Australian Training Awards 2017

Victoria a national leader in vocational education and training.

A Year 12 business administration student from Mildura and a young enterprising farmer from Wimmera are among Victoria’s winners at the Australian Training Awards. 

Bethany Simpson and Dustin Cross both excelled in school-based training programs to be named Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year and Trainee of the Year respectively.

School-based traineeship reveals a passion for business

Bethany Simpson, 17, was working part time at her parents’ business, the Boulevard Motor Inn, in Mildura when a customer from Sunraysia Mallee Group Training (SMGT) suggested that she should try the School-based Apprenticeship and Traineeship (SBAT) program.

SBAT is an apprenticeship or traineeship undertaken by a student enrolled in a senior secondary program (VCE or VCAL), with at least one day per week timetabled to be spent on the job or in training during the normal school week. 

Before enrolling in Year 11 at Mildura Senior College, Bethany started a Certificate III in Business Administration with training provider Murray Mallee Training Company.

After excelling in VCE Business Management thanks to her SBAT experience, Bethany was accepted into the La Trobe VCE Plus program. She now studies a business degree part time at La Trobe University while completing Year 12.

She is strong advocate of the SBAT program.

‘SBATs provide an avenue to explore a potential career path, a recognised qualification, a source of income, skills and an opportunity to try something to see if it’s your passion or interest,’ Bethany says.

‘I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do after school but, after commencing my SBAT, I found my passion for business. I learned things that could be applied to any workplace.’

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Dustin’s training pathway to the farm gate

At 16, Dustin Cross learned to shear sheep as part of his school-based traineeship with Longerenong College in Year 11. The aspiring farmer used his skills to start up his own mobile shearing business on weekends, catering to hobby farmers.

Dustin’s school-based traineeship turned into a full-time traineeship with farm owners Janmac Pastoral Company, while studying his Certificate IV in Agriculture with Longerenong College.

He is now studying an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness Management and plans to take the next step towards his dream of being a farmer by getting work as a stock agent.

‘Give it a go!’ Dustin says to aspiring trainees.

‘The training pathway I took has had great benefits, as I’ve been able to work full time and study as well.’


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Victoria’s TAFE system leads the way

Victoria’s TAFE system also proved to be a national leader, with Geelong’s The Gordon winning the Australian Large Training Provider of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Former Holmesglen Institute Director and one of the architects of Victoria’s TAFE system, Bruce Mackenzie, was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to vocational education and training.

Mr Mackenzie oversaw Holmesglen TAFE’s expansion from a Chadstone paddock to one of the nation’s largest TAFE providers.

Holmesglen also received two awards — the International Training Provider of the Year Award and the Industry Collaboration Award for Futuretech, a partnership with the Electrical Trade Union.

Meanwhile, Chisholm Institute’s Kathrin Colgan was awarded the Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award.

Victorians sweep the Australian Training Awards

Overall, Victoria won seven award categories at the Australian Training Awards, cementing itself as a national leader in vocational education and training.

The Australian Training Awards recognises outstanding individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

See: The Victorian Training Awards
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School-based apprenticeships or traineeships