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Congratulations to our 2023 Victorian Training Awards winners

On Friday 18 August, winners of the 2023 Victorian Training Awards were announced in a live gala, celebrating the outstanding achievements of individuals, employers and training providers in Victoria’s TAFE and training sector.

Congratulations to all 2023 finalists and winners for showcasing our great sector. Learn more about them in our award categories.

2023 Victorian Training Award winners

  • Leela Subramaniam, Certificate III in Commercial Cookery, Chisholm Institute

    Leela’s cookery career began after a family tragedy. She’d been working part-time in hospitality while undertaking a Bachelor of Laws and Commerce when her father died. Unable to concentrate on studies, Leela withdrew, commenced Certificate III in Commercial Cookery at Chisholm, and transitioned to apprentice chef at work.

    On completing her apprenticeship in 2022, she was promoted to junior sous chef. Her head chef proudly declared that a graduate being promoted to a leadership role was unheard of.

    Now, Leela helps run the kitchen and leads a team of 8 during busy shifts, ensuring that each meal exiting the kitchen is perfect.

  • Rebecca Hope, Certificate IV in Business, Melbourne Polytechnic

    Rebecca worked at the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) while studying the Certificate IV in Business through NECA Education and Careers. This might not seem so extraordinary but succeeding in this is, having once struggled to attend school without one-on-one support because of autism. Now she thrives in the world of human resources and is a guiding light for disability awareness.

    Success in the employment programs team led to developing effective coping strategies and instigating such initiatives as a disability support services directory for her workplace. Rebecca has full-time employment as a program coordinator at Amaze, Victoria’s autism peak body delivering initiatives that enhance the lives of autistic people.

  • Barbara Muller, Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural), Federation University of TAFE

    Barbara’s lifelong dream was to study buildings. Fascinated with construction and design, she wanted to understand how buildings were constructed. This led to her enrolling in the Advanced Diploma of Building Design (Architectural) at Federation TAFE.

    The course elevated her self-confidence and problem-solving skills. She took on leadership roles and mentored fellow students who needed help. After completing her studies in 2022, she was awarded the EJT Tippett Outstanding Achievement Award at Federation TAFE.

    Now, she’s heading confidently into a career in the building and construction industry, and has begun the Certificate IV of Training and Assessment to become a VET trainer.

  • Joachim Lopez-Valoa, Certificate III in Marine Mechanical Technology, Kangan Institute

    Joachim is avidly interested in the mechanics of things and figuring out how they work by taking them apart. His other great love is water activities. He’s combined these 2 passions and is studying a Certificate III in Marine Mechanics at Kangan Institute. He chose a school-based apprenticeship to get a head-start by graduating secondary school with 2 years of experience.

    Joachim demonstrates enthusiasm and initiative at work every day. He examines the list of daily tasks and doesn’t wait for instruction from his boss to get started. Once qualified, Joachim is keen to keep working as a marine mechanic.

  • Pearl Dunn, Diploma of Nursing, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE

    Pearl had a lifelong dream of becoming a nurse and in April 2023, she proudly graduated the Diploma of Nursing from SuniTAFE. Despite being hit with a raft of challenges when her studies began in 2020, her resilience saw her reap the rewards of achievement. Now she has a fulfilling position in aged care.

    Pearl’s nursing training was a great complement during her time as a member of the Mallee District Aboriginal Services Board where she worked for better health outcomes for the Murray River community. On graduating, Pearl became a role model for her community, supporting others to embrace nursing careers.

  • Thomas Patterson, Certificate II in Building and Construction (Carpentry) Pre-apprenticeship, Outer Northern Trade Training Centre

    After 15 years of working in the construction industry as a carpenter and licenced builder, Thomas leapt into VET teaching to share his knowledge and skills. Teaching at Outer Northern Trade Training Centre, he delivers the Certificate II in Building and Construction Pre-apprenticeship (Carpentry) and the Certificate I Construction Pathways.

    To prepare students more thoroughly for the workforce, Thomas implemented real-world tasks. Small-scale models were replaced with house-sized wall frames, roof structures and sub-floors, which rapidly escalated their skills. Thomas collaborated with plumbing and electrical trade colleagues to apply the same approach into their trades, resulting in a rapid improvement in student output.

  • Beaufort and Skipton Health Service

    Beaufort and Skipton Heath Service (BSHS) is a small rural health service (hospital) that has acute care, aged care facilities and community services. It caters to a population of 6,000 people across 2 campuses and includes a medical practice and allied health services.

    Being a small organisation, each employee is treated as an individual, with individual aspirations. BSHS provides learning opportunities for nursing, cleaning, catering, maintenance, community and administration staff who are empowered to explore new study and career pathways. This includes qualifications in everything from cookery to health services administration and nursing. Investing in professional development ensures a well-rounded program with happy staff.

  • Jayco Australia

    Jayco Australia is an iconic brand of recreational vehicles and a family business that employs more than 1,100 employees, around 40% of who are actively engaged in training each year. Their commitment to training contributes to increased productivity, improved product quality and a highly skilled workforce capable of driving industry growth and technological leadership.

    Located on a 50-acre state-of-the art facility, employees spend an average of 15 hours per month in training, utilising the Jayco Training Academy or ‘Dojo’, their hub for immersive learning experiences to deliver qualifications and courses in leadership, service and repair, competitive systems and practices, engineering-fabrication, plumbing, and women in leadership programs.

  • New Plumbing Solutions

    New Plumbing Solutions (NPS) provides trainees with every opportunity to grow from apprenticeship to leadership. They currently have 32 apprentices undertaking Certificate III in Plumbing, and other trainees completing certificates in business, leadership development and civil construction.

    To bolster the skills learnt at trade school, NPS established a dedicated training area at their head office that fosters apprentice mastery and confidence in their techniques so they can rectify issues that may arise, before practicing on a customer’s property.

    Through mentorships and leadership, apprentices are exposed to expanded career pathways that NPS can provide due to the diversity of the business.


    Education is a critical factor in closing the gap for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Victoria. The peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) in response to this issue, sought to deliver these community groups high-quality, culturally safe health and social services to educational programs and outcomes in health and wellbeing.

    By providing wraparound services, advocacy and support throughout and beyond their training, VACCHO has expanded services to support students in achieving their goals; as a result the learner completion rates grew from 10% to 43% in just over 12 months.

  • Melbourne Polytechnic

    Melbourne Polytechnic’s commitment to supporting people living with disability is a core value. They’re the only TAFE provider delivering Auslan qualifications in Victoria and the second largest employer of deaf people.

    In 2022 they launched their All Abilities Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy to ensure accessible and inclusive education for students living with disability.

    Their Work Education Centre delivers tailored programs specifically designed for learners with disabilities and complex needs, and provides job specific skills. Full wraparound supports contribute to completion rates being comparable to other cohorts, and their focus on inclusivity has resulted in outstanding achievements and student wellbeing.

  • Elly Lukas Beauty Therapy College

    Students undertaking specialist training for the beauty, spa and dermal therapy industry with Elly Lukas Beauty Therapy College, train with heady industry partners such as Hayman Spa and Spa qualia, Hamilton Island.

    Whilst training is delivered locally, students gain the skill to become industry leaders on the global stage via the college’s internationally recognised qualifications; many graduates enjoy careers in exotic resort locations such as the Maldives and Paris. However, closer to home, they enter successful careers as beauty spa therapists, salon managers or business owners.

    Elly Lukas consistently exceeds employer expectations in a demanding industry and their course completion rate is exceptional.

  • TAFE Gippsland

    TAFE Gippsland’s journey of transformation over the past 6 years, has been nothing short of remarkable. Underpinned by extensive engagement with community and industry and a commitment to delivering the best possible VET outcomes for the region, TAFE Gippsland is today recognised as a leading regional VET provider in Victoria. TAFE Gippsland has a continued focus on developing its people, investing in infrastructure, improving educational quality and enhancing the overall student experience.

    Strategic partnerships assist TAFE Gippsland in addressing skills shortages and meeting regional demands. Across its 13 campuses from Warragul to Lakes Entrance, they offer diverse programs from food and fibre, new and emerging industries through to maritime operations. Design and delivery of waste-to-energy management training was developed in consultation with world-renowned experts and equips students for developing industries. They also play a vital role in supporting transitioning workers gain the skills they need to thrive in new employment.

  • The Women in Apprenticeship Victoria Electrical (WAVE)

    Attracting women to electrical trades was the goal of the collaboration project, The Women in Apprenticeships Victoria Electrical (WAVE). The collaboration involves the Victorian Electrical Trades Union, Holmesglen Institute, Trades Hall Council, Australian Women in Solar Energy, and the Victorian Department of Education. A holistic approach was taken from engagement to placement, supported by strategies to attract, recruit, train and retain women in electrical apprenticeships.

    The program was a resounding success. Around 33 participants commenced a women-only pre-apprenticeship course, more than 100 women got involved in Try a Trade Days – Women in Trades and 94% completed the pre-apprenticeship program. Many are employed as apprentices in various companies.

  • Professor Peter Noonan (in memoriam)

    Peter Noonan was a Professorial Fellow and Emeritus Professor at the Mitchell InstituteExternal Link and the Centre for Research on International Education SystemsExternal Link at Victoria University in Melbourne. Professor Noonan was also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne in the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership.

    Professor Noonan played a major role in shaping policy in higher education and vocational education and training in Australia for over 25 years as a researcher, senior public servant, consultant, and adviser to national and state governments.

    His research interests were varied and included tertiary education funding, the opening up of higher education funding to private higher education institutions, options for reform of Australia’s income contingent loans system and the development of a more coherent tertiary education system in Australia across the higher education and VET sectors.

Reviewed 28 August 2023

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