ATOA Best Victorian Apprentice & Trainee Award

The Australian Technical Officers Association has bestowed AEN with funding to continue an award to recognise the Best Victorian GTO Apprentice & Trainee. AEN members are encouraged to complete the below nomination form that will be judged by the AEN nominations committee (and guest judges at the discretion of AEN). Award finalists will be invited (as guests) to attend the annual AEN dinner in November where the winner will be announced.

Past Recipients

Best Victorian Apprentice

2018 – Katrina Palmer – Gforce Employment Solutions

Since commencing her apprenticeship in 2014, Katrina has been engaging with the community to promote women in trades. Her involvement with Geelong Women in Trades saw her assisting with planning a Cambodia trip to help Volunteer Building Cambodia to build a house for a poor rural family. Her recognitions include RMIT Best 1st Year Apprentice, RMIT Best 2nd Year Apprentice and the WorldSkills National and Regional level competitor for Electrical installation. Katrina believes being part of Geelong Women is Trades is helping her lead the way for more young women to begin a trade. Read more.

2017 – Matt Shipard – Ai Group Apprentices & Trainees

In 2014 Matt commenced his apprenticeship with Ai Group as a Maintenance Fitter securing a position with Nestle Uncle Toby’s in Wagaunah. He is now in the process of completing his second qualification in Engineering Fabrication. Matt has developed excellent leadership skills and is a mentor to new apprentices, he is highly regarded, and displays excellent work ethics, which makes him an outstanding member of his team. Read more.

2016 – Greg Hogan – Gforce Employment Solutions

Originally from Maryborough Victoria, Greg moved to Geelong in 2013 looking for work in the furniture industry.  Having previously taken design and technology classes, and starting a furniture design course at university he realised he had a passion for fine timber work and hand crafted upholstery. Read more.

2015 – Harry Bennett – The Apprenticeship Factory

Harry Bennett is a 4th Year Engineering (Mechanical) Apprentice who has been hosted out to Rubicon Systems Australia in Shepparton.  He started his apprenticeship in February 2012 and is expected to complete in February 2016.  Harry has proven to be an outstanding apprentice throughout his employment with The Apprenticeship Factory. Read more.

2014 – Mitchell Dowling – Link Employment and Training

Mitchell is currently employed by Link Employment and Training as an apprentice and is hosted with Laser 3D in Dandenong. Mitch made the decision to leave his well paying job as a manager at Coles to pursue an apprenticeship. Read more.


Best Victorian Trainee

2018 – Lucy Smeaton – AFL SportsReady

Lucy has brought an undeniable vibe to her host employer, Telstra, which has helped develop a great working atmosphere and culture. Lucy delivered a speech to Indigenous school girls at a large Telstra store describing her vulnerabilities when she first started her traineeship and the positive growth and development she has experienced since. Being a fulltime foster carer for her cousin’s two toddlers has not stopped Lucy being able to complete her traineeship. She was also nominated for AFLSR Trainee of the Year 2018 and was a Top 3 Finalist for Trainee of the Year at the Victorian Training Awards. Read more.


2017 – Merinda Dryden – NECA Education & Careers

Merinda commenced her traineeship with NECA after completing her year 12 studies, she commenced working at the Department of Justice and Regulation in the HR department. In a short period of time, she excelled in her role, developing excellent communication skills, & quickly adapting to a changing environment. Read more.


2016 – Ashley Hall – Gforce Employment Solutions

Ashley completed a school-based traineeship in community services work whilst attending Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College in 2015.  Ashley went about her training and work placement in a quiet, unassuming manner.  She always contributed in class and encouraged others at the Gordon TAFE. Read more.


2015 – Symantha McGrath – Brotherhood of St. Laurence

At the age of 16, Symantha McGrath was a young school drop out, hanging around with “the wrong crowd” after growing up in a very unstable environment. As a child Symantha had no adult role models or peers that were in any form of employment, key adults around her were drug affected, and as a result, she had to move homes and  transition through different guardianship arrangements, often wagging school and missing out on her education. Read more.


Application Process

Applications Open TBA
Applications Close TBA
Award Presented TBA

Click here for the Nomination Form

Eligibility and Conditions

Candidates for the award:

  • must be an Apprentice employed by a Victorian organisation