Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Hon Sue Ellery BA MLC

Minister for Education and Training

    Spotlight on WA's Training Awards finalists

    11/08/2022 8:00 AM
    • Thirty exceptional individuals and 13 organisations named as finalists in WA Training Awards 2022
    • Awards showcasing excellence in the vocational education and training sector
    • Applications up by 23 per cent following recent surge in training enrolments
    • Winners to be announced at award ceremony in September

    Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery today announced the finalists for the 2022 WA Training Awards.


    The awards highlight outstanding individuals and training organisations that demonstrate exceptional work, excellence or innovation in the vocational education and training (VET) sector.


    As well as the recognition these respected awards bring, individual winners each receive $3,000 that can be used to further their training or kick-start their career. The organisation winners will be recognised as industry leaders.


    This year, 43 finalists were selected from a total of 118 entries across 13 award categories. Applications were up 23 per cent from last year, with regional applications also recording an increase, accounting for a quarter of the total applications.


    The increase in applications follows a major increase in enrolments in government-funded VET courses across 2021, when WA achieved a record number of student enrolments of more than 150,000. This year, an unprecedented 10,000 apprenticeship and traineeship contracts were registered in just three months.


    The McGowan Government has invested more than $320 million in making training more accessible and keeping training affordable for all Western Australians.


    This year's awards finalists showcase the diversity of people who are accessing training opportunities in WA.


    The 2022 WA Training Awards are made possible thanks to continuing support from the State Training Board, MEGT, Apprenticeship Support Australia powered by CCIWA, Construction Training Fund, the Electrical and Communications Association of Western Australia, Maxima and the Training Accreditation Council WA.


    Winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony on 21 September 2022, and could go on to win the national title at the Australian Training Awards in Adelaide in November 2022. 


    Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:


    "The WA Training Awards are the pinnacle of excellence in our VET sector, celebrating the outstanding achievements of both individuals and organisations.


    "We have never experienced a more exciting time for Western Australia's training sector, thanks to the McGowan Government's ongoing commitment to accessible training for all.


    "This year's list of finalists showcases the diversity of people accessing training opportunities in WA, including increased applications from Aboriginal people across all categories, and more female participation in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.


    "This is evidence of how our commitment to making training accessible for every Western Australian is supporting people from under-represented groups to participate in training and the workforce.


    "Congratulations to all of the 2022 awards finalists on their success. They are fantastic ambassadors for Western Australia's training system."


    Minister's office - 6552 5700


    WA Apprentice of the Year 2022 finalists


    Josh Fraser, Bullsbrook


    With a love of speedway, and having grown up surrounded by excavators, Josh knew he wanted to work on heavy machinery, which led him to pursue his goal to work in the mining industry.


    He completed his Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology at South Metropolitan TAFE, and completed his apprenticeship with his dream employer, Komatsu.


    He credits his time there for the life-changing experience that has inspired him to mentor apprentices in similar situations, encouraging them to reach for their goals.


    Megan Hazelden, Pinjarra


    Growing up on a farm watching her parents work on machinery, Megan knew she wanted to become a mechanic.


    Now completing a Certificate III in Engineering, she is well on her way to reaching her goal of becoming a Mechanical Fitter at Wagerup Refinery.


    Throughout her apprenticeship, Megan has had the opportunity to represent women in the industry, presenting at schools and student career nights about career opportunities.


    Winning South Metropolitan TAFE's Apprentice of the Year 2021 gave her the confidence to encourage women to apply for an apprenticeship in mechanical fitting.


    Dylan Kent, Heathridge


    Dylan always knew the Certificate III in Electrotechnology at South Metropolitan TAFE would be challenging, yet rewarding.


    He was one of the three apprentices chosen out of 1,000 candidates to complete his apprenticeship with Komatsu, winning their Apprentice of the Year twice. He was also given the opportunity to present in Sydney at their National Awards.


    He is now a qualified High Voltage Electrician with the company and has taken on a leadership role mentoring other apprentices.


    Jake Lee, Mount Claremont


    After sampling different trades through his school's 'Try a Trade' program, Jake settled on the opportunities offered through the Certificate III in Plumbing and Gas Fitting with MPA Skills.

    His thirst for knowledge prompted his employer Wilcox and Co Plumbing to describe him as a "lifelong learner" with a "growth mindset".


    In the face of adversity, including a significant back injury, Jake is striving to develop his leadership skills using his own experiences to assist apprentices to safely and efficiently complete tasks.


    WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2022 finalists


    Isabella Amey, Success


    At the end of Year 10, Isabella knew she wanted to pursue a career in Nursing and was thrilled to learn about a school-based traineeship being offered at her school.


    She's since completed a Certificate II in Business, Certificate III in Health Service Assistance and is now studying a Certificate III in Business (Medical) and a Certificate IV in Preparation for Nursing.


    Isabella is the first Head Girl to be appointed from a Vocational Pathway Program at her school.


    Desiree Baxter, Cloverdale


    Desiree has a love of sports, is the School House Captain at Belmont City College, coaches students in an out of school and is working towards becoming a sports teacher in the future.


    So, the Certificate III in Sport and Recreation delivered by North Metropolitan TAFE was a natural fit for her when deciding on a future career pathway.


    With the school-based traineeship, Desiree has been able to work at Belmont Oasis, become a qualified lifeguard and swimming instructor, and acquire her First Aid and CPR Certificates.


    Khesharna Lee, South Hedland


    As a problem solver and creative thinker, it was only natural that Khesharna from Hedland Senior High School chose an engineering pathway.


    She is currently completing a Certificate II in Engineering hosted by BHP and delivered through North Regional TAFE and Programmed Training Services.


    Khesharna is the only female to follow a mining industry training pathway in her intake, and has been described as a strong young leader with the courage to step up and challenge any adversities in the workplace.


    Sophia Pitaro, Kardinya


    Driven to gain as much experience as she can while attending high school, Sophia has already completed Certificates in Events Management, Tourism and Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways.


    Now embarking on a traineeship through North Metropolitan TAFE, Sophia is completing a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation and has completed qualifications including her First Aid, Lifeguard and CPR Certificates while gaining on-the-job experience with BlueFit - Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre.


    WA Trainee of the Year 2022 finalists


    Tenaya Ewings, Northam


    Tenaya seized the opportunity to complete a two-year Pilbara-based traineeship offered through Apprenticeships Support Australia and Iron Training and Consulting. She is now employed by BHP, and is gaining hands-on experience while completing practical components of a Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure.


    Now in her second year, Tenaya is doing what she loves, working outdoors, and says the traineeship has not only provided her with a career path within BHP's rail network, but also life skills.


    Zoe Gillard, Nedlands


    It was Zoe's father's military background that was the driving influence behind her passion for a career in the maritime industry.


    Through the Certificate III in Defence Industry Pathways Program, she is undertaking work placement at BAE Systems Australia and gaining practical experience as well as building up a network of industry contacts.


    Zoe says being awarded South Metropolitan TAFE's Trainee of the Year for 2021 was the affirmation she needed to understand that success can be found by taking an alternative route.


    Emily Prickett, Hilbert


    Discovering that university-style education was not for her, Emily enrolled in a traineeship at the Australian College of Training to study a Certificate III in Business, as it offered her the opportunity to receive practical on-the-job training while working full-time.


    Emily describes the traineeship as an incredible experience where she has been able to grow personally and professionally, while gaining confidence. She says it has given her the skills she needs to be confident in herself and her abilities.


    Brittany-Leigh Wragg, Mandurah


    Being one of the first students to study a Certificate III in Defence Industry Pathways Program, Brittany cites the unwavering support from the team at South Metropolitan TAFE and Programmed Training Services that helped her feel confident about her chosen career pathway in a male-dominated industry.


    Brittany-Leigh has sampled different job roles while undertaking work placement rotations and gained real-life experience, all while building up a network of industry contacts. She hopes to begin an apprenticeship in defence on completion of her traineeship.


    WA Vocational Student of the Year 2022 finalists


    Caitlin Bezuidenhout, Chidlow


    Inspired after visiting her nanna at an aged-care facility, nine-year-old Caitlin was determined to make a positive change in the industry.


    Still at school, Caitlin is completing her Certificate IV in Preparation for Health and Nursing studies through Health Science Hub and her Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) through Australian Medical Association WA.


    Through her work placement with Baptistcare, Caitlin has been able to gain hands-on experience and is passionate about creating positive energy in her workplace.


    Corrie Ramsay, Singleton


    For Corrie, the COVID-19 pandemic meant that her 11-year career in aviation management would come to an abrupt halt.


    She completed a Diploma in Pilates, but after her horse needed intense physiotherapy, Corrie felt inspired to complete the Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance (Physiotherapy) at North Metropolitan TAFE. 


    She says the additional skills and understanding have been extremely valuable. She is now employed by a community-based therapy provider and has also continued her role as a Pilates instructor.


    Naomi Rigby, Maddington


    After working in hospitality for 17 years Naomi wanted a career change and enrolled in a Diploma of Community Services at South Metropolitan TAFE.


    Having received support as a young person, her passion to help others inspired her career transition and she now actively advocates for underrepresented groups. 


    Now working as a Student Support Coordinator at Thornlie Senior High School, she intends to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment so she can mentor and support future support workers. 


    Christopher Smithall, Leschenault


    After gaining a leadership role in the Operational Services team at Synergy's Muja Power Station, Christopher realised there was further opportunity to upskill and improve his technical, leadership and team skills.


    He enrolled in a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management at South Regional TAFE and a Diploma in Process Plant Technology at South Metropolitan TAFE, which have provided him with the skills to support Synergy's Workforce Transition, as well as the technical knowledge that will further support his move into a management role.


    WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year 2022 finalists


    Courtney Charles, South Hedland


    After high school, Courtney - a proud Banyjima, Nyul Nyul and Yindjibarnbi woman - was not ready to move to Perth for university. Instead, she applied for an Administration Traineeship with BHP through North Regional TAFE, and is completing a Certificate III in Business.


    Courtney has worked on encouraging diversity in the workplace and assisted with the WA Iron Ore (WAIO) NAIDOC Awards Night. Her goal is to secure a position as a Crew Development Officer through ongoing training with BHP.


    Jye Graham, Australind


    Bouncing between industries and trialling FIFO, Jye wanted to return to his home town of Bunbury to support his family.


    With a trade in mind, he secured a plumbing apprenticeship through Programmed and South Regional TAFE. Jye has since excelled, receiving numerous awards and recognition for his part in educating colleagues on how to effectively communicate with Indigenous employees.


    Jye hopes to become an industry mentor to others. He says with a goal and hard work, anything is possible.


    Lieshia Green, Balcatta


    As a Noongar woman, Lieshia has always been passionate about helping others, particularly First Nations young people, which led her to study a Certificate IV in Education Support - Aboriginal Islander Education Officer (AIEO) through North Metropolitan TAFE.


    Working with students, families and communities is Lieshia's passion. She strives to be a good mentor and role model and is continuously upskilling. 


    Balancing parenting, work commitments and studying has been challenging but Liesha's can-do attitude has enabled her to achieve her goals.


    Wayne Ryder, Byford


    From school captain to captain of his football team, Wayne has paved the way for Aboriginal men walking a similar journey. One of his proudest achievements was creating the Waakal Moort Kaadadjiny Festival, a health and wellbeing festival for at-risk Aboriginal people.


    Wayne began working for Palmerston Association as a Community Aboriginal Worker, supporting individuals affected by drugs and alcohol following his lived experience. He later won a scholarship to study a Diploma of Leadership and Management with the Australian Institute of Management.


    WA Cultural Diversity Training Award 2022 finalists


    Thanh Cong Luu, Wattle Grove


    Thanh moved to Australia from Vietnam four years ago and loves the work-life balance Perth offers. Armed with experience in oil and gas projects, he wanted to increase his technical understanding and chose to enrol in a pre-apprenticeship.


    Thanh has now completed a Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade at North Metropolitan TAFE and is currently working towards his Certificate IV.


    He has been able to implement his new learnings on the job through rotations to maximise his exposure in all fields of the business.

    Dilrukshi Muthuthanthrige, Walpole


    After working as a teacher for 10 years in Sri Lanka, Dilrukshi and her family made the move to Walpole. She decided to continue her passion for working with children, completing a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and is now working towards her Diploma at South Regional TAFE.


    Dilrukshi looks forward to making a difference in how a child approaches learning for life and hopes to encourage positive outcomes in children's health, wellbeing and education.


    Feng Yang, Nedlands


    A birthday wish from Feng's daughter for better lunches to take to school changed Feng's life, and began his journey into a new and exciting career. After moving to Australia from China and wanting to make his daughter proud while learning more about nutrition, Feng enrolled in a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at South Metropolitan TAFE.


    Aside from mastering different cuisines, Feng's communication skills have improved, his daughter's lunch box is the most popular at school and Feng is working towards his goal of becoming a chef.


    WA International Student of the Year 2022 finalists


    Yu-Chien (Eva) Cho, Cannington


    It was the interactive learning environment in the training restaurant at South Metropolitan TAFE that captured Eva's attention and cemented her decision to study a Diploma of Hospitality Management.


    Eva's career pathway started in Taiwan, but since moving to Perth, she has completed a Diploma and is now studying towards the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management.


    Eva says her oral and written communication skills have improved immensely and she has gained an appreciation of working with students from other cultures.


    Sophie Giraud, Shoalwater


    Sophie always felt like something was missing in her previous career in France and wanted to fulfil her passion for art through her work. Five years ago, she moved to Perth to begin building a career in the design industry.


    Sophie has since completed a Diploma of Interior Design at North Metropolitan TAFE and has begun studying for the Advanced Diploma.


    Sophie is happy to be fulfilling her creative dreams and making people smile through her work.


    Lea Krebs, East Perth


    Lea says the VET sector gave her the career path she was looking for. She chose to study abroad in Perth over her native Germany to further develop her career and education. 


    Through advice offered by the Jobs and Skills Centre, Lea studied a Certificate IV in Business and is working towards her Diploma of Business at North Metropolitan TAFE.


    Working as a receptionist and administration assistant, Lea wants to encourage others to consider career development in Australia, by sharing her experience and the value of studying internationally.


    WA Trainer of the Year 2022 finalists


    Robert Carter, Narrogin, South Regional TAFE, Narrogin Campus


    With 26 years of experience in the agricultural industry, including 22 as an employer, Robert Carter has also been bringing his experience to the VET sector for the past 16 years, with a focus on flexible delivery.


    Now an Advanced Skills Lecturer based at the Narrogin campus of South Regional TAFE, Robert delivers wool harvesting qualifications State-wide and has been instrumental in developing training resources for the Australian wool industry, working in close cooperation with peak industry bodies at State and national levels.


    Stephen Delaney, Bibra Lake, MPA Skills


    For 20 years, Stephen has delivered training to his students with a pastoral and holistic approach. He readily participates in training to upskill, as well as adapting and improving his teaching style to navigate modern-day challenges.


    At MPA Skills Painting and Plumbing, Stephen's passion is training pre-apprentices which he says is "challenging and rewarding" but where he can make the biggest impact. 


    He is also a professional artist and is studying a Diploma in Art Therapy, to further support at-risk students.


    Sharleen Jordan, Spencers Brook, Central Regional TAFE, Northam Campus


    As an advanced female lecturer in local government training, Sharleen is committed to delivering outcomes for her students. In a male-dominated field, Sharleen's 26 years of training has directly increased the number of female rangers now employed.


    Based at Central Regional TAFE, her students learn from Sharleen's wealth of knowledge of local government practices. 


    Awarded the Ambassador Award for 'Outstanding Service as an Ambassador of the WA Rangers Association', Sharleen has also provided input on policy papers relating to puppy farming practices. 


    Tania O'Dea, Success, Marr Mooditj Training


    Having a natural ability to connect with people's emotional wellbeing is what led Tania to working in counselling.


    Having thrived while working in community services, she soon realised her skillset as an educator and went on to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.


    Now a dedicated VET trainer at Marr Mooditj, Tania has created and delivers the Diploma of Mental Health and Diploma of Counselling and assisted in the development of the Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs.  


    WA Large Employer of the Year 2022 finalists




    Byrnecut is one of the world's leading underground contract miners with over 3,800 employees. Byrnecut's training programs undergo continuous improvement, with input from experienced operators and management to ensure quality learning opportunities.


    With 21 per cent of employees undertaking a traineeship or apprenticeship within WA, Byrnecut are committed to world-class training and development, individualised learning plans, unlimited support and access to thousands of resources and networks to set employees up for successful, long-term careers with the company.


    Electricity Generation and Retail Corporation, T/A Synergy


    Muja Power station is the oldest power station in WA, supplying electricity from the South-West to Kalbarri and Kalgoorlie, and is transitioning away from coal.


    Synergy adopted a people-first, co-creation approach in implementing its 'Workforce Transition Plan'. Underpinned by innovative high-quality training, reskilling and upskilling programs for its 270 employees and 100 contractors affected by the closures, it includes 74 transition training programs, delivered by more than 20 RTOs, with over 260 enrolments and 115 graduates.


    WA Small Employer of the Year 2022 finalists


    Consolidated Group


    Consolidated Group (CG) is a group of companies whose core business is wet and dry hire of small plant, civil work projects, mining, transport, mechanical servicing and training. The company's vision is 'to train to retain' and diversify employees along with the business.


    In 2019, East Kimberly Civil, an Indigenous owned-and-operated business, became part of Consolidated. The joint venture has a mandate to deliver support and provide opportunities to Indigenous people throughout WA.


    Matera Electrical


    Starting with just four staff, Matera Electrical has grown to over 90 employees, aiming for excellence in safety standards and high-quality work within the construction and oil and gas industries.


    With roughly 80 per cent of employees actively engaged in training, and spending on average 200 hours per month in training, the company is committed to a team-focused approach, fostering positive change and prioritising communication and training to ensure staff are fully engaged and equipped for superior results.


    WA Industry Collaboration Award 2022 finalists


    Defence Industry Pathways Program (South Metropolitan TAFE)


    The Defence Industries Pathway Program was developed with multiple stakeholders in response to increasing demand for workers in WA's shipbuilding industry, and a critical need to attract and train talent.


    The 12-month program provides graduates with a broad understanding of the maritime defence industry and exposure to the various career pathways. With a pilot for up to 120 trainees, the program currently has 25 maritime defence industry host employers and 81 trainees have commenced to date.


    Making Tracks (Department of Justice)         


    Making Tracks is a collaborative industry training and employment network of partnerships for prisoners across WA to ensure VET delivery within prisons is relevant and appropriate to the needs of both the prisoners engaged in training and the businesses that go on to employ them.


    Through collaboration with employers in key industries, the program reduces the stigma ex-prisoners face when seeking employment, while meeting the needs of the labour market, contributing to the economy and reducing reoffending.


    NETTS - National Energy Technician Training Scheme (Programmed)


    The National Energy Technician Training Scheme (NETTS) is a collaboration bringing together the leading players in the energy sector with peak training bodies to prevent a skills shortage.


    The NETTS model was designed to use innovative educational approaches, increase community engagement and lower training costs. Potential candidates are targeted at school-leaver stage using a pre-recruitment strategy with representatives visiting schools and ATSI academies to raise awareness of the program and employment opportunities.


    Small Training Provider of the Year 2022 finalists


    Future Institute of Australia


    Future Institute specialises in leadership, management, business, sales and soft-skills training, with a focus on improving its clients' organisational performance by developing their workforces' capabilities.


    Future Institute works to provide the right solution, customising and contextualising each training program to meet their clients' needs from development through to post-program evaluation. This ensures meaningful training for the individuals and that the client can build an increasingly skilled workforce ensuring consistency across their organisation.


    Taylorweir International School of Hairdressing


    Taylorweir International School of Hairdressing (Taylorweir) is the longest established private hairdressing RTO in WA. The training delivery focuses on a client-driven approach, ensuring that students achieve their best outcomes with support from their employers and the outstanding teaching skills of the organisation's trainers.


    With over 480 enrolled students, Taylorweir's 25-year journey continues to be one of learning, growth and change which has allowed it to maintain its position as the leader of hairdressing and barbering education in Australia.


    WA College of Agriculture Cunderdin


    The WA College of Agriculture, Cunderdin has a long-standing reputation for achieving exceptional VET outcomes through developing highly skilled and employable graduates, delivering training between a commercial farm and state-of-the-art Trade Training Centre.


    With a long-standing history and reputation of exceptional student achievement and success for all students of all abilities and backgrounds, the college's mission is to "provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge, skills and values within the context of rural industries".


    Large Training Provider of the Year 2022 finalists


    Central Regional TAFE


    Central Regional TAFE has campuses encompassing the Mid-West, Gascoyne, Goldfields and Wheatbelt regions of WA. With multiple regional locations, Central Regional TAFE services an area of almost 1.5 million square kilometres with a population reaching 150,000 people, and enrols approximately 10,000 students each year.


    Leading delivery in industries like Maritime and Aquaculture, Laboratory Operations, local government, Resources and Infrastructure and Nursing, Central Regional TAFE continues to place students, industry partners and strong links with community and Aboriginal people at the forefront of activities.


    LabTech Training


    Established in Perth in 2005, LabTech Training is a private registered training organisation specialising in laboratory operations and pathology collection (phlebotomy) training.


    LabTech Training delivers bespoke training for metropolitan and regional workplaces, and at the training centre for individual students. Programs are designed with close industry consultation to best equip graduates with relevant skills and knowledge for employment - whether they are bringing updated expertise to an existing employer, or embarking on a new career path.


    South Metropolitan TAFE


    South Metropolitan TAFE is one of WA's most diverse training providers. The college offers more than 340 qualifications, from foundation courses to apprenticeships and traineeships, to advanced diplomas and skill sets. The college is dedicated to working collaboratively with industry, ensuring their partnerships support economic and community development.


    With 12 campuses throughout the southern corridor, including major campuses in Bentley, Carlisle, Fremantle, Murdoch, Rockingham, Thornlie and Mandurah, South Metropolitan TAFE has more than 28,000 students across their Perth campuses, as well as offshore students in a number of countries.