Vocational education's night of nights

A large group of people, many holding framed certificates or trophies, standing on a stage in front of a backdrop that says 'Australian Training Awards'

Winners and finalists celebrate at the Australian Training Awards, with Minister Michaelia Cash and Assistant Minister Steve Irons

This story was first published on Wednesday 27 November 2019. If you wish to use this content, please contact media@dese.gov.au to confirm that the information is still current.

On 21 November, almost 800 people gathered in Brisbane at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on South Bank to celebrate the annual Australian Training Awards. 

The Australian Training Awards recognise apprentices, trainees, vocational education and training (VET) students, teachers, employers and training providers demonstrating excellence in VET.

The evening brought together the nation’s best in the VET sector, with 77 finalists from around the country.

Senator Michaelia Cash, Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, and Stephen Irons MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, presented awards to the runners-up and winners.

Vocational Student of the Year was awarded to Shaona Imaru from South Australia. Shaona was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania, arriving in Australia when she was 11 years old. She taught herself English from watching children’s television. Shaona’s desire to help people saw her enrol in a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance while in her final years of high school. She is now employed with UnitingSA and is enrolled in a Bachelor of Nursing, working towards her dream of becoming a midwife.

The most anticipated award of the night, the Apprentice of the Year, was won by Rory Milner from the Northern Territory.

Rory is no stranger to awards, being named Master Builders Australia National Apprentice of the Year, Master Builders Australia NT Overall Apprentice of the Year, and the Master Builders Australia NT General Building and Construction Apprentice of the Year. It’s incredible when you discover that Rory’s first choice hadn’t been an apprenticeship.

Rory first became an engineer but found the desk job unfulfilling. He embarked on a Certificate III in Carpentry with Sunbuild and is now undertaking further training in a Certificate IV in Building and Construction. Rory said he now loves “every minute” of his work.

The Awards help to demonstrate the opportunities afforded to those who pursue vocational education and training.

All Australian Training Award winners, runners up and finalists are invited to become ambassadors for VET through the Australian VET Alumni program.

2019 Australian Training Awards
Lifetime Achievement Award Wayne Collyer
National Achievement Award Judith McKay
Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award Debra Guntrip
VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Sarah Ford
Vocational Student of the Year Shaona Imaru
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Taylor Williams
Trainee of the Year Stephen Witkowski
Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year Arcadia Meldrum
Apprentice of the Year Rory Milner
Australian Apprenticeships - Employer Award Essential Energy
Small Employer of the Year Crusader Homes
Medium Employer of the Year Astill's Electrical Services Pty Ltd
Large Employer of the Year Barminco
Industry Collaboration Award Holmesglen Institute of TAFE and Royal Children's Hospital
Registered Training Organisation
School Pathways to VET Award Circular Head Christian School
Small Training Provider of the Year Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
Large Training Provider of the Year Sunraysia Institute of TAFE
International Training Provider of the Year TAFE Queensland

More information

From the Newsroom

Correct at time of publication.