WA's best of VET celebrated at Australian Training Awards 2022

The brightest stars in Australia's vocational education and training (VET) sector were celebrated at the prestigious Australian Training Awards 2022 event in Adelaide last night, with seven finalists from the WA Training Awards 2022 stepping up as winners for the best in Australia! 

Individual winners from this year's WA Training Awards progressed to the national awards, while organisation category winners were further shortlisted to determine three finalists in each category from around Australia. As Australian Training Award winners, they will be recognised nationally as leaders in their relevant field of study, training or sector and represent WA as VET ambassadors. This year, WA had representatives in six individual categories:

  • Apprentice of the Year;
  • School-based Apprentice of the Year;
  • Trainee of the Year;
  • Vocational Student of the Year;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year; and
  • Trainer of the Year.

Three WA organisations were selected as finalists for the organisation categories:

  • Byrnecut, for the Large Employer of the Year Award;
  • Taylorweir International School of Hairdressing, for the Small Training Provider of the Year Award; and
  • WA Department of Justice for their Making Tracks Program, in the Industry Collaboration Award.

There were also two direct entries into the awards this year:

  • Busselton Senior High School for the School Pathways to VET Award; and
  • WA Department of Justice for the Australian Apprenticeships Employer Award.

Individual category winners received $5,000 prize money and runners-up received $2,500.

Western Australian ATA winners, runners up and finalists 

Award winners

Brittany-Leigh Wragg — Winner, Australian Trainee of the Year: Certificate III in Defence Industry Pathways, South Metropolitan TAFE
Being one of the first students to study a Certificate III in Defence Industry Pathways Program, Brittany cites the unwavering support from the team at South Metropolitan TAFE and Programmed Training Services that helped her feel confident about her chosen career pathway in a male-dominated industry. Brittany-Leigh has sampled different job roles while undertaking work placement rotations while employed by Programmed Training Services, and gained real life experience all while building up a network of industry contacts. She hopes to begin an apprenticeship in defence on completion of her traineeship.

Wayne Ryder — Winner, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year: Diploma of Leadership and Management, Australian Institute of Management (AIM) WA
rom school captain to captain of his football team, Wayne has paved the way for Aboriginal men walking a similar journey. One of his proudest achievements was creating the Waakal Moort Kaadadjiny Festival, a health and wellbeing festival for at-risk Aboriginal people. Wayne began working for Palmerston Association as a Community Aboriginal Worker, supporting individuals affected by drugs and alcohol, following his own lived experience. He later won a scholarship to study a Diploma of Leadership and Management with AIM WA.

WA Department of Justice Australian Apprenticeships – Gold Employer Award (direct-entry)
The Corrective Services division within the WA Department of Justice aims to enrich prisoners’ lives and reduce reoffending. The Department implemented The Prisoner Traineeship Program to establish a clear pathway from prison to employment, through VET. The program has supported over 4,775 prisoners in an apprenticeship or traineeship, with a completion rate of 70 per cent. On release, apprentices and trainees who gain employment through the employment partners receive an average starting salary of $90,000 – leading to car and home ownership, often for some the first time in generations. The Department was a finalist in the same category in 2021. 

Busselton Senior High School — Silver, School Pathways to VET Award (direct-entry)
Busselton Senior High School (BSHS) has been a RTO school since 1999, implementing a unique educational model that combines traditional education methods with VET opportunities. BSHS is bridging the gap between education and training, supporting non-university bound students to complete a certificate qualification. By engaging with the local community, and acknowledging future skill shortages and student survey data, BSHS has increased its VET offering. This year, 75 per cent of BSHS students are enrolled in a VET qualification, seeing attainment rates of above 98 per cent.

Byrnecut — Bronze, Large Employer of the Year
Byrnecut is one of the world's leading underground contract miners, with over 3,800 employees. Byrnecut's training programs undergo continuous improvement, with input from experienced operators and management to ensure quality learning opportunities. With 21 per cent of employees undertaking a traineeship or apprenticeship within WA; Byrnecut is committed to world class training and development, individualised learning plans, unlimited support and access to thousands of resources and networks to set employees up for successful, long term careers with the company.  

Making Tracks (WA Department of Justice) — Bronze, Industry Collaboration Award
Making Tracks is a collaborative industry training and employment network of partnerships for prisoners across WA to ensure VET delivery within prisons is relevant and appropriate to the needs of both prisoners engaged in training and the businesses that go on to employ them. Through collaboration with employers in key industries, the program reduces the stigma ex-prisoners face when seeking employment, while meeting the needs of the labour market, contributing to the economy and reducing reoffending. The Department were finalists in the same category in 2021.

Taylorweir International School of Hairdressing — Bronze, Small Training Provider of the Year
Taylorweir is the longest established private registered training organisation for hairdressing in WA. Their training delivery focuses on a client-driven approach, ensuring that students achieve their best outcomes with support from employers and the outstanding teaching skills of the organisation's trainers. With over 480 enrolled students, Taylorweir's 25-year journey continues to be one of learning, growth and change which has allowed it to maintain its position as the leader of hairdressing and barbering education in Australia. Taylorweir has won the Small Training Provider of the Year Award for the first time at a national level, having previously won at the WA Training Awards on two separate occasions; 2013 and 2022.

Runners up

Caitlin Bezuidenhout — Runner-up, Vocational Student of the Year: Certificate IV in Preparation for Health and Nursing Studies, Eastern Hills Senior High School
Inspired after visiting her nanna at an aged care facility, nine-year-old Caitlin was determined to make a positive change in the industry.  Caitlin is still at school, completing her Certificate IV in Preparation for Health and Nursing studies through Health Science Hub, and her Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) through Australian Medical Association (AMA) WA. Through her work placement with Baptistcare, Caitlin has been able to gain hands on experience and is passionate about creating positive energy in her workplace.


Stephen Delaney — Finalist, VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year: Painting and Decorating and Painters' Licensing with MPA Skills
For 20 years, Stephen has delivered training to his students with a pastoral and holistic approach. He readily participates in training to upskill, as well as adapting and improving his teaching style to navigate modern-day challenges. At MPA Skills, Stephen's passion is training pre-apprentices which he says is "challenging and rewarding" but where he can make the biggest impact. Stephen did not think he would be training for as long as he has been, but two decades later he is as passionate as ever and loves making a difference in people's lives.

Megan Hazelden — Finalist, Australian Apprentice of the Year: Certificate III in Engineering—Mechanical Trade (Mechanical Fitter ZA), South Metropolitan TAFE 
Growing up on a farm watching her parents work on machinery, Megan knew she wanted to become a mechanic. Now completing a Certificate III in Engineering and employed by Alcoa, she is well on her way to reaching her goal of becoming a mechanical fitter at Alcoa's Wagerup refinery. Megan has had the opportunity to represent women in the industry throughout her apprenticeship, presenting at schools and student career nights about career opportunities. Winning South Metropolitan TAFE's Apprentice of the Year 2021 gave her the confidence to encourage women to apply for an apprenticeship in mechanical fitting.

Sophia Pitaro — Finalist, Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year: Certificate III in Sport and Recreation, North Metropolitan TAFE
Driven to gain as much experience as she can while attending Applecross Senior High School, Sophia has already completed certificates in events management, tourism, and skills for work and vocational pathways. Now embarking on a traineeship through North Metropolitan TAFE, with employer Leisure Employment Australia and host employer BlueFit – Belmont Oasis Leisure Centre, Sophia is completing a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation and has completed qualifications including her first aid, lifeguard and CPR certificates while gaining on the job experience.

For the full list of this year's Australian Training Award winners, visit australiantrainingawards.gov.au.

Attending the event with the WA finalists, Minister for Education and Training Sue Ellery MLC said “The Australian Training Awards are an opportunity to put our State's best vocational education and training achievers in the spotlight by acknowledging the hard work of individuals across a range of sectors. With VET playing a vital role in the rebuilding of Western Australia’s economy, the overall community benefit is significant and should be celebrated. The McGowan Government continues to recognise the importance of VET and has invested significantly in the sector to support its vital role in our society and economy. Congratulations to all of the winners, receiving recognition at a national level demonstrates excellence at the highest level and is to be commended.”

View the full media statement here

Page last updated May 17, 2023