Awards Recognise Resilience in Obtaining Skills as Downturn Hits Young People


Melbourne, Victoria: The Apprenticeship Employment Network (AEN) and the Global Apprenticeship Network (GAN) Australia were proud to announce the winners of the 2022 Apprentice Training Awards at a gala dinner at the Plaza Ballroom, Melbourne on Wednesday night.

The announcement of the AEN Award winners comes following the release of the latest National Centre for Vocational Education Research report,Treading water: effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth transitions finding a significant increase of 3.6 percentage points in the youth underemployment rate between 2019 and 2020. Similarly, between 2019 and 2020, online delivery for VET courses increased by about 24%; however, it is associated with lower completion rates and higher withdrawal rates. As with all economic downturns, young people have been particularly exposed to unemployment, lost earnings and reduced opportunities for education and social well-being.

Gary Workman, Executive Director of GAN Australia and the AEN said, “Despite industry disruption, the outstanding skill and commitment the nominees have displayed to their vocational skills and career is commendable. It is inspiring hearing their stories and the adversity they’ve had to overcome that led them to undertake an apprenticeship. It is fantastic to celebrate their passion, resilience and hard work as they build employability skills and move into jobs with long-term career prospects.

Indigenous Student of the Year winner Donald Chatfield said, “It means the world to me that I can show what dedication and hard work can do – having done 2 terms of imprisonment and to now be nominated for this award is a huge achievement in itself but winning is absolutely surreal.”

Mr Workman says, “Even in the face of demand for higher skills, the drive and determination of employers working to introduce young people to skills training that fills in local economy gaps are honourable. I am pleased that we can show appreciation and gratitude to the apprentices and trainees, our members and host organisations working together to tackle skills shortages in Australia.”

“Our future is in the hands of our youth,” says Suzie Smith, Senior Program Advisor from group training organisation NECA Education and Careers.

“It is important that we continue to provide pathways to youth and provide them with the tools to assist them to make an informed choice into further study or employment pathways in vocational (apprenticeship) industries. Inaction will contribute to the long-term skills shortages and ageing workforce issues many industries are experiencing,” Mr Workman said.

2022 Apprentice Training Award Winners

ATOA Apprentice of the Year – Lachlan Mackay, Victorian Group Training

This award is funded by the Australian Technical Officers Association and aims to recognise the best and brightest Victorian GTO apprentice.

Trainee of the Year – Nastassja Ivanov, Next Gen Jobs
This award is funded by the Australian Technical Officers Association and aims to recognise the best and brightest Victorian GTO trainee.

Disability Achievement – Rebecca Hope, NECA Education and Careers

This award is presented to an apprentice or trainee with a disability who has shown outstanding performance and attitude.

Indigenous Student of the Year – Donald Chatfield, Gforce Employment + Recruitment

This award aims to recognise the achievements of Victorian indigenous apprentices and trainees and their commitment to their communities.

Overcoming Adversity – Hedayatullah Habibi (Habibi), NECA Education and Careers

This award aims to recognise apprentices and trainees in Victoria that have faced and overcome significant challenges in their lives that would have otherwise prevented them from undertaking or completing their apprenticeship or traineeship.

School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year – Tode Postolov, Victorian Group Training & Sebastian Streat, BGT Jobs + Training

This award aims to recognise Victorian students that are undertaking a Cert II or higher qualification as a School-based Apprentice/Trainee and their commitment to their studies in school and at the workplace.

Women in Trades – Abbey Evans, Ai Group

This award acknowledges the contribution Victorian women make in the trades and recognises their achievements in overcoming barriers and stigma faced in a male-dominated industry.

STAR Awards – Anthony Thomas, Ai Group

STAR (Stop Taking A Risk) awards are presented to apprentices or trainees employed by a Victorian Group Training Organisation for a demonstrated contribution to making their workplace a safer environment.

GTO Service Excellence Awards – Elly Fidnlay GForce Employment + Recruitment and Westvic Staffing Solutions

This award is presented to a staff member or team/group of staff for demonstrating outstanding contributions to the success in Group Training.

Outstanding OHS Initiative – NECA Electrical Apprentice Induction Program

This award is presented to an individual, or a team/group for demonstrating outstanding contributions to OH&S in Group Training.