Outstanding achievements at the 2018 AEN Awards


On Thursday evening this week, we held our Annual Awards Dinner.  Around 140 guests attended and the night showcased some fantastic examples of young apprentices and trainees, members and staff within the Victorian GTO industry.

The awards categories covered Apprentice of the Year, Trainee of the Year, Outstanding OHS Award, GTO Service Excellence Award, Lifetime Achievement and Industry Service Awards (10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service).

Congratulations to the following:

Apprentice of the Year

Sponsored by Australian Super

2018 Apprentice of the Year Award Finalists

The winner received a $250 gift voucher.

This year we had 5 finalists in the Apprentice of the Year award category.

Katrina Palmer – Gforce Employment Solutions – Winner
Daniel Aarons – Gforce Employment Solutions – Finalist
Thofan Boontham – SMGT – Finalist
Ethan Hardwick – CVGT – Finalist
Nathan Ramsbotham – AGA Apprenticeships Plus- Finalist


Katrina Palmer – Gforce
5th Year Electrical & Instrumentation

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.

Trainee of the Year

Sponsored by VicSuper

2018 Trainee of the Year Award Finalists

This year we had 5 finalists in the Trainee of the Year award category.

Lucy Smeaton – AFL SportsReadyn – Winner
Abbey Halton – Gforce Employment Solutions – Finalist
Kyle Lancaster – Programmed – Finalist
Craig McCauley – CVGT – Finalist
Rosalie Summers – Westvic Staffing Solutions – Finalist


Lucy Smeaton – AFL Sports Ready
Certificate III in Business

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.

STAR Apprentice/Trainee OHS Award

Sponsored by EML

2018 STAR Award Finalists

This year we had 3 finalists in the STAR Apprentice/Trainee OHS Award category.

Brody Murphy – Gforce Employment Solutions – Winner
Joel Hancock-Bice – BGT Jobs & Training – Finalist
Jayden Mollica – Programmed – Finalist

Brody Murphy – Gforce Employment Solutions
Certificate III in Horticulture

In a very short time, Brody has changed the attitudes of many of his peers by setting and leading an excellent safety culture. He has taken the initiative to create his own personal safety bag and ensures each morning that his PPE safety bag is ready to go. Brody has accepted the responsibility of Werribee Park’s OHS Representative and is constantly checking that all staff and contractors on site are adhering to safety policies and procedures. Brody is not afraid to call out unsafe behaviour if required and ensures Werribee Parks work-centre health and well-being notice board is regularly checked and kept up to date.

GTO Service Excellence Award

Sponsored by MARSH

AGA – AGA SEAT Program

GTO Service Excellence Award AGA Mark Knox with Gary Workman

AGA have utilised the South East Automotive Transition (SEAT) program and the back to work funding to develop and apprenticeship model to eliminate the barriers to employing retrenched automotive workers into apprenticeships and traineeships across the South East region of Melbourne. AGA has worked with many employers such as North East Program Alliance (NEPA), BMW South Yarra, Subaru Australia, Local Government and a range of domestic based host employers to place mature aged apprentices and trainees. AGA has developed specific, specialised means and tools to assist the retrenched workers through the transition phase of their employment as well as implementing training to assist the staff involved, including Cultural Awareness Training and Mentoring Training.


Skillinvest – Jobs Victoria Indigenous Employment Program

GTO Service Excellence Award Skillinvest Dale Gemmell with Gary Workman

Skillinvest has partnered with the Victorian State Government (Jobs Victoria) and Victoria Police and are committed to creating better understanding and communication between the Indigenous Community and Victoria Police by providing opportunities for secondary school students.

The Trainee program is a state-wide initiative in Victoria and opens opportunities for students to study a Certificate III in Business. Skillinvest trainees work with the Aboriginal community Liaison Officers employed by Victoria Police and well as Skillinvests own community liaison officers.

Due to students being spread across Victoria, Skillinvest have invested in training resources online for the students who mostly opt for a virtual classroom. All Skillinvest employees working with participants in these programs have undertaken Indigenous Culture training through Central Australian Remote Health Development Services Ltd and training is updated annually.


Westvic Staffing Solutions – Glenormiston Agriculture Employment Program

GTO Service Excellence Award Westvic Brendan Hawkins with Gary Workman

Westvic secured State Government funding to provide support the to dairy industry in South West Victoria while it faced economic challenges by employing a minimum of ten dairy trainees and manage their training at Glenormiston Agriculture College. As a result of fires within the South West area Victoria, several of Westvic’s host employers farms have been effected. Westvic provided support and mentoring to their effected trainees. This program has allowed for training to recommence at South West Tafe’s Glenormiston campus which was dormient for some time due to lack of student numbers. The return of training to Glenormiston College has been a positive step for the region and the Agriculture community and students now have access to a first-class facility where they can apply their skills and further their training.


Victorian Group Training – Speak Up

GTO Service Excellence Award VGT Andrew McCarthy with Gary Workman

As a GTO conducting regular site visits with their employees and host employers, VGT identified a trend with young workers often not being comfortable to communicate various issues with their Host Employers, despite constant encouragement to do so. The “Speak Up” app was designed in collaboration with various professionals and a group of young employees. Approximately 100 man-hours collectively have been invested in this platform for young and vulnerable workers to ‘Speak Up’ in the workplace. The aim of Speak Up is to encourage workers to communicate with their employer in a safe environment about workplace health and safety, mental health and general well-being either identified or anonymously.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Lifetime Achievement Award Frederick Maddern and Alan Brown


Frederick Maddern OBE

Having a wide-ranging career, Frederick Maddern has held significant roles with numerous government and community organisations, including Councillor and Mayor of the City of Footscray, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria and President of the Australian Local Government Association. In 1983, Mr Maddern worked with the board of the WRC (Western Region Commission) to develop the first community based GTO established in Victoria. In 2007, the GTO’s name was changed to WPC Group and as Chairman, Mr Maddern recognised that group training needed to adapt to the changing environment whilst keeping focus on traineeships and apprenticeships and is still Chairman of WPC Group today. Mr Maddern also chairs the Skilling Australia Foundation, set up in 2012, to bridge the gap between unemployment and a meaningful career for disadvantaged young Australians.


Hon. Alan Brown AM

Hon. Alan Brown AM started his working career in a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship which he credits as pivotal to his success in business. When he joined IntoWork Australia in 2000, the company operated only in Melbourne and employed a total of 391 apprentices and trainees. Under the leadership of Alan Brown, by mid 2018 IntoWork operates through 11 companies across the country employing over 1,500 apprentices and trainees. Mr Brown has used his own substantial personal connections to raise the priority of the VET sector with senior Departmental officials and Government Ministers at both a federal and state level. His foresight, strategic approach and focus on collaboration has enabled 5 GTO’s nationally (including 2 in Victoria) to expand and thrive in what has often been quite challenging circumstances for this sector.

Industry Service Awards

Presented to staff in recognition of service to the group training industry.  On the evening we presented 36 awards for staff that achieved 10, 15, 20 & 25 Years.

10 Years

Lauren Byrnes – AFL SportsReady
Peter Filandia – AFL SportsReady
Kathy Faulkner – MMTC Ltd
Leonie Sanders – MMTC Ltd
Ray Simpson – MMTC Ltd
Russell Sincock – MMTC Ltd
Peter Taylor – MMTC Ltd
Denis Peacock – Gforce Employment Solutions
Melissa Vella – AGA Apprenticeships Plus
Daniel Jackson – AGA Apprenticeships Plus
Peta Trembath – AGA Apprenticeships Plus
Sue Ogilvie – BGT Jobs & Training
Rob Dickins – GTES Complete Apprentice Management
Darren Mounsey – Westvic Staffing Solutions
Shey Aarts – Westvic Staffing Solutions
Akayshia Cummings – ATEL
Peter Smillie – ATEL
Ruth Boswell – ATEL
Steve Booth – ATEL
Geoff Bruning – ATEL
Martin Bentley – NECA Education and Careers
Marion Gillies – NECA Education and Careers

15 Years

Paul Broderick – AFL SportsReady
Joanne Cahill – MMTC Ltd
Rob Watkiss – MMTC Ltd
Mark Knox – AGA Apprenticeships Plus
Mark Little – CVGT
Rebecca Linehan – ATEL

20 Years

Rob Birch – Gforce Employment Solutions
Kerry Daruwalla – AGA Apprenticeships Plus
Sharon Day – BGT Jobs & Training
Chris Perry – Skillinvest

25 Years

David Windridge – MEGT
Vaz Juchima – Gforce Employment Solutions
Paul Green – CVGT

Congratulations to all the finalists and winners of this year’s awards.