2016 winners

The winners of the 2016 Northern Territory Training Awards are:

Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year

Sponsored by the Gil Court Memorial Fund.

Winner: Ella Cavallaro - Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

Employer: Power and Water Corporation
Registered training provider: Charles Darwin University (CDU)

Territory born and bred Ella Cavallaro has worked in the NT’s electrical sector for 10 years. She was the first female linesperson apprentice in the Territory, and in October 2015 graduated with her second apprenticeship - as an electrician. 

During her apprenticeship at Power and Water, Ella got to move around the business, spending time underground and servicing its low voltage and high voltage assets. She also helped maintain the Channel Island power station, giving her an insight into instrumentation.

Ella is a strong advocate for women in trades and is nominating for the award to show other females that they can be successful in a career like hers. One of Ella’s proudest achievements during her apprenticeship is starting the 'Sparkettes', a support group that presents at career expos and schools to promote her trade to girls.

Outside work, Ella loves fishing and drums for local blues band '19 Miles and Counting'.

Runner-up: Courtney Cameron - Certificate Ill in Commercial Cookery

Employer: Waterfront Bistro, Darwin Sailing Club
Registered training provider: CDU

From year 9, Courtney Cameron knew she wanted to be a chef. She started her apprenticeship at 16 with a steakhouse before moving over to her current employer, the Waterfront Bistro at the Darwin Sailing Club, in 2013.

Courtney entered every cooking competition she could during her apprenticeship, with fantastic results. She represented the NT in the Nestlé Gold Chef’s Hat Award national finals in Sydney in 2013. Back in Darwin that same year, she won a gold medal in the Australian Apprenticeship competition and placed second in the Taste of the Territory Culinary Challenge, with her dish winning overall most outstanding main course.

Twenty-year-old Courtney completed her Certificate Ill in Commercial Cookery with CDU in September 2015. Her achievements outside the kitchen are climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to cure her fear of heights and travelling solo through New Zealand, exploring the north and south islands.

Trainee of the Year

Sponsored by Apprentice Employment Network.

Winner: Neda Aleksic - Certificate III in Business

Employer: GTNT
Host employer: BCA National Training Group
Registered training provider: BCA National Training Group

When young mother Neda Aleksic started her search for an administration role, she found her lack of experience and previous study a challenge. She opted instead for a traineeship with BCA National studying a Certificate III in Business, which she completed in November 2015 through GTNT.

Neda is now employed full-time in an office administration role with BCA National. She also completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment in late 2015, and thanks to both qualifications is working towards a more advanced training coordinator role. She is already hosting orientation sessions for incoming students.

Looking forward, Neda plans additional study in a Certificate IV in Mental Health to support her role.

In her free time, 23-year-old Neda enjoys exercising and coaches her six-year-old son’s soccer team. At the time of writing, she was preparing to MC her friend’s wedding of more than 300 guests. 

Runner up: Patricia Seden - Certificate III in Business

Employer: Airducter
Registered training provider: Dovaston Training and Assessment Centre

Before she took up a short-term contract as a part-time data entry clerk at Airducter, Patricia Seden found it difficult to present confidently at job interviews and find work.

She impressed her new employer, however, and was soon offered a full-time receptionist position and a traineeship to complete a Certificate Ill in Business via the Dovaston Training and Assessment Centre. Patricia graduated in April 2016.

Patricia’s traineeship has given her many new skills, such as payroll processing, operating computer systems, running reception and providing administration support. Her on-the-job experience significantly helped with her studies because both related well to each other. Patricia plans to study for a Certificate IV in Business next.

Outside work, Patricia, 23, is proud to have purchased her first car and, late last year, her own home. Her job also means she can travel interstate to visit family more often.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year

Sponsored by East Arnhem Regional Council

Winner: Dawn Ivinson - Graduate Certificate in Community Services Practice (Client Assessment and Case Management) and Graduate Certificate in Community Service Practice (Statutory Child Protection)

Employer: Territory Families
Registered training provider: The Australian Childhood Foundation

Dawn Ivinson is a senior Aboriginal worker for Territory Families, leading a team of four Aboriginal community workers. She completed a double post-graduate qualification in Community Services Practice - Client Assessment and Case Management, and Statutory Child Protection in October 2015.

A proud ATSI woman and single mother of three, Dawn has spent the last nine years working with vulnerable children and families. Her earlier VET study achievements are a Diploma of Child Youth and Family Intervention, and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Now her study plan is complete, Dawn’s goal is to move into the managerial stream where she can make more of a difference for her families and mentor others.

Dawn’s achievements include co-facilitating a 'Sorry Day 2013' event and representing the department at the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Conference in 2015. She’s a keen hockey player and an NT Commissioner of Oaths.

Runner up: Charles Lechleitner - Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management

Employer: Central Land Council
Registered training provider: Batchelor Institute

Fifty-five-year-old Charles Lechleitner has come a long way since his first job as an Aboriginal station hand in the 1970s, when he was paid in trousers, a hat and boots.

After little formal education in his younger years, Charles started studying for a Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management (CLM) with Batchelor Institute in Alice Springs in 2012, the same year he began work as a Ltyentye Apurte ranger with the Central Land Council. Charles graduated with his Certificate III in CLM in late 2015. He is now studying for his Certificate IV and working towards a senior ranger role.

Through his training, Charles has learnt many new skills essential for remote ranger work, like chemical handling, welding, machinery maintenance and fencing. His specialisation in erosion work earned him an invitation to co-present at the National Rangelands Conference in 2015 about his soil conservation and rehabilitation work in his community.

Vocational Student of the Year

Winner: Ashlee Coleman - Certificate III and Certificate IV in Community Services

Employer: Machado Joseph Disease Foundation
Registered training provider: CDU

After starting a degree she discovered wasn’t right for her, Ashlee Coleman later enrolled in a Certificate III in Community Services then a Certificate IV, which she graduated from in May 2016. She chose community services for her interest in working with disadvantaged groups such as youth and women at risk, cultural minorities and Indigenous people. She’s now also studying a psychology degree.

Ashlee, 20, successfully integrated her on and off-the-job training into her work placement, applying knowledge from her classes to real-life work situations. Training in both certificates significantly increased Ashlee’s teamwork, leadership and communication skills. Her most recent placement was so successful that she continues to work there as a volunteer.

Born and bred in Darwin, Ashlee loves to travel and recently returned from an overseas trip where she gained more awareness of how other Western societies live, further motivating her to continue her studies in this area.

Runner up: Ayak Magok - Certificate Ill in Early Childhood Education and Care

Employer: Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School
Registered training provider: Transforming Training

Ayak Magok’s family came to Darwin from Sudan as refugees. As the eldest child, Ayak has always taken care of her siblings, so childcare was her natural career choice. She commenced study of a Certificate Ill in Early Childhood Education and Care in 2015 with a casual voluntary work placement in child care at the Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School, finishing her study in November 2015.

Ayak, 21, overcame early language difficulties to become an asset to her employer, who spoke highly of her ability to relate well to the children and staff. She was soon offered a paid part-time position and more responsibility. Ayak was able to balance her work, home and study life to successfully complete her Certificate Ill and commence studying the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

Ayak is heavily involved in Darwin’s multicultural community and her local church, recently helping to organise a World Refugee Day event.

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year

Sponsored by GTNT

Winner: Dimiti Andresen - Certificate Ill in Dental Assisting

School: Centralian Senior College
Employer: Department of Health - Oral Health Services
Registered training provider: NT Department of Health

Year 12 student Dimiti Andresen, 17, is a school-based apprentice at Centralian Senior College in Alice Springs. She started studying for a Certificate Ill in Dental Assisting in April 2015 and has a full-time role with the NT Government’s Oral Health Services branch. Dimiti is also working towards a Certificate Ill in Business.

As a dental assistant, Dimiti assists a dentist during oral health care procedures. She has progressed well in her training and can work autonomously, with support, on certain procedures. She has learnt about dental conditions and procedures, how to safely mix chemicals and how to sterilise instruments.

Before work and study, Dimiti supported her Alice Springs community through Riding for the Disabled, Girl Guides and St John Ambulance Cadets. She plans to return to volunteering when her studies are complete. She recently helped the APEX Club of Alice Springs fundraise for a local family that needed some support.

Runner up: Hannah Christopher - Certificate II in Community Services and Certificate III in Education Support

School: NT Christian College
Employer: NT Christian Schools
Registered training provider: Transforming Training

Hannah Christopher, 16, enrolled in her Certificate Il in Community Services in February 2015 as a year 11 student at NT Christian College, completing it in November the same year. She is due to complete her Certificate Ill in Education Support in November 2016.

Hannah’s parents also look after boarding students, so after growing up in a house full of Indigenous girls who had homework support each week, Hannah decided she wanted a similar career. She became a homework tutor to students at her own school and her career pathway became clear.

Hannah chose an Australian school-based apprenticeship because it opens up pathways to further learning and allows her to blend both on and off-the-job training.

In her free time, Hannah plays badminton, preaches at church and is the vice-captain for Marrara Christian College.

VET in Schools Student of the Year

Sponsored by Glencore’s McArthur River Mine

Winner: Scarlett Gray - Certificate IV in Fitness

School: Darwin High School
Registered training provider: CDU

While studying year 11 in 2015, Scarlett Gray completed her Certificate III and IV in Fitness. She soon started work as a receptionist at a gym, and within a month was running fitness sessions twice a week. Now in year 12 at Darwin High School, 17-year-old Scarlett has her own personal training business with both group training and one-on-one clients. When she finishes school, Scarlett plans to study nutrition and dietetics.

In 2016, Scarlett represented Snap Fitness for the ‘My PT Rules’ competition between Snap Fitness and Hot100, volunteering her time for eight weeks to train four people twice a week. Her team won the first challenge and the overall competition as the team that lost the most weight.

In 2015, Scarlett was one of 15 school students who went to Malaysia for a month for ‘World Challenge’, where they had to budget, find accommodation and organise transport with no adult help.

Runner up: Savanne Canobie - Certificate II in Engineering Pathways

School and registered training provider: Nhulunbuy High School

Savanne Canobie is in year 12 at Nhulunbuy High School and is currently completing her Certificate Il in Engineering Pathways - the only female in her course. She won the CDU ASPIRE scholarship for 2014-17. Her goal is to become an electrician.

Savanne completed her Certificate Il in Resource and Infrastructure in 2014. At her school’s VET presentation ceremonies in 2014 and 2015, Savanne was recognised for her outstanding consistency, effort and commitment to her VETiS courses. She also won the Academic Achievement Award for both years.

Outside her studies, Savanne is an active member of her local surf lifesaving club, representing Nhulunbuy for surf lifesaving in Broome at the 2015 NT titles. She’s a consistent member of the school SRC and last year was invited to join the Chief Minister’s Round Table of Young Territorians. She also represented Nhulunbuy in touch football at the 2015 and 2016 NT titles in Darwin.

VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year

Winner: Liam Fraser

Subject area: Construction
Employer: Batchelor Institute

Liam Fraser, 34, is a carpenter and senior lecturer at the Batchelor Institute where he leads an academic team in construction. He joined Batchelor Institute as a VET lecturer in 2013 after prison-based projects teaching and training inmates. He received on-the-job mentoring while teaching all 15 units in the Certificate II in Construction. Liam was promoted to senior lecturer in 2016.

Liam trains students, including inmates, across the Territory - in prison, on campuses, in classrooms and on building sites. All his students are Indigenous and many have experienced obstacles to education and confidence in learning. His challenge is to build confidence in students and gain their trust, enabling positive transformative learning experiences to occur.

In 2015, of 219 students enrolled in construction certificates at Batchelor Institute, 80% graduated. In the prison, 43 graduated with Certificate II (increasing from 25 in 2014).

Runner up: Tammy Healey

Subject areas: Business studies
Employer: CDU

Tammy Healey joined CDU in Katherine as the VET business lecturer in April 2011. She has lived in the NT for 15 years - seven in Katherine.

Tammy delivers the Certificate Il, Ill and IV in Business to students from both the public and private sector in the Katherine region. She also delivers the VETiS program to students from Katherine High School and St Joseph's College and the Indigenous Employment Program in conjunction with the NT Government.

Tammy’s most significant challenge was rebuilding the CDU business section in the region. With one student enrolled when she started her position, she now has a strong and diverse cohort of business students spread over large geographical area.

A firm advocate of employer engagement in work-based learning, Tammy works closely with many employers in her region to develop programs that help transfer learning in the workplace.

Small Employer of the Year

Sponsored by NT News

Winner: Electric NT

Electric NT has been operating in the Territory since November 2008. It specialises in a number of commercial electrical applications, including air-conditioning and refrigeration systems, mining facilities, commercial cooking and food preparation equipment and water and sewerage pumping systems.

The business provides ongoing training in trade-specific areas and in safety. It employs four apprentices, seven electricians and two administration staff. In 2014, three Electric NT apprentices won a number of training awards.

In 2016, Electric NT was invited to join the Carrier Controls Expert Program - the first Australian organisation asked to do so. More than 600 organisations belong to the program in the US. The program certifies technicians to deliver the highest level of expertise in installing, calibrating and servicing Carrier HVAC controls systems, requiring dedication to controls training and continuing employee education.

Having a well-trained workforce where sharing knowledge is promoted benefits Electric NT by increasing productivity and the team’s knowledge base.

Runner up: Nail Lovers Darwin

Nail Lovers Darwin was established in Casuarina Square in 2012 and specialises in nail care, treatments and enhancements. The business started with five employees, including its two founders. It now employs 10 people - two senior nail technicians, seven manicurists and one receptionist - in a combination of full-time, part-time, casual and apprentice capacities.

Two staff are currently completing a Certificate Il in Nail Technology through CDU. Another two are with the Australian Apprenticeship program. The director of the business recently completed a disinfection control course through CDU.

Nail Lovers Darwin was the proud winner of Best Retailer of the Year in 2014 in the service category and came second in 2015.

For Nail Lovers Darwin, training staff has meant better work health and safety practices and productivity improvements. Staff turnover has also decreased dramatically since the business has increased its investment in training.

Medium Employer of the Year

Winner: Probuild (NT) Pty Ltd

Probuild (NT) Pty Ltd is civil and commercial construction company with offices in Darwin and Alice Springs. The company was established as a family business in Alice Springs 23 years ago and has grown significantly.

Of its 57 employees, around 9% are actively engaged in training. Apprentices spend about 190 hours per month in training. Company policy is to employ at least two additional apprentices each year while supporting existing apprentices. In the past three years, the company has taken on eight apprentices in Carpentry and Civil Operations, six of whom are still employed full-time.

Training at Probuild (NT) Pty Ltd is tailored and delivers long-term benefits to all involved. For example, the company recently provided training on remote communities that enabled participants to achieve units of competency against a Certificate III in Civil Plant Operations, which helped them sustain permanent jobs in the community after the project.

Runner-up: Hastings Deering (Australia) Ltd

Hastings Deering (Australia) Ltd is the exclusive distributor for the sale of Caterpillar equipment, technology solutions, parts and service support across 23 business service centres in Australia and overseas. The company was established in Alice Springs in 1948 and today has business centres in Darwin, Alice Springs and Nhulunbuy.

The company employs some 3,000 people in Australia. There are 113 in the NT, including nine full-time apprentices. Hastings Deering has established its own Registered Training Organisation in Brisbane that supports apprenticeship training in Certificate IV programs.

When selecting an apprentice, the company looks beyond the apprenticeship period to an ongoing career, resulting in a high retention rate. By training its own fitters, the business benefits with a future workforce that is highly skilled in its products.

Due to continual improvement and training, Hastings Deering’s customer satisfaction levels are climbing, with customer loyalty up by 20 per cent in the last 12 months.

Large Employer of the Year

Sponsored by Southern Cross Television

Winner: The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Council

The Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA) was formed in 1972 as part of an economic development plan for the Yolngu Aboriginal people of Arnhem Land. Today it employs more than 1,000 people, and 825 are Indigenous. ALPA's operational footprint is 1.2 million square kilometres, and it engages a population of 18,000 with 21 language groups. The ALPA retail division has 26 remote retail stores under its management and operates an RTO in both the NT and Queensland.

In an innovative approach to social enterprise development in ALPA’s member communities, local Indigenous family corporations own equity in a number of ALPA’s businesses. VET is a key element of this workforce development model.

Retail training activity for the last 12 months is 134 apprentices at Certificate II, III or IV level in the retail training package. In all, ALPA as an RTO has completed around 1,750 retail apprenticeships since the RTO was registered in 1982.

Training Provider of the Year

Winner: Batchelor Institute

Batchelor Institute is the only Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dual sector tertiary provider in Australia. It has two main campuses in Batchelor and Alice Springs, four regional annexes, and a number of community-based learning centres.

Current enrollment is 1,168, and it has a staff of 412 - 148 of whom are Indigenous - delivering 44 qualifications. In 2015, 710 Indigenous students completed a certificate or diploma-level qualification. Of these, 69 per cent live in remote and very remote locations.

The institute’s footprint has expanded across Australia and into Timor-Leste, where the institute is supporting the NT Department of Education in an English language program. Batchelor Institute focusses on education and training under a ‘both-ways’ philosophy, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and learning are used to explore a Western learning paradigm.

This approach means graduates leave with improved skills, greater leadership qualities, problem-solving ability and with their cultural identity strong.

Runner up: BCA National Training Group

Since 1999, BCA National has run training across Australia, with offices in Darwin and Sydney. The Darwin office was established in August 2011 with one staff member. Today, it has 12 employees and delivers 36 qualifications to 537 students. It delivers training in education and childcare, accountancy, community and social work, aged care and leadership and management across all certificate and diploma levels. Small class sizes of 8 to 15 ensure each student gets sufficient one-on-one time with their trainer.

BCA National’s recently refurbished campus in Parap has modern classrooms and breakout areas. But it also delivers training in regional, rural and remote locations across the NT through face-to-face and blended learning methodologies.

The company recently invested more than $500,000 in a blended eLearning model to offer more flexible learning options to students, including online learning and face-to-face classes held at regular intervals at its regional hubs.

Industry Collaboration Award

Sponsored by Territory Generation

Winner: Batchelor Institute in collaboration with Australian Defence Force

The Army Indigenous Defence Program (AIDP) creates pathways to employment in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for young Indigenous Australian adults under a military-structured training strategy. Since 2013, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and the ADF have collaborated to deliver the AIDP, which focusses on reading, writing and fitness and is tailored for ADF employment.

Of more than 300 applicants to the AIDP from across Australia, 30 are placed in the five-month intensive residential program, held on the Batchelor campus. There is a significant transition rate from the program into ADF employment, and once accepted into the AIDP, candidates become full-time ADF employees, reflecting the collaboration’s success.

At the end of the program, students gain a minimum of a Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways. The collaboration allows students to learn at Batchelor Institute in a culturally safe, ‘both-ways’ environment and also develop the skills, knowledge and attitude required for full-time careers in the ADF.

Runner up: IE Project in collaboration with Probuild (NT) and Batchelor Institute

IE Project, Probuild NT and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education came together in mid-2015 to create the Indigenous Construction Training Incubator, an initiative to use the construction of the new Northern Territory Open Education Centre as an incubator for skilled and qualified Indigenous workers in the construction sector. 

The incubator would enable people to develop work skills and confidence as well as a nationally recognised construction qualification - the first step to a real career pathway. The collaboration has been successful, with 15 trainees now qualified and working. A second group of 14 trainees will start the program next.

Of the 15 trainees who started out as unskilled labourers, three are now in apprenticeships with Probuild, two are in apprenticeships with subcontractors, two were taken on under permanent employment and two remain on site through IE Project. The remaining six are managed through IE Project’s mobile Indigenous labour hire pool.

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Last updated: 03 October 2016