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Stella Axarlis AM

Vocational training Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

Stella Axarlis AM

Honours and awards

Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community in the areas of training and employment opportunities, to business and to children with special needs.


From mathematics teacher to internationally-acclaimed opera singer, managing director, board member and community advocate, Stella Axarlis AM’s career has been one of diversity, determination and inspiration.

In November 2011, she was awarded the inaugural, pre-eminent Lifetime Achievement Award in the field of vocational training. The award is Australia’s most prestigious vocational education and training (VET) award and is presented to individuals who have an established history of distinguished service and have made a lasting contribution to VET practice.

Stella continues to be called upon to lend her broad experience and knowledge for a range of initiatives. She has been a member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, Premier’s Victorian Economic, Social and Environmental Policy Council, the Australian National Training Authority Board and the National Youth Careers and Transitions Advisory Group.

Stella returned to opera as chair of CitiOpera and directed the highly successful productions of Verdi’s Otello, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana, Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos, and Verdi’s Il Trovatore. She retired from the board in 2017.