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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the night of nights of Australian vocational training – the Australian Training Awards for 2019.
It’s an absolute honour to be with you tonight as we recognise all of the award nominees and celebrate their achievements.
Can all of our nominees please stand – ladies and gentlemen lets congratulate them [applause]
Every one of you has paved your own path and your inspiring stories highlight the value of vocational education and training and the opportunities that it can open to you.
I also want to acknowledge the family members, educators, mentors, employers, community groups – many here tonight feeling proud – who have supported the nominees along their journey.
We are celebrating 25 years of these national awards, which have shone the light on the achievements of Australia’s vocational education and training.
You are in great company — 320 winners have been recognised over the years of these awards — and tonight we will recognise the achievement of another 18 winners.
We have a strong field of contenders from across the country.
I am a Minister for the Australian Government, but I’m also Senator for Western Australia - so I just want to mention that last year 6 of the 18 awards went to those from my home state of WA.
So, the gauntlet has been thrown down! We love a bit of healthy state vs state rivalry, so wish everyone luck while they represent their own home state.
The training awards demonstrates what our vocational education and training system can deliver.
Of the many thousands of training providers, educators and businesses and of the hundreds of thousands of students, tonight’s finalists stand out above the crowd.
You should all be so immensely proud.
I want to thank our individual award nominees for showing others just what can be achieved with a VET qualification.
It is so important for those people considering their education options, or the future of their career, to see real life examples of how a VET education can change their life and open up doors.
We have a network of Australian VET Alumni that play an important role as real examples of the opportunities and achievements available in VET.
One of the privileges I’ve had since becoming the Minister for Skills has been to meet and hear the stories of our VET Alumni. Can I send a big shout out to the Alumni members who have joined us tonight.
Each finalist tonight has been invited to join the Alumni – to share their story and encourage others to understand the benefits of pursuing a VET qualification.
I have the great pleasure tonight to be seated with Alumni members:
Lewis Brown the 2018 Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year, who supports Indigenous people in the criminal justice system in Victoria and who has joined us this year to mentor the students.
Michael Edwards, the 2018 Apprentice of the Year who decided to change his career after 15 years as a mechanic, and is now an electrician – no small feat as a father of three.
They are such great stories and there are plenty more of those stories being showcased tonight.
I congratulate the businesses and training organisations nominated for their outstanding work. You are integral to providing Australians with the skills they need to help push industry forward and grow our economy.
To the educators nominated tonight, your passion and dedication to your students and profession is to be commended. You are helping to inspire the next generation of industry leaders.
To be recognised at a national level is a great accomplishment – so thank-you for those you have inspired and thank-you for the people you will inspire in the years to come.
These awards are of particularly importance, as our Government is working hard, in collaboration with state and territory governments, to make our VET system even stronger, more responsive and dynamic.
Because we want more and more Australians to realise their dreams — as those here tonight have — thanks to high quality vocational education and training.
It’s why we have invested $585 million in vocational education and training, to ensure we can continue to build a skilled workforce ready to take on the jobs of the future.
I am pleased to announce that Myskills.gov.au now provides a place to showcase the inspirational professional journeys of our Australian VET Alumni.
As you know, I am passionate about raising the profile of Australia’s VET system and the exciting and financially rewarding opportunities it provides - no matter the industry you choose!
This new feature equips the Alumni with information and resources to help them undertake their important role. It’s great that the Alumni can now manage their own profiles – enhancing their ability to tell their own VET story.
You can now search for Alumni in your local area, within an industry, or with certain qualifications and request bookings for Alumni to attend events directly.
All of our finalists here tonight have had a great induction to the Australian VET Alumni programme and through this feature will be well supported with tips, videos and advice to champion VET.
Everyone here is proof of the enormous value of VET and its key role in keeping our economy strong and in improving our everyday lives.
To all the finalists, I applaud you on your achievements and I take great pleasure in welcoming you, as ambassadors, to the prestigious Australian VET Alumni program.
You are such a great example of how real skills lead to real careers.
I hope everyone enjoys tonight’s celebrations and feels extremely proud of the achievements of all our nominees.