Celebrating the brightest stars in WA training!

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery celebrated the training sector’s brightest stars at the 2021 WA Training Awards at Crown Perth last Friday evening, announcing eight individuals and four organisations as winners.

Now in its 27th year; the WA Training Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of apprentices, trainees, employers and training organisations, with individual winners receiving $3,000 which they may use to further their training or kick-start their career. The four organisation winners, including North Metropolitan TAFE named as WA Large Training Provider of the Year 2021, will be recognised as industry leaders.

“The WA Training Awards are the State’s premier training awards, showcasing excellence in the VET sector. " the Minister said. “I congratulate all of the 2021 winners for their incredible dedication to their respective fields, and for being remarkable ambassadors for the Western Australian training sector. “

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 may go on to represent Western Australia at the Australian Training Awards in November. You can find out more about the WA Training Awards on their website.

Meet the 2021 award winners

WA Apprentice of the Year: Christian Ferrone
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 registered training organisation 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: Amber Ugle-Hayward
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.

WA Vocational Student of the Year: Zoe Tucker
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 hasn’t 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: Kevin Wilson
Growing up as a Wongai man from the Goldfields region, Kevin has had an interest in art for as long as he can remember. As an adult he decided to follow 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.

WA School-based Apprentice of the Year: Courtney Short
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 schoolwork 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 is so pleased she followed a VET pathway.

WA Cultural Diversity Training Award: Agnes Toluwade
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: Johanna Faber
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 was able to land a job as a travel consultant. While COVID-19 forced the closure of the office, it hasn’t deterred Johanna from working in the industry.

WA Trainer of the Year: Maryke Gray
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.

WA Large Training Provider of the Year 2021: North Metropolitan TAFE
North Metropolitan TAFE (NM TAFE), Western Australia’s largest publicly funded TAFE college, has ten 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.

WA Small Training Provider of the Year 2021: 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.

WA Large Employer of the Year: 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 invest 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 a registered training organisation, McDonald’s recognises and rewards employees by offering a range of nationally recognised qualifications at no cost to the students. McDonald’s currently have over 580 students actively enrolled in a traineeship in WA, with 296 completions in 2020.

WA Medium Employer of the Year 2021: Consolidated Group
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 lead the company to partner with a local registered training organisation 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.

View the full media statement here