Release type: Joint Media Release


Best and brightest recognised at the 2020 Australian Training Awards


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business
The Hon Steve Irons MP
Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships

The best and the brightest in Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector have been recognised for their excellence, hard work and dedication at the 2020 Australian Training Awards.

Seventeen awards have been presented to students, apprentices, trainees, teachers, Registered Training Organisations and employers in a virtual ceremony broadcast online today.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the VET sector should be immensely proud of its achievements during a very challenging year.

“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, tonight’s Award recipients have demonstrated remarkable resilience,” Minister Cash said.

“They serve as leaders and role models to their peers and I know their stories will inspire others to consider a VET qualification.

“I congratulate each and every one of our winners and finalists.”

The recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award went to Mary Campbell, CEO of TAFE Queensland, who has spent more than 30 years in leadership roles in the VET sector.

Debbie Blow received the National Achievement Award for her work improving the quality of training in health and nursing.

Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships, the Hon Steve Irons MP, said the Morrison Government is proud to support the Australian Training Awards and is proud to support the VET sector, providing almost $7 billion in funding this year alone as part of our skills-led recovery.

“This includes partnering with the states and territories to establish the $1 billion JobTrainer Fund, providing around an additional 340,000 free or low-fee training places to help Australians upskill and reskill in areas of demand,” Assistant Minister Irons said.

“We are investing in apprenticeships, creating jobs and boosting the skills of Australians to help them get back into work.”

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Note: Photos of the winners are available on request.



Lifetime Achievement Award

Mary Campbell, QLD

National Achievement Award

Debbie Blow, QLD

Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award

Rachel Leigh Taylor, NT

VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award

Kevin Nunn, VIC

Vocational Student of the Year Award

Heetham Hekmat, TAS

Trainee of the Year Award

Breanna Cassidy, QLD

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award

Lisa Cherie Birnie, ACT

Australian School-based Apprentice of the Year Award

Sebastian Connor, ACT

Apprentice of the Year Award

Caitlin Radford, TAS

Australian Apprenticeships—Employer Award

Fairbrother, TAS

Small Employer of the Year

Kent Saddlery, QLD

Medium Employer of the Year

Outside Ideas, SA

Large Employer of the Year

SA Power Networks, SA

Industry Collaboration Award

Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Australian Defence Force, NT

School Pathways to VET Award

St Paul's College Kempsey, NSW

Large Training Provider of the Year

South West Institute of TAFE, VIC

Small Training Provider of the Year

Builders Academy Australia, VIC