Australia’s best VET graduates and providers unveiled

Media Release
  • Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

The best and brightest within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector have received national recognition for their hard work and dedication as part of the 24th annual Australian Training Awards in Canberra.


Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews says the 18 winners spanned the length and breadth of the VET sector.


“These men and women prove that the quality of our national VET sector is world-class and is providing real skills for real careers to its graduates,” Minister Andrews said.


“This is a national celebration of the exceptional achievements of those in our VET system, recognising the students, apprentices, teachers, employers and training organisations that make a difference.”


Now in its 24th year, the Australian Training Awards are the peak national awards for VET and celebrate the outstanding contribution of VET graduates, training providers and employers to skilling Australia.


Queensland diesel fitter Gemma Hartwig received the Australian Apprentice of the Year Award, while the Vocational Student of the Year Award went to South Australian tourism promoter Rachelle Boyle.


Bruce Mackenzie PSM is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Suzanne Brandstater received the National Achievement Award.


“Bruce’s leadership and dedication to VET has made a difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of students by providing them with high quality training to gain meaningful careers,” Minister Andrews said.


“Suzanne has also been an inspiration to her students thanks to her work at the VET Entertainment Industry course at Picton High School in New South Wales.


“It is fantastic to see women in a large number of fields take out so many awards and is testament to the versatility of the sector.”


Hutchinson Builders from Queensland took out the Large Employer of the Year Award while the International Training Provider of the Year Award went to Victoria’s Holmesglen Institute.


“I also congratulate the 78 finalists from around Australia for making it to the VET sector’s ‘night of nights’,” Minister Andrews said.


“These winners will become members of the prestigious national VET Alumni, which provides these businesses, registered training organisation and businesses with the opportunity to join a strong network of achievers in VET and share their success stories with the nation.”


The 2018 awards will be held in Sydney.


A full list of 2017 winners is attached. More information is available at and photographs of winners can be provided on request.

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