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2014 Award Winners

The winners of the Tasmanian Training Awards were announced at a special presentation dinner at Wrest Point on Friday, 5 September 2014.



Apprentice of the Year

Richard Wilkinson

Certificate III in Carpentry

Training Provider: Learning Partners

Employer: Perry and Perry Builders, Hobart 

Richard obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Design in 2005 and in 2007 a Bachelor of Architecture with Honours, from the University of Tasmania. He accepted an invitation to become a member of 'The Golden Key' which is awarded to the top 15% of graduates.

On completion of his studies Richard was offered a position with a prestigious architecture firm in Western Australia where he worked for three years as a graduate architect. It was while working for the company, Troppo Architects, that he was exposed to all facets of building, including Indigenous housing, residential housing and commercial buildings. During this time Richard worked with teams of tradesmen and local communities constructing and upgrading Indigenous and staff housing throughout the remote outback of Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, an experience he considers a privilege.

It was while working with the tradesmen that Richard realised how important it was to proficiently understand the trades. His early interest in carpentry, which began at secondary school, was heightened by this experience. Richard also began to realise that his real passion was being involved in the building and application of the plans as opposed to the drawing of them. In 2011 Richard returned to Tasmania and commenced a mature-age apprenticeship, Certificate III in Carpentry, with training provider Learning Partners, at Perry & Perry Builders in Hobart. Now that he has completed his qualification Richard is keen to continue his studies with a Certificate IV in Building. 



Trainee of the Year      

Caitlyn Webb

Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation

Training Provider: The Training & Business Company

Employer: Work & Training Ltd at host employer MacKillop Catholic College, Mornington

Caitlyn completed her Certificate III in Outdoor Recreation with The Training & Business Company in December 2013 and she is the Outdoor Education Trainee at MacKillop Catholic College which is a co-educational years 7-10 Catholic school. Although she mainly works with years 9-10 students Caitlyn gets the opportunity to work with all the students at various stages throughout the school year. In her role Caitlyn assists with the preparation and delivery of the Outdoor Education program as well as assisting the Sports Co-ordinator in the administering, organising and running of sports carnivals and sports teams.

As both departments are very busy Caitlyn's time is very much in demand and she has to deal with a multitude of tasks and deadlines. She has become a respected member of MacKillop Catholic College for her ability to not only calmly and efficiently complete these tasks to a very high standard, but also to use remarkable initiative to anticipate further tasks and reduce the workload of teaching staff.

Caitlyn loves being part of the dynamic outdoor recreation industry and is currently studying for the Certificate IV qualification and, once completed, she will commence her Bachelor of Outdoor Education. Caitlyn maintains that the Outdoor Recreation traineeship is a great stepping stone in the career path of an outdoor educator.



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Christopher Medcraft

Certificate IV in Mental Health

Training Provider: TasTAFE

Employer: The Richmond Fellowship, Ulverstone

At the beginning of 2010 Christopher was working as a paper machine operator and team leader at the Wesley Vale site for Australian Paper when he, and many others, were made redundant. After 32 on the job Chris had a lot of thinking to do and many decisions to make about his future. His passion then and now is to assist others. He enrolled in and completed Certificate IV in Community Services Work at the Tasmanian Polytechnic. Before he had finished his course he was employed weekends at Anglicare working with children with Asperger syndrome. Once his course finished he was often called upon to work six days a week. From mid-2011 Christopher has worked for the Richmond Fellowship Tasmania on the NW coast. In the mental health sector there is an increasing need for qualifications and skills development and he has been supported and encouraged to study by his employers.

Over the last two years Christopher has been studying on and off-the-job for his Certificate IV in Mental Health with TasTAFE. His education and training has led him to broaden his thinking and change his values. It has taught him to have a greater understanding of other people's journeys and the resilience required to assist others work towards a better quality of life. It has also helped Christopher to deal with the stresses of his own life combining work, study, family, community commitments and sport.



Vocational Student of the Year  

Alison Rogers

Diploma of Business

Training Provider: Jenard Training & Personnel

Employer: Self-employed Pulse Business Services Pty Ltd

Alison's enrolment in a Diploma of Business with Jenard Training & Personnel was brought about through her company's membership of the Kingborough Community Enterprise Centre, Southern Tasmania's leading facilitator of small and medium business enterprise development. She is the Executive Advisor at Pulse Business Services, where she oversees the sales, marketing and business advisory divisions. As a lifelong learner, Alison saw an opportunity to review, fine tune, increase knowledge and gain a formal qualification in business to enhance the service she provides.

As a mother of three Alison has a strong passion for empowering young people to grow and reach their potential. A past president of the local School Association, today Alison's focus lies in involvement on the advisory board in Tasmania for Whitelion Inc, a national not-for-profit organisation committed to mentoring, educating and finding employment solutions for young people who have become disconnected.

Learning for Alison is an essential part of life in order to grow and continue to remain relevant and add value to those around her. Alison is a convenor of regular business events and is active in a number of business groups. She will be an effective ambassador for training to the business community and the community at large through her extensive network, strong communication and leadership skills and her authentic approach to guiding others to reach their optimal potential.



VET in Schools Student of the Year       

Kassi-May Boatwright

Certificate III in Business

Claremont College 

Kassi-May is a year 13 student at Claremont College, combining a Certificate III in Business with her academic studies. She is also undertaking a unit at the University of Tasmania's Conservatorium of Music.

Kassi-May believes that combining a VET course with her secondary studies will help her reach her goal of working in events management across a variety of both profit and not-for-profit organisations.

As mother of a young son, she is also an active advocate for teen mothers.



School-Based Apprentice of the Year   

Bradley Fairlie

Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

Hobart College

Training Provider: TasTAFE

Employer: Lund Electrical, North Hobart / Comstar Systems, Hobart 

Brad is enrolled in Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician at TasTAFE. As well as learning a lot about electrotechnology, he is also honing his business skills, which he hopes will eventually lead him to running his own company.

For Brad being successful in obtaining a school-based apprenticeship was a great achievement as there are only a few in this trade area, and he proactively searched for one. The school-based apprenticeship has allowed Brad to continue his year 11 and 12 schooling at Hobart College, provided funding for a basic tool kit and allowed him to get into the industry and build up his experience. Brad's experience on the job and his growing level of customer service has been invaluable and it means so much to be able to have a job, be learning skills of the trade and also finish school.

Brad has received a Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, in part for his role assisting school children with learning difficulties. He has played soccer for over ten years and also a refereed for Football Tasmania.



VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year

Carmen Gumley

Avidity Training and Development, Launceston

Carmen is recognised as having made a significant contribution to VET activity in the Equity Sector. Her insightful ability and tenacity in engaging learners has, and continues to make, a real difference in their lives.

Carmen is responsible for the development and implementation of Avidity Training & Development's Access and Equity Program. She is keenly aware of the cohort's needs as her background is inclusive of working intensely with pregnant young parents (PYPS) through Uniting Care. As such, Carmen was instrumental in introducing the On Our Patch Program (initiated through the Smith Family); something that she extended and integrated into Avidity's Equity Program after the Smith Family decided to discontinue. The need for the program was demonstrated; making it sustainable and building on it, has been her challenge.

Carmen has exceptional interpersonal communication skills and commitment to this sector of activity has afforded her the opportunity to develop a rich network of willing partners for the program. Effectively developing, sustaining and growing links with community partners has been critical to accessing those who may not ordinarily consider undertaking training. As Carmen states "partnerships within the support services sector are critical when seeking to help the hard-to-reach learners lake the journey less bumpy and more likely to succeed'.



Equity Apprentice/Trainee of the Year

Elise Romaszko

Certificate II in Business

Training Provider: MEGT Institute

Employer: MEGT (Australia)

When Elise was in year 9 it was her dream to work in an office. At college she did courses which linked that in with work experience placements. In year 11 Elise achieved Certificate I in Workplace Skills and in year 12, Certificate I in Business. When she left college Elise imagined her future working in an office as part of a team. Unfortunately, when she enrolled in a Certificate II in Business course she found the experience stressful and frustrating as the teachers could not, or did not know how to, include Elise in classroom activities.

Elise was attending literacy and numeracy programs run by Cosmos when she and her parents were invited to a meeting with MEGT (Australia) and Ability Tasmania, an employment agency for people with disability. Elise began work for MEGT one morning a week and as her confidence and skills grew she took on more responsibilities. In 2013 Elise was offered a Certificate II in Business traineeship with MEGT and she feels she has now fulfilled her dream to have a real job in an office where she is part of a team and making a real contribution.



Equity Vocational Student of the Year

Caitlyn Bishop

Certificates I and II in Business

Training Provider: Avidity Training & Development

Caitlyn left school in year 10 as she found life a struggle not just in the school environment but also in her home life. As she wasn't working or studying Caitlyn had to meet with a Job Service Agency. Here she encountered a very positive case worker who suggested she attend the VET Steps program with Avidity Training and Development. Although concerned about re-entering a classroom Caitlyn found it was just a small group, all of whom made her feel very comfortable. With the encouragement and support of her trainer Caitlyn completed Certificate I in Business and enrolled in Certificate II. At the same time they prepared a Career Action Plan. Caitlyn found the course gave her the focus and confidence to '…get out there and make it happen'. She went on to study Certificate II in Community Services at TasTAFE and this year is continuing with the Certificate III qualification.

Training with Avidity made a real difference in Caitlyn's life and she has been invited to share her experience at a stakeholders meeting of the National VET Equity Advisory Committee, and to make recommendations about Equity Training.

Caitlyn's immediate goal is to complete the Certificate III in Community Services, gain employment and eventually become a child protection worker.


Organisation Awards


Small Employer of the Year       

Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary

Bonorong is a sanctuary for Tasmanian wildlife situated just half an hour by car from the Hobart city centre. The sanctuary provides a place of temporary refuge for injured and orphaned animals as well as a permanent home for animals unable to survive on their own in the wild.  Bonorong feels that continued training is essential for staff to stay engaged and at the forefront of the field. 

Bonorong created two nationally-recognised training programs in partnership with TasTAFE. These programs, Certificates II and III in Animal studies, are offered onsite at Bonorong through a full-year, part-time classroom-based course. Certificate II was introduced in 2012 and Certificate III in 2013, since when almost 100 people have successfully graduated and obtained the qualifications or are on the way to doing so this year. The Certificate II course is also offered as a 10-week internship. These qualifications provide the basis for employment in the animal care industry and set students on a path for their future careers.

Pictured, l-r: TCCI Board Director Richard Lowrie, Bianca Burford, Grace Heathcote and Greg Irons, Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth.  



Large Employer of the Year

Vantage Group

The Vantage Hotel Group (Vantage Group) is one of the businesses within Mulawa Holdings (Federal Group). Vantage Group operates across Tasmania through 11 community-based hotels and the 9/11 Bottleshop retail liquor chain of 15 stores. Vantage Group's 375+ employees, ranging in age from 16-71, are diverse in nature – from students to those balancing family commitments. The organisation offers great opportunities to those wanting a career in hospitality or retail liquor.  They have a culture of training and developing employees which is supported at all levels of the business and they want training outcomes to be sustainable and have value to their frontline staff as well as their customers. Their key ethos is to “meet the customer where they’re at”.

Skills development is seen as a lever to facilitate economic growth within the business through increased performance and productivity. Because of their training programs Vantage Group has seen their turnover rate drop dramatically in the past 24 months to industry–best practice levels of below 30% (benchmark is 40.3%) and revenue increase by as much as 6%.

As well as developing workplace coaches from within the business to be able to deliver programs, Vantage Group uses technology to facilitate online learning to counteract the difficulties of having geographically dispersed properties.

Pictured, l-r: TCCI Board Director Richard Lowrie, Suellen Taylor and Prue Horne, Vantage Group with Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth. 



Small Training Provider of the Year

Seafood Training Tasmania

Seafood Training Tasmania is industry owned not-for-profit award winning RTO providing a wide range of training services to the Australian seafood and maritime industries.

They have 28 permanent and casual staff administering and delivering over 12 qualifications. Although Hobart based they deliver in many remote locations using both classroom and enterprise facilities to provide the best possible access to their vastly diverse clientele.

The organisation's trainers are just as comfortable on a fish barge as a classroom. Holding qualifications from trade to doctorates they ensure that their vocational competence is paramount in meeting their clients' needs.

Their delivery ranges from Certificate I to Diploma. They have partnerships with schools, Trade Training Centres and tertiary institutions but their most important relationships are within their industry. They are not just bolted on to, but built in to, their major clients' business operations.

Pictured, l-r: Rory Byrne, Manager Seafood Training Tasmania with Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth.



Large Training Provider of the Year


Formed in 2013, TasTAFE is a new single entity for Tasmania's public vocational education and training sector. Using the combined resources of the Tasmanian Polytechnic and Skills Institute, TasTAFE us the largest registered training organisation (RTO) in the state and one of the 10 largest RTOs in Australia.

Owned by the Tasmanian Government, TasTAFE operates under the auspices of its own legislative functions and powers and is governed by an independent Statutory Board.

TasTAFE operates 14 campuses across Tasmania and is well placed to provide economic and social benefits through the provision of accredited, vocationally based qualifications and skill sets. Clients include people already engaged in the workforce, those preparing to enter the workforce and employers who work with TasTAFE to meet their workforce development needs.

Teaching and learning is TasTAFE's core business and the organisation's aspiration is to develop and deliver excellence in all aspects of training and assessment. Their business model is constantly adapting to ensure that the skills needs of individuals and industry and the capability of its staff provide this high level of excellence.

Pictured, l-r: Stephen Conway, CEO TasTAFE and Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth.


Industry Collaboration Award

Business Action Learning Tasmania

Business Action Learning Tasmania (BALT) is collaboration between local industry, the Action Learning Institute and the Department of State Growth.

BALT supports self-reliant industry development with local companies cooperating to improve their profitability, develop their people, and grow the Tasmanian economy.

BALT is built upon three pillars:
•   Collaborative action learning.
•   Nationally recognised qualifications.
•   Real business improvement.

Action learning is a natural way for adults to learn where groups of people with diverse experience form to undertake practical projects to achieve positive business and personal development outcomes.

Achieving nationally recognised qualifications entirely by action learning is possibly a world first.

All projects have delivered significant business improvements through:
•   Efficiency improvements by utilising lean tools.
•   Workplace cultural change driven by the participants’ new skills and learnings.
•   Growth opportunities from the BALT network. 

Collaborating companies “pay forward” to the program by providing substantial training and facilitation resources.

Pictured, l-r: Bob Cother of The Action Learning Institute, Andrew Thompson, ACL Bearing Co., Bill Woodworth, Bell Bay Aluminium, Matthew Groom, Minister for State Growth and Tony Gleeson, Australian Institute of Management.

Lance Barnard Memorial Award

Elise Jolly

The Lance Barnard Memorial Award is presented to an apprentice or trainee employed in Tasmania under group training arrangements.  The award is specifically given for encouragement and recognition of potential.  It is presented by the Association of Group Training Companies in Tasmania in recognition of the contribution and service to the group training movement by the Honourable Lance Barnard AO, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Founding Chair of Northern Group Training Ltd and Group Training Australia Tasmania. The award recognises particularly Lance Barnard’s commitment to the development of the group training movement in Australia.

The 2014 recipient of this award is Elise Jolly who studied for her Certificate III in Business at MEGT Institute and is employed by MEGT (Australia) Ltd at host employer Glenview Community Services

In 2012 Elise undertook a Certificate II in Business at Guilford Young College and her first work placement was at Glenview Community Services (Glenview). The organisation was impressed with Elise and offered her a school-based traineeship where she worked in the organisation's reception area. After completing Year 12, Elise began a full-time traineeship with MEGT (Australia), delighted to still be with Glenview as her host employer.  Completing her certificate has also opened exciting opportunities for Elise – she has been offered a full-time position in administration with Glenview, which she has accepted.


The Trevor Leo Medal


2009 saw the introduction of a new honour presented at the Tasmanian Training Awards - The Trevor Leo Medal. The Trevor Leo Medal is awarded to organisations or individuals who have made outstanding contributions to vocational education and training over a sustained period.  The medal is named in honour of Trevor Leo who made an enormous contribution to Australia’s education and training sector for over 50 years.

The 2014 recipients are Paul Roberts-Thomson and Malcolm White.


Paul Roberts-Thomson

Our first recipient graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (with honours) nearly 40 years ago. Since then he has spent a great deal of his time ‘giving back’ to the community. Starting as a part-time teacher at the North West College of TAFE in 1978, he was later a member of the College Council for four years. This included 18 months as Deputy Chairman.

In the same four year period, he chaired the Agricultural Education Committee, and from 1991, again for four years, sat on the TAFE Farm Management Committee. For a time, he also held the post of Deputy Chairman of this committee. From 1995, our medallist represented floriculture on the Amenity Horticulture Training Board. This continued till 1998 when he moved to TAFE Tasmania as a director, which included a stint as acting Chairman.

For two years he was a Skills Tasmania Board director, and chaired that Board’s Service Provider Committee. Still finding time to ‘have a life’ and earn a living, as Van Diemen Quality Bulbs, he is a successful flower bulb farmer with a thriving wholesale and retail domestic and export business, based in Wynyard.

Pictured l-r: Trevor Leo and Paul Roberts-Thomson.


Malcolm White

Also with an impressive 40 year background is our second Trevor Leo Medal recipient. With an eye to life-long learning, he earned his first certificate in 1973, later a teaching certificate, then a Graduate Diploma of Management from Deakin University, and, in 2000, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tasmania.

He also holds an Airline Transport Pilot Licence, which I believe is a first for a Trevor Leo medallist.

Following five years as an Engineering teacher at the Launceston Institute of TAFE, he spent some time in the private sector before returning to TAFE Tasmania in 1998. This following a stint as President of the Launceston Institute of TAFE Council. From 1998, our medallist was General Manager, later Chief Executive Officer of TAFE Tasmania, then the Tasmanian Skills Institute, and currently TasTAFE. I’m not sure what they call themselves this week.

Adding to his value in the training system, he collects directorships. He was a director of Business North, later the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Telecommunications Management Division, and today – of course – TasTAFE, as well as the Royal Flying Doctor Service Australia, being Chairman of the Board.

Pictured l-r: Trevor Leo and Malcolm White.