VTAs recognise excellence in vocational education and training

13 outstanding apprentices, students, teachers, employers and training providers won Victorian Training Awards (VTA) on 24 August.

Nursing, community services, arboriculture and business students win VTAs

Winner of the Vocational Student of the Year Award, Elise Stewart, is the first deaf person to graduate with a Diploma of Nursing at Bendigo TAFE. Elise advocated for full time interpreters, subtitled resources, and audiologists to complete her studies.

'It took resilience and determination to break down communication barriers for teachers, myself, peers and patients and colleagues,' Elise says. 'Now my current workplace has deaf awareness training.'

Lewis Brown won Koorie Student of the Year (Vocational Student). Lewis is a Yorta Yorta, Dja Dja Wurrung and Gunditjmara man and his qualification in a Certificate IV in Community Services helped him move into a new role as Koori Court Project Officer at Court Services Victoria.

'I chose community services as a career because I want to see my community thrive,' Lewis says.

'Studying has helped me grow, not just educationally, but as a member of the community and a father.'

Passionate urban ecologist Amanda Woodhams won Trainee of the Year. Amanda completed a Certificate III in Arboriculture, which requires fearlessness, athleticism, balance, technique and the ability to problem-solve at great heights while operating a chain saw.

'I'm keen to get the word out on how inclusive and encouraging vocational training is to people of all backgrounds,' Amanda says.

Sophie Babycz won School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year. She is doing a school-based apprenticeship at Wallan Neighbourhood House and studying a Certificate III in Business through Goulburn Institute of TAFE.

'Working in a community organisation and being in contact with a broad range of people is exciting, and I'm developing strong and engaging communication skills,' Sophie says.

'It certainly solidified my goals to work in the business field and it's boosted my confidence.'

They will all go on to represent Victoria at the Australian Training Awards in Sydney on 15 November.

Excellence in teaching and training

The Lynne Kosky Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement went to Jennie Barrera for outstanding leadership and contribution to the Victorian TAFE and Training system for more than 25 years.

Wodonga Institute of TAFE won the coveted Large Training Provider of the Year Award, and Melbourne Polytechnic was the inaugural winner of the state's first Inclusive Training Provider of the Year Award.

See all the winners including bios and videos at the VTA Winners page.

National Skills Week

From 27 August – 2 September, National Skills Week is celebrating student achievements and VET (Vocational and Education and Training) pathways to careers in industries with high demand for skilled employees.

There are plenty of career and study options with TAFE. Get started by finding a training course or checking out how to become an apprentice or trainee.