Apprentices and Industry Recognised at the AEN Annual Apprenticeship Luncheon


2020 Apprenticeship Luncheon

On the 12th of March the AEN and GAN Australia held their Annual Apprenticeship Luncheon with over 130 guests from Group Training, TAFE and other VET stakeholders at the iconic MCG in Melbourne.

Guests heard from Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Hon. Steve Irons, who gave keynote on the Federal Government’s investment into VET including the most recent announcement of $1.27 billion for apprentice wage subsidies.

Deputy Secretary Higher Education and Skills, Sandy Pitcher, provided an update on the current Jenny Macklin Victorian VET review.

Joel Handcock and Minister Steve Irons

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, Hon. Steve Irons and Joel Handcock

Joel Handcock, GAN Australia’s inaugural International Scholarship recipient received a special acknowledgement from the Minister and gave attendees and update on what he plans to see on his tour of the US later in the year.

Vaz Juchima with Minister Steve Irons and Gforce Staff

Rob Birch – CEO Gforce, Hon Steve Irons, Vaz Juchima – Exiting Gforce Chair and Bill Mithen – Gforce Chair

As part of the event the AEN also acknowledged Vaz Juchima from Gforce and awarded him a lifetime achievement award for his 26+ years of service to group training.

In 1993, Vaz Juchima as the Managing Director of Danum Engineering, was invited to join the Gforce Board. Mr Juchima as a passionate supporter of Vocational Education was able to utilise his experience as a Host Employer and prominent business leader to strategically grow and strengthen the Gforce company.

Mr Juchima recognised for his integrity and passion for the Vocational Education sector was invited to become Chair in September 2000, continuing as Chair until his retirement in October 2019. During his time as Chair, Gforce has been strategically growing to ensure ongoing sustainability and indeed has seen the net equity grow from $1.5m to in excess of $16m, with contributions provided back into the local Geelong community in excess of $4m since 1983.

Mr Juchima also provided a strong focus on the safety culture, ensuring the company supported all employees, especially focusing on young employees undertaking their first work placement.

Gforce has grown from a Group Training Organisation to a company with a number of divisions to complement the long-standing Apprenticeship Services. The Employment Services Division incorporates, Disability Employment Service, ParentsNext, Transition to Work and Jobactive contracts with the Federal Government. The People@Work division delivers temporary and permanent recruitment services throughout Victoria.

Mr Juchima has held a number of significant roles in the Geelong Community, as a Company Director and held positions on other advisory committees that focus on supporting young people with a desire to move into trade careers. This ensured a continued focus on apprenticeships as an extremely worthwhile career.

A special thank you to everyone who was able to attend the full day of meetings, events and activities.