Provider of the Year 2021 finalists
North Metropolitan TAFE
North Metropolitan TAFE (NM TAFE), Western Australia's largest publicly funded TAFE college, has 10 campuses across the central, greater north and north eastern metropolitan regions of Perth. The college offers more than 400 training products ranging from Certificate I to Advanced Diploma qualifications, including skill sets and short courses.
NM TAFE focuses on delivering quality training and assessment services to students, industry and community while streamlining business practices to ensure sustainability.
A focus on accessible, flexible, contemporary, industry-relevant training provides students with a variety of learning pathways and skills to secure the jobs of the future.
North Regional TAFE
North Regional TAFE (NR TAFE) is the largest provider of training and vocational services in the north of Western Australia, providing education and employment services to thousands of people over 11 campuses.
NR TAFE delivers more than 200 nationally recognised qualifications, skill sets, work-readiness programs and short courses in over 25 industry areas, focusing on the vital practical and theoretical skills employers seek.
A priority for the college is to deliver a student experience that is seamless and inclusive, accommodating the needs of all student cohorts including Aboriginal students, those from a range of cultural backgrounds, special needs and at-risk students.
South Metropolitan TAFE
South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) is a leading provider of future skills in Western Australia, with 12 campuses stretching from the inner metropolitan region down to the Peel region.
SM TAFE provides students with the training to engage in economies of today and tomorrow by offering innovative vocational education and training pathways. In 2020, the college delivered training to over 25,000 students, with courses ranging from foundation skills in literacy and numeracy, to advanced diplomas in cyber security and an array of trades apprenticeships. The college is a trusted industry partner for trades training and workforce development with over 8,000 apprentices.
WA Small Training Provider of the Year 2021 finalists
Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services RTO
Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS) delivers high-quality VET training in the Kimberley region. The vision of KAMS is to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the region.
The Registered Training Organisation was established in 1983 to offer the community a local option to study Aboriginal Health Work. Today, the organisation provides Certificate III and IV qualifications in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care as well as the Certificate IV in Mental Health.
The organisation's mission is to ensure it is managed by Kimberley Aboriginal people, is locally and nationally recognised as an effective advocate for the Kimberley Aboriginal health sector, and provides and supports the provision of effective holistic and culturally appropriate primary health care services for Kimberley Aboriginal people.
Niche Education Group
Niche Education, formally known as the Australasian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science (AACDS), was established in 2003 to meet the education and training needs of the cosmetic medical and dermal therapy professions.
The college has developed new and innovative accredited qualifications to address the absence of formal training in the cosmetic medical/aesthetics field and to bridge the gap between traditional beauty services and advanced dermal therapy techniques.
Niche delivers the first and only accredited course in Cosmetic Nursing in the country, a testament to the contribution the organisation has made to innovative training on a national scale.
Auswest Specialist Education and Training Services
Auswest Specialist Education and Training Services (ASETS) delivers and facilitates comprehensive training across 14 of Western Australia's public prisons and three work camps.
Staffed by teachers and trainers who genuinely care, ASETS creates safe spaces in prisons for learners to build their skills and capabilities for further VET and work opportunities. The organisation focuses on the development of capabilities in literacy, numeracy and ICT, and brokers ongoing VET provision so students continue their learning or pursue work opportunities on release.
By engaging prisoners in education and training, Auswest helps them rebuild their lives, affecting intergenerational impact as they take their learning and skills back to their families and communities, making those families and communities safer.
WA Large Employer of the Year 2021 finalists
McDonald's Australia WA
McDonald's is one of Australia's largest employers and trainers across regional and metropolitan areas.
Employing over 100,000 people in Australia, McDonald's invests over $40 million every year in employee training and development, equating to approximately $8 million in Western Australia. The company views training and development as an investment, not a cost. As an RTO, McDonald's recognises and rewards employees by offering a range of nationally recognised qualifications at no cost to the students.
McDonald's currently has over 580 students actively enrolled in a traineeship in Western Australia, with 296 completions in 2020.
Byrnecut Australia specialises in hard rock, underground contract mining. Operating within Australia and internationally for over 33 years, the company strives to develop its people to be able to work efficiently, effectively and safely. Byrnecut is committed to a culture of learning and is a leading force in the delivery of innovative and progressive training programs.
The company immerses trainees into an active learning environment, mentored by experienced qualified operators. Currently at 12 sites throughout Western Australia, Byrnecut have 647 trainees and 150 apprentices employed in training programs.
WA Medium Employer of the Year 2021 finalists
Ranger Exploration Drilling is a family-owned company providing reverse circulation and diamond, exploration, and grade control drilling for the mining industry in the Pilbara, Mid-West and Goldfields regions.
Established in 2005, Ranger has recently celebrated 15 years of operation. During this time the company has grown from a single rig and crew of six staff, to 22 rigs and over 180 employees.
Ranger is focused on developing its people through increasing training and competency. This has resulted in a pool of well trained and experienced employees, enabling sustainable future growth.
Consolidated Group is a Civil Earth Works and Plant Hire Services company that has been resourcing the mining, government, transport, and construction sectors since 2013. The company's focus on training, upskilling and ongoing mentoring of staff has enabled it to reach new goals and extend the bar on what it can achieve.
Continued success and growth has led the company to partner with a local Registered Training Organisation (RTO) to establish its own training department to skill its entire workforce in-house. The company is committed to constantly improving the capability of its employees, many of whom are from under-represented groups.
Consolidated Group prefer to develop skills from within, and seek to find people with the right attitude, work ethic, resilience and personal skills to succeed.