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2015 Award Winners

Winners of the 2015 Tasmanian Training Awards were announced at a special presentation dinner on Friday, 28 August at Wrest Point Conference Centre:


Apprentice of the Year

Joshua Dales

Certificate III in Electrotechnology

Training Provider: TasTAFE

Employer: Access Solutions, Kingston  

In 2011, after completing a year of a building apprenticeship, Josh decided to change trades. He began his electrical apprenticeship with Access Solutions and studied for his Certificate III in Electrotechnology at TasTAFE. Josh was inspired by the critical and analytical thinking which tradesmen at Access Solutions displayed and was keen to be a part of a multi-faceted company that was challenging and dynamic and provided room for him to express his own creativity.

Josh believes that his apprenticeship benefitted from a training package that consisted of theory and hands-on training, and gave him a greater appreciation for the intricacy required for many projects. Josh is passionate about bringing back more of a master craftsman mindset in the trades sector and believes there is an opportunity in Australia to produce trades people who are leading the pack on a global scale.


Trainee of the Year

Katherine Masson

Diploma of Dental Technology

Training Provider: RMIT

Employer: NECA Education and Careers
Host employer: Oral Health Services Tasmania, Department of Health and Human Services, Launceston  

Katherine had previously worked as a dental nurse and became interested in furthering her career opportunities in the dental field and jumped at the chance to begin a Diploma of Dental Technology at RMIT, while being employed at tastec group training (now NECA Education and Careers). Combining work and study with her personal and home responsibilities were often challenging as she had to regularly travel to RMIT in Melbourne. Notwithstanding, Katherine excelled at her studies. 

Her on-the-job skills and efforts were held in high regard by staff and management at host employer Oral Health Services in Launceston. So much so that when Katherine completed her Diploma she was retained by Oral Health as a technician and is a valued member of the team. Katherine is now mentoring and assisting trainees within her department.

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Aboriginal Student of the Year

Brendan Murray

Training Provider: TasTAFE

Employer: Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Burnie

Brendan completed Certificate IV in Youth Work with TasTAFE and is employed as a youth worker at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in Burnie where he works with Aboriginal youth across the north west coast. As a product of the foster care system growing up, Brendan wanted to help Aboriginal children get the best out of life. His positive attitude and focus on overcoming life's hurdles helped forge his way into a meaningful career where he can apply his experience to help others. Brendan is also a strong and vocal supporter of second chance learning through TasTAFE if a community person has not done well at school, or where literacy and numeracy is an issue.

Brendan is a highly motivated individual who has a great passion for working with youth. He goes above and beyond his work role to support the young people who attend the centre, or who have been referred.

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Tanya Langdon

Finalist Aboriginal Student of the Year

The Aboriginal Student of the Year Award judging panel was tremendously impressed with this year's candidates and whilst there could only be one winner, recognised Tanya Langdon for her strong commitment to her Community, her study achievements and outstanding dedication to her family spanning five generations. A Certificate of Commendation was awarded to Tanya.

[photo Tanya Langdon with Robin Banks.]

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Vocational Student of the Year

Nicole Pace

Certificate IV in Business

Training Provider: Learning Partners

Employer: Hydro Tasmania, Hobart

Nicole enrolled in Certificate IV in Business with Learning Partners, based on development discussions with her line manager at Hydro Tasmania. The business qualification was chosen as it was seen as beneficial to Nicole's current role as training officer in the Learning and Development team. The L &D team is part of Human Resources and the qualification will help prepare Nicole for future positions, such as HR Officer, within the organisation. Completing the Certificate IV in Business has inspired Nicole to remain open to further study and given her increased confidence in her abilities. She is currently undertaking Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Nicole's philosophy is that learning only stops when you choose to let it stop and the importance of VET in opening up possibilities beyond the qualification, including higher education studies, is endless.

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School-based Trainee of the Year

Samantha Masih

Hellyer College

Certificate III in Hospitality

Training Provider: Workforce Development

Employer: Annie's Place – The Wynyard Hotel

Sammy is a year 12 student at Hellyer College where she is completing a School-based Traineeship, Certificate III in Hospitality. She is also studying Certificate II in Tourism and Certificate II in Business.

In year 11 Sammy travelled to Hobart to do work placement at MONA. As a result of this she is employed on a casual basis for MONA's major events such as Dark MOFO, and the MONA Festival. Sammy also had work placement at a major tourism forum where she gained valuable knowledge about businesses and tourism in the north west of the state.

Undertaking the School-based Traineeship, and combining it with her studies, has cemented Sammy's career desire to work in the dynamic tourism and hospitality industry. Sammy's employer at Annie's Place in Wynyard is extremely proud of her, and her achievements, and maintains her strong work ethic combined with her studies will give her a great start in her chosen career.

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VET in Schools Student of the Year

Nicholas Bonnitcha

Certificate II in Engineering

The Hutchins School in partnership with Guilford Young College and TasTAFE

Nicholas is a year 11 student at The Hutchins School. In 2014 Nicholas participated in a design and metal course at school and soon realised that his choice of course was a possible pathway towards a nationally recognised qualification. Nicholas made sure he was first on the list to study VET Certificate II in Engineering in year 11, in partnership with Guilford Young College.

He was to complete six units and then finish the course in year 12. Within the first six months Nicholas had completed the units and approached his teacher with a view to completing the course while still in year 11. Nicholas is also working towards completing his full Certificate II in Engineering this year at TasTAFE, finding it challenging and rewarding.

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VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year

Stephen Lunn

Stephen's cooking career spans over 30 years and he feels very fortunate to find himself employed in an environment where the focus is on the students.

Stephen is employed at Guildford Young College in the capacity of VET Hospitality Teacher, along with other reaching roles which include Cooking Essentials and Food and Beverage Service. He works at both the Hobart and Glenorchy campuses which provide him with a great diversity of not only student dynamics, but also the organisational challenges this presents. Stephen enjoys honest, positive and healthy relationships with his VET students. He sets the bar high and models for them the rewards of attention to detail, the benefits of planning and working hard as part of a team.

As well as his teaching role, Stephen works with MONA, assisting with MOFO and Dark MOFO. He was also part of the 'Taste of Australia' which brought to the state 250 of the world's leading chefs and food critics.

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Equity Vocational Student of the Year

Benjamin Sweet

Certificate II in Security Operations

Training Provider: Avidity Training & Development

Employer: SPT Security

Benjamin had a long term ambition to become a security officer, but, after leaving school early and having his first child at 17, could not see it becoming a reality.

In 2012 he met the team from Launceston's Avidity Training who encouraged him to undertake Certificate I in Work Preparation and Certificate I in Business. Finally, with the help of Avidity and Uniting Care, Ben began studying Certificate II in Security Operations, leading to a full time position with SPT Security.

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Small Employer of the Year

Health Revival Longford

In the country town of Longford Tasmania you will find Health Revival Longford (formerly known as the Northern Midlands Sports Centre).

In July 2013, Health Revival Longford took over the Longford Sports Centre, with just 32 active members and 20 hours of paid staffing per week. Today we boast over 500 members that we have maintained since December 2014 and our services continue to expand and grow.

We have trained and created a team of staff who are superstars in their field. With 22 Fitness Classes per week, nine Group Exercise Instructors with a multitude of specialisations including Boxing, Pilates, Zumba ®, Elderly, Working with Children, Pre/Post Natal, etc.). Each week, our three Qualified Personal Trainers book over 60 hours in client sessions! We have 25 Fitness Students including three Trainees. Our small regional centre is the hub of education in fitness and health never seen before in Tasmania.

[photo Leah Coker-Williams with Michael Bailey, TCCI]

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Employer of the Year

Vantage Group

Vantage Group is made up of two distinct businesses: Vantage Group Hotels and 9/11 Retail Liquor. Our 353 employees range in age from 17-72 and are diverse in age, gender and ability; from students to those balancing family commitments to those wanting a career in hospitality. We have a culture of training and developing employees which is supported at all levels of the business.

Training and workforce development is an integral part of the Vantage Group strategy and competitive advantage. As an Employer of Choice all our development is designed to create hospitality and retail liquor professionals. This is why every single Vantage employee participates in development, underpinned by the philosophy of "grow – coach – lead". Vantage Group has a purposeful approach to skills development and we know our development is having an impact because the top reason customers cite for coming back to our venues is "friendly, knowledgeable staff".

[photo Suellen Taylor with Michael Bailey, TCCI.]

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Small Training Provider of the Year

MEGT Institute

MEGT (Australia) Ltd (MEGT) is a not-for-profit employment, education and training company, operating since 1982. MEGT Institute (Tasmania) is a registered training organisation with a reputation for quality, service and innovation. The passion and drive of skilled and knowledgeable Tasmanian staff are the key to working in partnership with employers and students to achieve strong, tailored outcomes.

MEGT Institute specialises in workplace delivery, collaborating with employers to tailor training to meet current and future business objectives. Training delivery encompasses non accredited and accredited short courses, full qualifications and skill sets utilising a range of delivery modes across business, hospitality, disability services and retail training packages, from Certificate II to Diploma level.

A range of unique tailored equity programs, specifically designed for students with intellectual/learning disabilities, mental health experiences and young homeless women, are creating life changing opportunities.

[photo Sarah Burnett and Nicole Gayewski with Minister Matthew Groom.]

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Large Training Provider of the Year


TasTAFE is the largest registered training organisation in Tasmania, and is proud to deliver more than 370 nationally accredited and industry-endorsed qualifications from Certificate I to Advanced Diploma level, to short courses and prevocational programs.

We provide education and training to just under 30,000 students. TasTAFE is Tasmania's largest provider of training for apprentices and trainees and we have built strong relationships with business and industry. As well as delivering training at our 13 campuses, we also offer workplace training to business and industry and deliver training programs nationally and internationally in countries including China, Kuwait and the Philippines.

Our range of qualifications and short courses are developed together with our industry partners and are designed to meet current and future industry needs. This means that on completing a TasTAFE qualification, students are equipped with skills that are currently in demand within their chosen field.

TasTAFE's business model is constantly adapting to respond to the needs of individuals and industry. Our workforce is committed to providing excellence in all areas of training and assessment.

[photo Stephen Conway with Minister Matthew Groom.]

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Industry Collaboration Award

Clennett's Mitre 10

with Whitelion Incorporated and MEGT Institute

Clennett's Mitre 10 owns three hardware stores in Mornington, Kingston and Huonville and is dedicated to being your first choice in lifestyle home improvement and building solutions.

Our Retail Trainee Program offers Certificate II in Retail traineeships in partnership with Whitelion and MEGT to those who are generally under-represented in workplaces. It is targeted at those who are often disadvantaged by their lack of experience as a by-product of their youth and/or by their disconnection from their community and society in general through intergenerational unemployment, little or low education success, a lack of positive role models in their lives, underlying mental health issues and/or relationships with youth justice or out of home systems. Our Program is designed to give young people the tools to create a better future for themselves and their families, support our local communities, and grow our business by creating our next generation of leaders.

[photo Sarah Burnett (MEGT Institute), Alice Knight (Whitelion), Michelle Howells and Ken Pierce (Clennett's Mitre 10).]

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Equity Award for an Employer

The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel

The Old Woolstore Apartment Hotel is a multi-award winning property which has been operating since 1997. Employing 130 people, it is Hobart's largest independent hotel. From its inception a culture based around egalitarianism has been very apparent at the business. This has resulted in a diverse and inclusive workplace where all employees are highly valued and seen as important contributors to the hotel's success.

[photo Lizzie Hinchen and Marcelle St Leger, with Phillip Mussared, Chair TTAC.]

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The Trevor Leo Medal

Michelle Harwood

The Trevor Leo Medal is awarded for outstanding contribution to vocational education and training over a sustained period.

This year's recipient, Michelle Harwood, had previously worked for the Tasmanian Food Industry Training Board and the National Food Industry Training Council before joining TransTrain, a registered training organisation based in Devonport offering services to the transport, logistics and associated industries.
That was in 1992 and Michelle is now a Director and Operations Manager for TransTrain, and in 2014 received the National Transport Insurance Award for the most valued contribution to the Tasmanian Transport Industry.

Michelle is a member of the Tasmanian VET Expert Reference Panel, the Tasmanian Transport and Logistics Advisory Group, the Tasmanian Transport Association and the Tasmanian VET Practitioners' Network.

Michelle is the first recipient of the Trevor Leo Medal to come from a private training organisation.

[photo Trevor Leo with Michelle Harwood.]

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The Lance Barnard Memorial Award

Nathan Marshall

Hannah Clear

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. Lance Barnard was Founding Chair of Northern Group Training Ltd and Group Training Australia Tasmania and the award recognises his commitment to the development of the group training movement in Australia.

This year an apprentice and a trainee were honoured with this award. Nathan Marshall, an Engineer from Devonport and Hannah Clear, a Sport and Recreation graduate from Old Beach.

[photo Nathan Marshall and Hannah Clear with Joanna Orr.]

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