WA Training Awards 2020 finalists announced!

Showcasing the best in WA's vocational education and training.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery announced the 16 finalists for the 2020 WA Training Awards on Wednesday 16 September. This year, winners are recognised across five individual categories. These are:

  • WA Apprentice of the Year;
  • WA School-based Apprentice of the Year;
  • WA Trainee of the Year;
  • WA Vocational Student of the Year; and
  • WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year.

The WA Training Awards, the state's premier training award program, is possible thanks to continuing support from Apprenticeship Support Australia, AMA Apprenticeship and Traineeship Services, College of Electrical Training, Crown Perth, The Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, MEGT, Roy Hill, StudyPerth and the Training Accreditation Council.

“The WA Training Awards are an opportunity to shine a light on the many wonderful accomplishments in vocational education and training in the State." the Minister said. “The calibre of finalist this year highlights the outstanding achievements of the State’s best VET graduates. With VET playing a vital role in the rebuilding of Western Australia’s economy, there is no better time to showcase individual talent and set the benchmark for the future of WA.”

Congratulations to all of this year's finalists! 

Winners will be announced on 6 October 2020 and may be eligible to compete against the nation’s best at the Australian Training Awards on 20 November 2020.

WATA 2020 logo

WA Apprentice of the Year 2020 finalists

Bethany Clarke (Mount Pleasant)
Bethany entered her apprenticeship through the National Energy Technician Training Scheme, the first of its kind in Australia and the outcome of an amazing collaboration involving multiple different oil and gas companies. She achieved her Certificate III in Process Plant Operations through apprenticeship arrangements with Programmed. Bethany believes that being a female in a male-dominated industry pushed her to become a more confident version of herself, and is passionate about advocating for more women in the industry.

David Millington (Yangebup)
As he approached his thirties, David found himself having gained a variety of experience at multiple workplaces yet lacking any formal qualifications. He set his sights on qualifying as an electrician but found an apprenticeship was not easy to come by. After two years of interviews, he finally landed a mature-age apprenticeship with Austal and qualified four years later as an electrician, completing his Certificate III in Electrotechnology through South Metropolitan TAFE. He went on to win his employer’s Apprentice of the Year Award as well and his message to others is the importance of goal setting and resilience in the face of adversity.

Elizabeth Klokeid (East Victoria Park)
For Elizabeth, food has always been her passion but with a career background in the disability sector, she did not see her love for cooking as a career pathway until her sister bought a cocktail bar in Melbourne and she had the opportunity to run the small kitchen full time. She returned to Perth and enrolled at South Metropolitan TAFE Bentley campus. Having successfully applied for Crown’s Apprenticeship program, she qualified in March as a chef. Elizabeth believes that food creates a strong sense of community and has a universal ability to bring people together. By completing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, Elizabeth now has the chance to share that vision working at Crown Perth Modo Mio.

WATA 2020 Apprentice of the year finalists

WA Trainee of the Year 2020 finalists

Audrey Wong (Perth)
A decision to change careers in 2015 led to Audrey relocating to WA to complete a self-funded Certificate II in Process Plant Operations at the Australian Centre for Energy Process Training (ACEPT) through South Metropolitan TAFE. As a volunteer firefighter, Audrey has always been happier with a hands-on approach, and after meeting a female production technician who inspired her, she gave up her studies in architecture and made the leap to a new career pathway. Audrey thinks one of the most valuable things she has learned is how a team can work together and achieve success.

Cheyne Pearce (Ardross)
Cheyne chose to study a Certificate IV in Horticulture at North Metropolitan TAFE in order to fulfil his passion to make a positive difference to our environment. His hard work and resolve eventually paid off with the offer of a dream job as a trainee at Kings Park and Botanic Gardens. Cheyne loves the variety in the work – from liaising with clients, designing gardens, and calculating costings, to report writing and computer skills. He has found that as his training has progressed, so too has his appetite for knowledge and experience.

Cassandra Rowan (Geraldton)
Leaving school at 15, Cassandra knew she had to jump straight into the workforce and build herself a career she would enjoy. Despite some early setbacks, she pursued her interests by completing a Certificate III in Resource Processing at Central Regional TAFE, bettering her skills so she was well equipped to face new challenges. As a plant operator at Iluka Resources’ Narngulu site, she used her drive to expand her knowledge, reputation and excellence to progress quickly and received a recognition award for her initiative, problem solving and teamwork. She later went on to win Central Regional TAFE’s Trainee of the Year 2019 for the Midwest and Gascoyne.

WATA 2020 Trainee of the Year 2020

WA Vocational Student of the Year 2020 finalists

Trent Caldwell (Ballajura)
With a background in community services, advertising, and art, Trent wanted to blend the skills learnt from these industries and embark on a journey to land his dream role in marketing. After successfully completing a Diploma of Marketing and Communication at North Metropolitan TAFE, Trent has landed his dream role as a Social Media Manager. He manages the website, social media accounts and paid advertising campaigns for Near Me Real Estate. After his successful past 18 months, Trent advocates one simple message - study with TAFE!

Chantelle Un (Kununurra)
Chantelle knows just how far she has come on her training journey. Coming from a background where school or learning was not encouraged, opting out of education seemed like the only option. After leaving school in year 9, she doubted her ability to study and almost gave it all up on her first day at North Regional TAFE. Her intrinsic motivation to be a good role model for her children, and have a job where she could help others, pushed her to complete a Certificate III in Community Services and to achieve her goal of bettering her community.

Georgia Potts (Kalgoorlie)
Georgia was inspired to work in education support, having been diagnosed with dyslexia at age eight. Despite the challenges dyslexia presents, she loved learning and undertook a Certificate IV in Education Support at Central Regional TAFE. Now working at a primary school in Kalgoorlie, Georgia says that the most rewarding part of her job is knowing she is helping to set students up with a positive start to their educational journey.

Eleanor Litterick (Furnissdale)
Inspired by her grandmother, who is an incredible seamstress and costume maker, Eleanor taught herself to sew, making clothes and costumes for friends and family. After taking a break to raise her daughter, she decided to take a leap of faith and pursue her passion by completing an Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising. Eleanor says the course at South Metropolitan TAFE taught her more than just practical skills, saying she learnt how to manage herself and her expectations, and have faith in her abilities. She also discovered a passion for sustainability in design through her studies, and has made this the focus of her future career.

WATA 2020 Vocational Student finalists

WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year 2020 finalists

Philemon Pearson (South Hedland)
Philemon is from Poruma (Coconut) Island in the Torres Strait. He moved to Australia with his partner and children with the goal of securing a trade. He started an apprenticeship as a boilermaker a year after leaving secondary school, but was also playing professional rugby at the same time. He was told by his coach to make his apprenticeship his number one priority but did not listen and dropped out of his apprenticeship with one year left to go. Nine years later, he finally took his coach’s advice and enrolled at North Regional TAFE to complete a Certificate II in Engineering, whilst undertaking a traineeship at BHP as a Trainee Mechanical Fitter.

Colleen Little (Wanneroo)
Colleen loves cars and has always been interested in the automotive field, so when the opportunity arose to complete a traineeship through AMA Training Services at Motor Trade Association of Western Australia (MTA WA), she leapt at the chance. Coming from a large indigenous family, her traineeship allowed her to balance work and study responsibilities, with her family commitments. The Certificate III in Business allowed her to gain both on-the-job administrative experience, and knowledge of the automotive industry. She is now employed full time with MTA WA and her role allows her to help the next generation of tradespeople to commence their own careers.

Jayden Ugle (Heathridge)
A turning point in Jayden’s life was when he became a father at age 17. This life altering event was motivation to establish a long-term career, in order to secure steady employment for himself, his son and his family. Jayden undertook a Certificate III in Civil Construction through Carey Training, and enjoys seeing the fruits of his labour all around Perth. He now works at Downer Group/DM Roads and says it’s a great feeling driving past something and being able to say, ‘I constructed that, or I worked on that’.

WATA 2020 WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2020 finalists

Jesse Booker (Mukinbudin)
Jesse chose work experience in the building and construction industry on the recommendation of his principal, who recognised he would benefit from practical work experience alongside his formal school studies. During his Certificate II in Construction Pathways at Central Regional TAFE, Jesse very quickly discovered that he enjoyed the work, and took pride in being able to finish a job for a client and reflect on what he had accomplished. Jesse hopes to inspire other students who may struggle with certain areas in school, to become a school-based trainee.

Piper Sweet (Dianella)
Piper was really unsure about what she wanted to do after school and applied for a school-based traineeship in the public sector. She hoped it would get her a foot in the door to somewhere that offered a range of career options. A Certificate II in Government Administration also felt more suited to her decision to take an ATAR pathway in Year 11 and 12. Apart from her on the job success, Piper was proud to be asked to present to the next year's group of trainees at their orientation, and achieved her personal goal of being able to publicly speak. Combined with her politics and law, and Italian studies at school, she now has a clearer idea of what she would like to do with her career, and hopes it will be in government or politics.

Joel Pearson (Geraldton)
The arts industry is something which Joel has always been deeply passionate about, so after years of circus, dance and volunteering at events, he started up his own circus entertainment company. A year of work placement encouraged Joel to further his training through a Certificate III in Arts Administration at North Regional TAFE, which resulted in being selected to complete a Tour Coordinator Mentorship with regional arts industry leader, CircuitWest. A highlight of Joel’s career so far was his first solo project in late 2019, working with the City of Greater Geraldton to provide a performance project titled Geraldton's Worst Artist at the local event, Christmas on the Terrace, which was attended by thousands.

WATA 2020 School based Apprentice finalists