The training awards experience—from the regional and state training program, on to the nationals—continually inspires participants, motivating them to work hard and commit to their vocational education and training (VET) pathway.

Some of our past winners highlight their experiences below. You can also watch videos where our finalists talk about why nominating it's important—not only for their career or organisation, but also for the industry that they contribute to.

Jennah Halley

2022 Apprentice of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

Taking on an apprenticeship while caring for her 4 children meant Jennah Halley was making 3 different drop-offs before heading to work, but completing her second trade qualification in air conditioning and refrigeration has led her on a journey to inspire other women.

"This process has been inspiring and humbling. To be nominated by my TAFE teacher has helped me realise I belong here and that I am not only accepted but I'm capable," Jennah said.

"My entire work team looks up to me, celebrates me and respects me. The training process as a mature aged woman was daunting but I can truly say, its changed my life in every single way."

Jennah is one of 5 female tradies chosen to launch an iStock and Tradeswomen Australia campaign featuring real women working in a range of skill sectors, which is another way she is supporting more women to take on an apprenticeship.

"The more people see women out there doing these jobs and telling our stories, they will believe others can too. Not just employees but employers too. We haven't done anything special, I believe it's a joint effort in exposure and success," she said.

"The world is changing and our voices and images are now being shared and recognised. Social media and the internet is making it possible to share experiences and we are all just people who relate to others."

Lauren Campbell

2021 Apprentice of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"My apprenticeship was right for me. It wasn't the usual path for an all-girls school graduate, and it wasn't easy, but it meant I could be hands-on and practical, which is what I love most. Being nominated and winning the Queensland Apprentice of the Year was great recognition for my hard work and commitment to my trade. I hope by sharing my story that I inspire other young men and women to seek out the right path for them, even it means breaking the mould." – Lauren Campbell.

Astute, practical and driven are just a few words that describe Lauren Campbell. From an all-girls school straight into an apprenticeship, Lauren was focused on getting ahead financially and in a career she enjoyed. She had undertaken work experience with different employers and knew the refrigeration trade was right for her. After graduating Year 12, she landed an apprenticeship with AG Coombs Queensland. As their first female apprentice, she faced the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry head-on and excelled on and off-site. Lauren proudly started work as fully qualified tradesperson after 4 years, and continues to mentor junior apprentices and promote training options for other young people finding their path.

Harvey Phillips

2021 Apprentice of the Year – Tropical North Queensland winner and Queensland finalist

"I was so proud to earn my trade and respect in my industry. And there's no higher honour for excellence in an apprenticeship than being nominated in the Queensland Training Awards. I put everything into my apprenticeship, and it was gratifying to know people took notice and valued my work. I hope I inspire others to do what they love and to excel, and to also not shy away from recognition. Seeing real people achieve great things, it sends a powerful message to others that 'anything is possible'." – Harvey Phillips.

Between family connections to the trade and his farming background, completing a heavy machinery apprenticeship seemed almost inevitable for Harvey Phillips. Harvey's apprenticeship pushed him out of his comfort zone, physically and mentally, forcing him to learn new skills, away from his family and home. However, it has also provided him with a qualification that he believes could take him anywhere in the world and across industries, from building and construction to marine. He sees himself as an incidental mentor and role model, as sharing skills and collaborating with others comes naturally to Harvey.

Ellie Farrington

2019 Apprentice of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian runner-up

"I'm very passionate about training and what it has done for me and all that it has to offer. Winning Apprentice of the Year was incredibly unexpected. It's reassurance that I'm on the right path and I'm very, very honoured." – Ellie Farrington.

With a passion for the built environment, Ellie started out studying architecture at university. Feeling that she was learning about design without any knowledge of construction, Ellie decided to change that. After switching to and completing a Bachelor of Mathematics, she sought out a carpentry apprenticeship and hasn't looked back. Ellie's ultimate goal is to provide her clients with a seamless process from initial design to final building handover.

Tony Karamatic

2022 Trainee of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

After starting with Albem Construction as a labourer 18 years ago Tony Karamatic has built up his skills and experience, making a rewarding career in construction with one employer. Completing his Diploma of Project Management has set Tony up for the next step of his career and to support others pursuing their own goals for the future.

"You're always learning. Every single day you are learning. I will continue to study and learn for the rest of my career. I will mentor the next generation coming through, so I too can give back to an industry that has given me so much," Tony said.

"Being named the Bob Marshman Trainee of the Year was the most amazing feeling that I couldn't explain. The joy and excitement along with the sense of achievement filled my body with joy. The hard work, determination and the never give up attitude has got me here. This will single-handedly be the biggest achievement in my working career and one that could never be repeated or replaced.

"What an amazing experience this has been. The whole journey has been amazing and I have not stopped smiling about it."

Breanna Cassidy

2020 Trainee of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

"Competing in the Queensland Training Awards and being named the Australian and Queensland Trainee of the Year was the most incredible experience. I am inspired to do and be more, and encourage others to back themselves and enter the awards. You just never know where it will take you." – Breanna Cassidy.

Breanna Cassidy's story highlights how earn-and-learn opportunities like traineeships can seriously kick-start your career and open doors you never even knew existed. Without a high school certificate, Breanna was determined to complete a nationally recognised Certificate III in Business. Her passion and commitment earned her high praise and entry into the Queensland Training Awards, where she went on to win state and national awards. Flying high on success, Breanna continued her passion for design, starting an apprenticeship in graphic pre-press.

Aman Meles

2019 Trainee of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist
2019 Equity VET Student of the Year – Queensland winner (award not offered nationally)

"I am honoured to win this award, it shows that VET works and is achieving outcomes. I got excluded from a couple of different high schools because I wasn't getting that one-on-one support that I needed, and I got transferred to a VET education program. That is where I found myself and I found my passion, and it just developed me as a person, so my winning a Queensland Training Award just shows that VET works and it's the future for our young people." – Aman Meles.

Aman's goal is to become a youth worker, a career path he believes will allow him to support young people in his community before they become disengaged. Aman is determined to make the most of every opportunity available to him to achieve his goal. He successfully completed his Certificate III in Community Services in 2018 and is working towards a Diploma of Youth Work.

Ben Nedwich

2016 Trainee of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

"The Queensland Training Awards make you understand what you're capable of and what you've already done. It makes you proud of your life and your achievements, but it also makes you recognise the importance of the people who've helped you get there." – Ben Nedwich.

Through completing his traineeship with Bundaberg Regional Council, Ben Nedwich has reinforced his existing knowledge with an accredited qualification that will enhance his career prospects. In recognition of his commitment to his studies, Ben received Sunrise Rotary's TAFE Queensland East Coast Trainee/Apprentice of the Year and Overall Student of the Year awards in 2015 and a full sponsorship to attend the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Camp.

Courtney Evans

2022 Vocational Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

The treatment and care Courtney received while recovering from a snowboarding accident inspired her to return to the classroom to earn a qualification and start pursuing a new career.

"Returning to TAFE in 2020 as a mature aged student I feel I brought with me much more life experience compared to my 2009 journey, but I also was in a completely different head space," she said.

"I was much more focused and determined to thrive when I chose to study nursing, as the diploma was in an area I had zero previous experience in, unlike my previous Diploma of Hospitality and Events where I was utilising training to up-skill and improve on my previous knowledge and experience.

"Prior to being nominated for the Queensland Training Awards 2022 I had no idea they even existed! Yet since being involved in all the various workshops and presentations I think that is extremely important for others to see just what can be achieved through taking a VET pathway.

"My journey through training and my VET pathway literally changed my life and I couldn't be more thankful to every single person who has helped me along my journey."

Ngaire Trigg

2020 Vocational Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"From the regional awards through to state and now nationals, the Queensland Training Awards provide a truly unique opportunity to celebrate personal success. My Diploma enabled me to take my passion for nature to a whole new level and into my community in new and exciting ways. My training set me up for the meaningful career I yearned for. As for my award, I'm truly humbled but am also delighted to be recognised for doing what I love and for being able to share my story to inspire others to do the same." – Ngaire Trigg.

Mother-of-two Ngaire switched her life's focus to tap into her passions for networking and supporting the natural environment. Thanks to studying a Diploma of Community Development, Ngaire now found her dream job working as an Environmental Support Officer as part of a pilot program at St Benedict's Catholic School in Townsville. Ngaire collaborated with teachers, other school staff and community leaders to develop activities to build students' understanding of the outdoors, such as creating a native plant and bush tucker trail with support from local Aboriginal Elders.

Odin Lowsley

2018 Vocational Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australia runner-up

"Go for it, don't even hesitate! Winning a Queensland Training Award has been such an enjoyable experience. I've gotten to meet so many great people, every part has just been fantastic. It's been such a wild and enjoyable experience and I don't see what you have to lose by applying. If you've got the passion, go for it!" – Odin Lowsley.

After completing a Certificate III in Multimedia in Year 10, Odin Lowsley went on to study a full-time Diploma of Graphic Design at TAFE Queensland. rather than continue to Year 11. Odin graduated top of his class, with work experience and awards under his belt. Using his VET qualification as a stepping stone, he was accepted to study a dual degree at Griffith University at just 16. On 25 November 2019, Odin was announced as a 2020 New Columbo Plan scholar by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and will go to study in Taiwan.

Rachael Turner

2017 Vocational Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"I would definitely encourage other people to apply for these awards. You may not feel so confident in yourself, but you never really know what you are capable of—so go for it. Hard work pays off and my experience with the awards has been so much fun!" – Rachael Turner.

Rachael trained as a classical pianist and operated a music school for 10 years before realising her true passion for construction. After completing a Certificate IV in Building and Construction, Rachael is now a licensed builder and member of Master Builders Queensland and the National Association of Women in Construction. Rachael has gone on to win multiple awards, including the 2019 ADCO Construction Award for Achievement as a Businesswoman and the 2018 Master Builders' Queensland Women in Building award.

Rachel Dudok

2014 Vocational Student of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner
2012 Apprentice of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist 

"The Queensland Training Awards is a wonderful avenue to celebrate your achievements, but also your training pathway, training provider, employer and industry. It is also a great opportunity to network and acknowledge what others are doing in the vocational education sector." – Rachel Dudok.

With an aptitude for subjects such as mathematics and technology, Rachel decided to pursue an engineering degree. During one of her work placements, she realised that she preferred the hands-on experience and decided to undertake an apprenticeship through Aviation Australia instead. Rachel completed a Diploma in Aeroskills (Avionics) and became a Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. In her current role as Program Manager – Electrical Apprenticeships at Energy Skills Queensland, Rachel is passionate about promoting excellence in VET on a global scale.

Atahnee Simpson

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

Searching for a new career path that offered a better work/life balance lead Atahnee Simpson to take up a traineeship with the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning studying a Certificate III in Business, which has now seen her story reach the regional, state and national level.

"Launching my second career while being a single mum has had its challenges, but it is the reason why I am doing what I am doing. My son is my motivation to keep on pushing even when times get tough," she said.

"It feels incredible to be able to provide for my son while also learning on the job, a job that I enjoy doing so much. It felt amazing to win Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year at the Queensland Training Awards and it is an honour to be up for the Australian Training Award. To be able to represent my mob and my work makes me feel so proud and accomplished."

Kasey Hardy

2021 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year – Australian and Queensland winner

"My traineeship gave me the skills and experience that employers want and that I needed. Through all my work health and safety training and inductions, and the many different trades I have been exposed to, I have never felt more confident in my own abilities and capacity to help others. I'm proud of what I have achieved and am truly humbled by my success in the Queensland Training Awards and then on the national stage. The awards are a truly unique way people like me can be recognised and can share our stories to inspire others. Every day, I get up, go to work and proudly wear my uniform because I know my community is watching. I sincerely want children to see positive behaviours and mindsets towards employment because 'you can't be, what you can't see'. The Queensland Training Awards helped me take my message to a whole new level and audience, and I am so inspired to continue what I started when I applied for my traineeship." – Kasey Hardy.

Keen for a new opportunity, with skills and experience valued by employers, Kasey Hardy was drawn to the inaugural Western Downs Indigenous Traineeship program offered by Harness Energy Services and Shell QGC. She was interested in the resources sector and workplace health and safety too; in fact she was researching study options in the field when she saw an advertisement for trainees. Kasey jumped right in and gained valuable exposure to a wide range of trades, including civil works, fabrication, manufacturing, electrical and warehousing — all the while gaining in-depth knowledge and understanding of safe work practices, procedures and policies, and the confidence to share them with others to shift people's mindset on personal safety. Upon completing her traineeship, Kasey went on to study a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety, and continues to mentor new Indigenous trainees and be a positive role model for others.

Jabin Giblett

2020 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"My apprenticeship changed my life. Through the Queensland Training Awards, I have been able to celebrate just how far I have come and to share my story to help others in ways I could only dream of. I was on a bad path, but was able to find passion and purpose thanks to The Hairport Yamanto and the apprenticeship and support they provided me. I dedicate my training awards to them. I also encourage others to enter the awards to recognise their achievements and supporters, and to inspire others who connect with their story." – Jabin Giblett.

From troubled youth to successful head barber, Jabin Giblett turned his life around through perseverance, an apprenticeship and an employer willing to give him a go. A proud Aboriginal South Sea Islander, Jabin is committed to his profession and community, and sharing his personal story to promote positive change and mental health support for at-risk youth and men.

Kieran Chilcott

2015 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"As a full-time employee, husband, father and contributor to my community, it was an honour and privilege winning a Queensland Training Award—it has raised my profile within the sector I work in and has demonstrated to my community that hard work and perserverance is rewarding. Since winning the award, I have been able to promote the importance of education and training to Aboriginal and Torres Strait young people across the country." – Kieran Chilcott.

Kieran is the Executive Officer of Gold Coast-based Kalwun Development Corporation, which employed 135 staff in 2015. A lifelong learner, Kieran enrolled in his Certificate IV in Mental Health to better support his employees and to build a greater empathy for those with mental health issues.

Matthew Siver

2022 School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian runner-up

Matthew Siver is confident his plans for study and work are a good fit for him, thanks to his experience working with Metro North Health as a school-based trainee. Discovering a workplace that sparked his passion has Matthew looking forward to the next steps on his career path and he's happy to encourage other school students to look for opportunities to learn about the variety of careers that are out there.

“I have direction in my life and I am not nervous for what the future holds, as I have set myself up brilliantly for a medical career,” Matthew said.

“School-based traineeships offer a head start to people who know what they want with their life and don't want to sit behind school desks five days a week. Education is very important but sometimes school doesn't quite offer what students are after.

“That is why I am so grateful to my school, St Columban's College, and training officers for allowing me and so many other students to participate in traineeships in pretty much any career you could ever want!

“Anyone on the stage for both regional and state could have won that award and the fact that it was me really brought confidence to me.”

Shona Laverty

2022 Equity VET Student of the Year – Queensland winner

While facing a number of barriers had left Shona Laverty feeling powerless to improve her life, vocational training helped her find her first adult job and then take more steps on her career path.

Completing a Certificate III in Business as a part-time trainee with Five Bridges and Look Now Training, boosted Shona's self-esteem and led her to secure a permanent job.

"I enjoy working for Five Bridges. They have taken me under their wing, fully knowing my past and present challenges. They gave me a chance and I will be forever grateful," Shona said.

With family and friends, her trainer, work supervisor and CEO all supporting her through her training, Shona has now secured for financial independence. She encourages others to consider where training can take them and is setting her next goals for the future.

"My next goal is to complete my Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and become a trainer," she said.

"The Queensland Training Awards gives people the opportunity to be recognised for their hard work and was a major step in me gaining confidence and believing in my abilities."

Ronelle Sheehan

2022 VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

Ronelle has had a rewarding and varied training career, which was sparked by tutoring Indigenous children in accelerated literacy and numeracy in Darwin. Her training experience evolved into delivering community and aged care courses in Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory and eventually led to Ronelle joining TAFE Queensland in 2016.

"The Queensland Training Awards has provided invaluable validation of my dedication to my position as trainer and of all the work I do above and beyond for my students," she said.

"We teachers do keep very busy and there's not always time to stop and smell the roses, so to be recognised this way does make you take a step back.

"One of my most valued experiences would be my training at residential facilities delivering the accredited Infection Control skillset during the pandemic. Playing a part assisting our frontline workers to be safe, be ready and be competent to respond accordingly to the pandemic. It was the right training, at the right time, at the right place.

"It was incredibly personally rewarding to feel like you were making a real contribution to Australia's response and there was a very welcoming response from the facilities."

Sharan Berry

2015 VET Teacher or Trainer of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian runner-up

"The Queensland Training Awards will give you the opportunity to work with and alongside likeminded individuals and companies who all share inspirational achievements and who have an immense passion and admiration for the VET sector. I would say grab the opportunity with both hands and run with it." – Sharan Berry.

For 20 years, Sharan Berry has been at the leading edge of hairdressing training at TAFE Queensland. Since winning her award in 2015, Sharan has gone on to become an Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador and is the current face of training and skills for the Federal Government. Sharan is also heavily involved in WorldSkills activities and training students for industry competitions.

TAFE Queensland

2015–2018 Large Training Provider of the Year – Queensland winner
2018–2019 International Training Provider of the Year – Australian finalist/winner

"The Queensland Training Awards are such a great time to pause, reflect, appreciate the effort, the energy, the tears or the effort that our students put into achieving their awards, and also our educators, our teachers, and our staff and how they facilitate students achieving.

"I think the power of knowledge and the power of education can really change people's lives. And I think that's what these awards really recognise and it is a time to reflect as an industry on the impact we have." – Annabel Dolphin, TAFE Queensland Board Chairperson.

TAFE Queensland is the state's largest further education and training provider, delivering practical, industry-relevant courses to more than 120,000 students each year. TAFE Queensland offers students more than 490 qualifications, from foundational skills and entry-level programs to higher education degrees. It provides individuals with training options for every stage of their career, while giving employers skilling solutions that are responsive to workforce needs.

Harness Energy

2022 Small Training Provider of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian silver medallist

Harness Energy specialises in safety and technical training and labour hire across oil and gas, transport, warehousing, construction, rail and freight, and mining industries. It delivers accredited courses from facilities in Brisbane, Toowoomba and Papua New Guinea and through a mobile training unit.

CEO Rory Duff said the whole organisation is passionate about what they do and being recognised through the Queensland Training Awards provided a boost for the team.

"Making it to the top 3 at a national level provides further validity to the quality of programs and unique approach Harness takes to its training and career-supporting work," he said.

"At an organisation level, the experience has also been beneficial to hear about what the other nominees were doing that can be so inspiring. It is really important to recognise the value, hard work and support that the sponsors and government contribute – without which, these events might not happen at all."

Institute of Culinary Excellence

2018–2019 Small Training Provider of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner/finalist

"Winning an award and being recognised for doing what we do really well has given me a feeling of endorsement, so I can go out there and reach for the stars a bit more. We've gone into the international market which we probably wouldn't have done before.

"I think the key thing for anyone wanting to enter this award is that the Queensland Training Awards led us to the national awards, and that gave us recognition overseas—suddenly we're not just this little cooking school in Brisbane anymore, we're on an international level." – Alison Taafe, Director and Training Manager.

The Institute of Culinary Excellence (ICE) is an award-winning Queensland culinary school that prides itself on a personalised and unique approach to training. Driven by a passion to provide the best possible learning experience for all its students, and to produce the very best apprentice chefs, ICE has experienced significant growth since opening in 2014, and continues to be a trainer of choice for Brisbane's culinary elite.

St Columban's College

2017 Small Training Provider of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"I have found the training awards an absolute support mechanism to make things happen and to help initiate change. Because the awards benchmark best practice, as a Principal I can say, 'here is a set of criteria set externally to the school that is looking at quality outcomes and innovative outcomes'. 

"As a Principal you are looking at evidence-based practice to inform your vision and the vision of the community, and so by looking at the various award criteria, we can say 'if we are doing this, and we have the evidence behind it, we know we are on the right track'." – Ann Rebgetz, Principal (2017).

St Columban's College is dedicated to ensuring excellence in training, equity in access and participation, and a strategic edge for students entering the 21st century workforce. Modern training facilities and industry and business partnerships ensure students receive relevant and quality training. In addition to supporting students to gain recognised qualifications, the RTO also focuses on helping students develop essential literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills.

Pullman Cairns International

2018 Large Employer of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"In our business, winning a Queensland Training Award is recognition from industry that we are on the right track, starting to address some of the chef shortage issues we have in our industry. Definitely nominate, it's a great process. We got tons of support from the department. Use the resources that are there because they really are there to help." – Bernadette Reynolds, Talent and Culture Manager.

As an AccorHotels property, Pullman Cairns International has access to the AccorHotels Academie, an RTO that develops and implements training initiatives across Australia. The Academie's online platform means that courses are available to all team members, regardless of their position. In addition to the Academie, Pullman Cairns International is committed to supporting apprenticeships in commercial cookery, with a targeted strategy to combat the chef shortage.

Robinson Civil Group

2021 Medium Employer of the Year – Australian and Queensland winner

"Winning a Queensland Training Award and then a national title is such an incredible honour. These training awards offer tremendous recognition for your business and staff, and also validate the importance of your industry and skills to our economy. If your business values training and supporting staff to be the best they can be, then I highly recommend you enter the Queensland Training Awards. It's a great shared experience that my team and I will treasure for a long time." – Robinson Civil Group CEO Caytlyn Mead.

Robinson Civil Group — or RCG — are a leading Queensland civil construction company based in the Tropical North. RCG is proud of its track record of going above and beyond to support their staff members' ongoing professional development. Over the 2 years leading into the 2020 Queensland Training Awards, RCG has significantly increased its workforce and training budget to provide staff with tailored training and development plans that suit their individual qualifications, experiences and career aspirations.

Darwalla Group

2017 Medium Employer of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

"Winning our award in 2018 reinforced our confidence that what we were doing is on the right path and it also reinforced the idea of improving every time and looking at new ideas, new things to be done. It gave a lot of confidence to our people that our programs are among the best and that we are a great company - our reputation has been boosted a lot." – Juan Correodor, QA and HR Manager.

With a firm belief that employees are its most valuable asset, poultry producer Darwalla Group assists employees in reaching their full potential through education. All staff members undergo training, including non-accredited internal programs and accredited courses in poultry production. leadership and management. Upskilling existing workers has prepared these individuals for their current and future roles with the business and improved safety for everyone involved.

Kent Saddlery

2020 Small Employer of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

"The Queensland Training Awards experience is something our entire team will treasure for a lifetime. We were so honoured to go on to be recognised nationally for our contribution to training, especially our part in the reinstatement of the Certificate III in Leather Production apprenticeship in Queensland.

"The nomination process helped us reflect on what we do and why we do it, and to recognise the many people who help us succeed. Our success is testament to the commitment of our staff and our training provider Tactile Learning Centre, as well as our loyal customers who support Australian manufacturing.

"I encourage all businesses who value their people to enter the training awards. It's a great way to recognise and reward them for their commitment and support." – Josh Furness, Production Manager.

Read more from Kent Saddlery on Facebook.

Kent Saddlery from Stanthorpe showed how you go from a 'one-man-show' to a show-stopping employer of choice and advocate for training, being named the 2020 Australian and Queensland Small Employer of the Year at respective training awards. Kent Saddlery helped reinstate leather production as an apprenticeship in Queensland in 2019, allowing it and other saddlers to employ apprentices.

Kennedy's Timbers

2019 Small Employer of the Year – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"Winning at the state awards, along with being a finalist for nationals, has invigorated the team to appreciate that what they are doing is recognised as being of a high standard. Not winning at nationals means there are other small businesses doing it better which is fantastic for their employees and also an acknowledgement that whilst we are doing many things very well, we can continue to improve. In lots of ways not winning at the Australian Training Awards will have greater long-term beneficial outcomes than winning." – Michael Kennedy, CEO and Founder.

Kennedy's Timbers' first employee completed a Certificate III in Forest and Forest Products Timber Merchandising in 1998. Since then, more than 20 individuals have successfully completed apprenticeships, VET qualifications and university studies while employed and supported by Kennedy's. The business has a dedicated training strategy that includes a commitment to provide a minimum of 1.5 per cent of annual turnover to employee training.

Spencer Constructions

2018 Small Employer of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

"We won the Queensland award in 2018, and then went on and won the national title as well, which was wonderful. All our staff are very proud.

"Winning the award meant a lot to us, a lot to our staff. What it did was help boost our public integrity and profile quite significantly, and in particular, we found that with suppliers and potential clients and people seeking employment—so we became an employer of choice." – Stuart Spencer, Operations Manager.

Spencer Constructions is a growing construction business based on the northside of Brisbane. Founded in 2012, it has grown from a one-person, home-based business to an office/warehouse-based enterprise that currently employs 23 staff, including seven apprentices. It credits its incredibly low staff turnover rate to a strategic staff development and succession plan, with 80 per cent of its tradespeople currently undertaking nationally accredited training.

Tradesmen on Time

2017 Small Employer of the Year – Queensland and Australian winner

"The process of putting in a nomination was some of the best analysis that we have done into HOW and WHY we do the things we do in our business, which I believe has led to better reporting and tracking in other areas of our business. I'd recommend nominating to anyone - you don't get too many opportunities to take a deep dive when running a small business.

"Being a winner of the Queensland Training Awards in the Small Employer category has given us increased credibility in the marketplace. With economic conditions, we haven't been able to grow as much as we would've liked. However winning the award has helped us stay in business and our reputation is second to none in the field." – Chris Lehmann, Head Electrician and Director.

Electrical contractor business Tradesmen on Time trains all staff to the highest standard of customer service. Employees also receive ongoing relevant training for their trade or administration role. The business trains apprentices and regularly hosts work experience students. This training focus has directly contributed to Tradesmen on Time's excellent reputation and resulted in competent, highly skilled tradespeople, safe working environments and increased personal development and satisfaction.

EQIP Gladstone

2019 Industry Collaboration Award – Queensland winner and Australian finalist

"Winning a Queensland Training Award is fantastic. I think what we've been able to do, having industry work so closely with our schools through an organisation like EQIP, is second to none. There's nothing like it. I'd love to see other people learn from our example and start creating a similar partnership in other towns throughout Australia." – Nicole Allison, Operations Manager.

EQIP Gladstone was created to facilitate collaboration between local schools, community organisations, and business and industry in order to provide students with alternative education opportunities and career pathways. Their goal is to support the economic growth of the Gladstone region by developing the next generation workforce. EQIP's specialised learning facilities and training programs provide students with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to gain employment.

Last updated 23 February 2023

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