Victorian Training Awards Wrap Up

GOTAFE had great success at this year’s Victorian Training Awards. The Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of vocational education and training (VET) students, teachers, training providers and businesses that train them.

GOTAFE features heavily in this year’s Victorian Training Awards with the following named as Finalists:

Apprentice of the Year Award Finalist – Jeremy Connell, Engineering
Click here to watch Jeremy’s Story
Jeremy went on to represent GOTAFE at the National Training Awards were was placed in the top 10 Apprentices in Australia

Victorian Training Award Apprentice of the Year Jeremy Connell

School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year Award – Daniel Fisher, Education Support
Click here to watch Daniel’s Story

Teacher/Trainer of the Year Award – Chris Freeman, Nursing
Click here to watch Chris’s Story

Chris Freeman Victorian Training Awards Trainer of the Year Finalist

GOTAFE Trainer Mark Ward was also announced as top seven trainers in the state.

Mark Ward announced top seven trainers in the state

Plus two businesses with ties to GOTAFE were named as Finalists in the Small / Medium Employer of the Year Award Category – Mansfield Armchair Cinema and Rhodes Hair & Spa

The Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said that “The Victorian Training Awards are a chance for us to celebrate all the great work that is going on across all areas of the training system.”

Regional areas feature prominently this year among the list of finalists with representatives in all 15 categories from across the State including Ararat, Dimboola, Longerenong, Geelong, Mildura, Moe and Wodonga.

The 2017 Awards feature 15 categories including six individual categories, with apprentices, trainees and teachers all taking centre stage. The Lynne Kosky Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement and the People’s Choice Award for Apprentice of the Year also featured in 2017.

Employer awards, including the employer award for Apprenticeship Development, recognise the key involvement of businesses, small and large in the continued development of training and skills programs in Victoria. Finalists include Ambulance Victoria, Mansfield Armchair Cinema and WPC Group Ltd.

Now in its 63rd year the Victorian Training Awards celebrate excellence in the training and TAFE system, showcasing innovation and collaboration between industry and training providers.

The Awards were presented at the Palladium, Crown, on 11 October 2017. Winners received $5,000, with individual, employer, small and large training provider categories representing Victoria at the Australian Training Awards in Canberra on 23 November 2017.

Read all about it at


Year 9 Galen students visit GOTAFE

Almost 200 students visited GOTAFE Wangaratta Campus at Docker Street and the Regional Study Centre on Wednesday 29th November.

The Year 9 students from Galen visted the campus from 10am to 2.30pm, spending the day gaining an insight into the careers of their choice. Students attended three sessions of their choice before lunch and one session in the afternoon.


GOTAFE’s Youth Engagement Officer, Justin McMahon and Jess Croft, Events Co-Ordinator have been working closely with GOTAFE staff and Galen to pull the event together.

“Students gained a first-hand insight into what studying at GOTAFE might be like”, said Justin.

“The event was designed to be hands-on, essentially students will view facilities, try equipment and have the opportunity to talk with staff about their career aspirations.

“Study areas will be in their own facilities, for example nursing will be in their nursing laboratory.

“And because the students have chosen the sessions they want to attend, we know they will be engaged and walk away with a real sense of what it might be like to be a GOTAFE student, either as a VETiS student or as a full-time student after leaving secondary school.”

Docker Street campus will host the following sessions Nursing, Community Services, Early Childhood, Automotive, Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, Hairdressing and Beauty, Innovation Hub, and creative arts including Graphic Design and Photography.

Animal Studies, Horticulture, Sport and Recreation and Equine as well as CSU representatives will be located at the Wangaratta Regional Study Centre.

The event became a reality after Galen approached GOTAFE staff earlier in the year about giving their students a tour of facilities and study areas.

Justin went on to say that Galen see GOTAFE as a real option for their students.

World Skills Regional Competition Winners

Congratulations to all those students who competed at the Regional World Skills Competition run by GOTAFE

Callum, World Skills Project Officer would like to thank all the staff who made the World Skills Regional Competition such as success.

Overall there was 146 students registered to participate in the 15 World Skills Competitions in the Central Victoria Region from July through to September.

The winners are;

Autobody Repairs 

GOLD, Kane Ives employed by Cobbers Coach Works
SILVER, Dylan Starkey employed by Albury Autobody Repair
BRONZE, Zaker Gulzari employed by Woollards Auto Body

Automotive Body Repairs World Skills Contestant

Special thanks to Brett Bevan, Anthony Coleman and Wayne Greskie.

Automotive Mechanics

GOLD, Perrin Larke, employed by Delatite Ford
SILVER, Shaun O’Dwyer, employed by MTA Automotive
BRONZE, Phillip Barr employed by Swan Hill Toyota

World Skills Regional Competition held at Wangaratta Automotive Workshop

Special thanks to Tim Kohn and Garry Russell.

Beauty Therapy
GOLD, Ella James, TAFE Student
SILVER, Riley Waldron TAFE Student
BRONZE, Courtney Mackinnon TAFE Student

World Skills Beauty students medal winners and Trainer Monique Lockyear and Project Officer Callum Ross

Special thanks to Sonia Vincitorio, Monica Lockyer and Vicky McDonald.

GOLD, Kyle Winter Irving from the Apprenticeship Factory
SILVER, Patrick Bourke employed by Bourke Builders Pty Ltd
BRONZE, Jacob Ludbey employed by Mark Evans

World Skills Carpentry finalists
Special thanks to Russell Thorn and Lindsay Moore.

Construction Steel Work
GOLD, Brendan Witnish employed by Alexandra Stainless
SILVER, Hayley Johnson, employed by McDonald Marine and Industrial Pty Ltd
BRONZE, Michael McFadzean employed by Trevaskis Engineering

World Skills Gold Medal Winner Brendan Witnish with Alexandra Stainless colleagues and GOTAFE Trainer
Special thanks to Stephen Foster, Vinnie Molluso and Owen Beckham.

Electrical Installation
GOLD, Shaun Davis employed by Watters Electrical
SILVER, Otis Lanyon employed by Stahl Electrical
BRONZE, Joseph Brooks, via CVGT

World Skills Regional Winner Shaun Davis with Employer Watters Electrical and GOTAFE Trainer Darren Cook
Special thanks to Darren Cook.

GOLD, Hannah Wilson TAFE Student
SILVER, Macey Gattuso TAFE Student
BRONZE, Brielle Dojcsak TAFE Student

World Skills Bronze Medalist Brielle Dojcsak
Special thanks to Liz Kleinboonschate, Sue Egan, Carmel Cook and Rosa Mandaradoni.

Heavy Vehicle
GOLD, Todd Butler employed by Twin City truck Centre Pty ltd
SILVER, Mark Williams employed by Mick Hogan Excavations
BRONZE, Sam Cunneen employed by Komatsu Forest Pty Ltd

World Skills Bronze Medalist Sum Cunneen with Employers and GOTAFE Trainer Russel Forster
Special thanks to Russell Forster and Tim Hearn.

Read the Newspaper Print Story here

Landscape Construction
GOLD, Andrew Rothacker via ATEL
SILVER, Keiran Fennessy employed by Phoenix Plumbing
BRONZE, Hayden Muir employed by T&M Plumbing

GOLD, Max Tittensor via ATEL
SILVER, Patrick Keating employed by Phoenix Plumbing
BRONZE, James Gledhill employed by T&M Plumbing
Read the Newspaper Print Story here

World Skills Plumbing participants

World Skills Plumbing Gold Medalist Max Tittensor

Special thanks to Greg Kerr and John Sgarioto.

Retail Baking Bread
GOLD, Ethan Cootes employed by Beechworth Bakery, echuca
SILVER, Linette Moore employed by Elmore Bakery
BRONZE, Kara Seymour employed by Albury Bakery

World Skills Retail Bread Baking Participants
Special thanks to Kim Banfield and Stephen Pinnuck.

Retail Baking Pastry
GOLD, Ezra Kullu employed by Taste Tempters Pty Ltd
SILVER, Kyla Wagner employed by Beechworth Bakery, Echuca
BRONZE, Kara Seymour employed by Albury Bakery

World Skills Retails Baking Pastry Gold and Silver Medalists
Special thanks to Kim Banfield and Stephen Pinnuck.

Vehicle Painting
GOLD, Kyle Little employed by Chris Lowen Smash Repairs
SILVER, Muhammed Al-Amirtaha employed by Freers Panel Works
BRONZE, Shane Davies employed by Maskells Customs & Classics

World Skills Vehicle Painting Silver Medalist Muhammed Al-Amirtaha employed by Freers Panel Works
Special thanks to Mark Ward and Anthony Coleman.

VETiS Construction
GOLD, Jacob Boyd employed by Marist College Bendigo
SILVER, Caleb Flood employed by Marist College Bendigo
BRONZE, Kaleb Henery employed by Marist College Bendigo


VETiS Hairdressing
GOLD, Josephine Laulu Seiuli from Notre Dame
SILVER, Haley Knight from Nathalia Secondary
BRONZE, Maycie Villani from St Augustines College

World Skills VETiS Gold, Silver and Bronze Medalists Josephine, Haley and Maycie with GOTAFE trainers
Special thanks to Brittany James and Cath Fox.

Prime Mover Lands at GOTAFE for Automotive Students

GOTAFE’s Heavy Vehicle Automotive Apprentices now have the ability to work on the newest release Cummins X15 performance Series Engine (2017), one of the first prime mover engines in available in Australia for students to work on.

A successful grant application secured the purchasing of the $120,000 Cummins Engine which is the newest engine to be released by Cummins and is now located at GOTAFE’s Automotive Facility Wangaratta.

GOTAFE Commercial Manager for Automotive Mark Ward said that the new engine gives our students a number of advantages over other Registered Training Providers (RTO).

“This engine that is now part of our suite of equipment in the automotive training facility that gives our heavy vehicle apprentices the opportunity to work on something that will soon be commonplace in the workplace.

“The X15 would be found in heavy vehicles like a semi-trailer or B Double so we hope to invite industry in for specialised training that would be conducted in partnership with Cummins representatives and GOTAFE trainers.

“This engine is special for a few reasons, firstly it is the only one of its kind in Australia to be located in a training facility, the others are actually in vehicles cruising around Australia,” he said.

“Secondly this engine is unique in that it has the latest emission control technology built in, the air comes out almost clean.

“The way for the future is reducing emissions and being more environmentally friendly, so we believe what better way to instil that into our students than to teach them with the newest technology.”

The engine is programmed by Insight Diagnostic that communicates with the engine through a computer or laptop.

VCAL students get creative with social enterprise projects

​GOTAFE’s VCAL students have embraced the challenge of creating a social enterprise projects as part of their VCAL studies.

GOTAFE Trainers Mitch Seaton and Jane Leonard said the students have really invested in the projects, with projects ranging from Indigenous Socks ‘Dot 2 Dot’ and Beanies ‘Knitt Witts’.

“The aim of the social enterprise project is to create a business or enterprise that generate funds, with 51% of the profits going towards a social cause,” said Mitch.

“The students get to choose the project, something they are passionate about, something they can really focus their energy on and hopefully generate some funds for a cause they believe in.

“One of our students Jordan Wilson, from the Wiradjuri Tribe has really revelled in the challenge, designing socks with an indigenous theme that features the Goanna, his totem animal.

“Jordan’s socks have already arrived and he is selling them for $12  pair with 51% profits going towards Rumbalara’s Aboriginal Homelessness Sleepout program.

“Other projects include Classy Moustache – a moustache darkening tool, Knitt Witts – beanies Graces Semicolon Enterprise, Stevie’s Gumball Machine, Darcys Dog Coats, Tail Wagging Dog Tags – personalised dog tags, Teniece’s Cook Book, Jarvis’s Jerry Cans and Bryne’s Candles.

“The social enterprise project model is hands-on and allows for students to create something that might aid them in the future.

“Through the project the students learn business skills including how to create business and marketing plans, budgeting skills, bookkeeping and design and creating as well.

“The project also challenges the students to think of the bigger picture and that is that young people today face a different world of work, with less opportunities for ongoing lifelong paid employment, less need for more traditional employability skills, and more need for developing flexible entrepreneurial skills more suited to changing technologies, economies and communities.

“The students also build on their essential skills around numeracy, literacy, personal development and work related skills.”

The concept of Social Enterprise was introduced by Tash McCormick, Commercial Manager for Learning Skills & Koorie Unit. The project is in partnership with Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurs (ACRE) who take the students through the process of social enterprise, from ideas to reality.

Jeremy Connell Crowned Victorian Apprentice of the Year

On Wednesday 11 October, GOTAFE Engineering student Jeremy Connell was announced Apprentice of the Year at the Victorian Training Awards (VTA) Presentation night. The evening was held at the Crown Palladium, a venue befitting the achievements of the finalists.

After a vigorous selection process, Jeremy was one of three finalists and was announced as the Apprentice of the Year by the Minister for Training and Skills, the Hon. Gayle Tierney at the awards night. Jeremy was joined by his employer, Heath Lloyd from Wangaratta Engineering, his partner and his GOTAFE Trainer Greg Keane.

GOTAFE Engineering Trainer Greg Keane said he was delighted to attend the VTA Award Ceremony and see Jeremy up on that stage receiving the Apprentice of the Year award.

“When Jeremy’s name was called out as Apprentice of the Year, I couldn’t have been happier,” Greg said. “I have been lucky enough to be involved in Jeremy’s training since he started as a school-based trainee six years ago.”

“Throughout the entire time he stood out, his skills, his passion, his drive, the quiet way he went about his work and for me it was the way he always made time to help his fellow students, he often put their needs above his own.”

“From the start, I knew he was something special, so when he decided to go back to high school to finish Year 12, after finishing Certificate II in Engineering then come back to us to start his apprenticeship which is a slightly different path that a school-based trainee might take, I said to his employer Wangaratta Engineering, this young man is special let’s work with him to make it happen.”

“For our Engineering Department, Jeremy winning this award is affirmation we are doing great work here, we have great facilities, dedicated trainers and a commitment to our students and the broader engineering field.”

The awards recognise and honour the outstanding achievements of vocational education and training students, teachers, training providers and employers across 15 award categories with winners sharing a total prize pool of $65,000.

Dr Angela Decker Follows Her Passion For Training

Dr Angela Decker joined Veterinary Technology Team at GOTAFE after completing her Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor Veterinary Science in 2012.

“In July 2016 I decided to follow my passion for teaching, and accepted a position with GOTAFE, in collaboration with Charles Sturt University. My role was to assist with the development of the rapidly expanding Bachelor degree in Veterinary Technology.

“Training the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at GOTAFE is a new set of challenges compared to industry, but I really enjoy working with the students and watching them grow, improve their knowledge and skills, and fulfil their goals.”

An average day for Angela involves preparing for and delivering a two hour video conference lecture to the internal students at the Wagga Wagga Campus as well as fielding student enquiries and providing one-on-one tutorials via email or video conference.
“Training the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology at GOTAFE is a new set of challenges compared to the industry, but I really enjoy working with the students and watching them grow, improve their knowledge and skills and fulfil their goals.”

Phil Guthrie Takes Out Wurreker Awards

Congratulations to Phil Guthrie for winning the 2017 Wurreker Awards!

Wurreker Awards provide are an annual opportunity to showcase the commendable efforts and successes of individuals and organisations working tirelessly to improve the Koorie experience in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector.

Phil was recognised for the Wurreker Award through his work within the Academy of Sport, Health and Education (ASHE). He has been with the program for all but nine months of the program’s operations.

Phil is currently the program’s teaching, learning and training coordinator. He continues to grow in his role and is now completing Certificate III in Fitness and Level two AFL coaching qualifications to not only add value to ASHE but also Shepparton’s Aboriginal Community.

Phil is one of Shepparton’s great advocates for Aboriginal Culture. He respects the Shepparton region, and particularly Cummeragunja, as the source of an incredible history of indigenous champions whose contribution to our society is slowly but surely being understood and appreciated by mainstream society today.

Well Done Phil!

Masterclass with Melanie Newman

Gotafe were fortunate to have Professional Dog Groomer, Melanie Newman, facilitate a masterclass at the Werribee Campus in September.
Well known and highly respected within the industry, Melanie’s passion for dog grooming began in the late 1990’s.
Today, Melanie has a rewarding career with 15 years’ experience as a Professional Dog Groomer.
In 2004, Melanie opened her own professional dog grooming salon, Spa Bark Dog Grooming & Spa, in Moonee Ponds, Victoria and has since created her own collection of natural premium canine grooming products.
In 2008 she was formally recognised as an Internationally Certified Master Groomer.

Melanie has competed in grooming competitions across Australia, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Spain, Italy and the USA and in 2013 she was crowned the Australian Royal Supreme Grooming Champion. In 2015 Melanie represented Groom Team Australia in Milan, Italy at the World Team Championships, where the team were placed 12th overall.
She is a Victorian Assessor for Certificate III and IV as well as an Instructor and has been a keynote speaker at several industry events.
One Gotafe student said about her experience after the Masterclass-
“We were lucky enough to have a four day, hands on, workshop with the amazing Melanie Newman and handsome Dash the Bichon. Melanie guided us through breed clips and passed on handy grooming hints. We all left on Friday feeling inspired and motivated to try out our new skills and keep developing and growing as groomers.”

Gotafe provides training in Certificate III in Pet Grooming (ACM30612) and
Certificate IV in Pet Styling (ACM40612).
For more information visit

Grow Your Business Through Training

Studies show that staff are more likely to work harder and stay longer with employers who have provided them with a start to their career. The recent McCrindle Report, prepared for the Skilling Australia Foundation, shows VET Graduates and Apprentices have positive and energising effects on incumbent workers.

Nick Bertoli from Bertoli Farm Equipment currently employs five Agricultural Mechanical Apprentices and sees the value in giving young people a chance at a career in his industry.

“They need to have a keen work ethic to start with, be enthusiastic and want to learn. As long as they can show a bit of initiative and try their best, that’s all you can ask for out of anyone,” explained Mr Bertoli.
“The GOTAFE Trainers that I had when I was an Apprentice were absolutely fantastic. They were easy to get along with and had all been in the industry themselves so they knew what they were talking about.”

Apprenticeships and Traineeships may not suit every business, take Project Management for example. Damien Watson completed GOTAFE’s Diploma of Project Management (BSB51415) while working in the industry in order to validate his skills.

“I was working as a Project Manager but didn’t have the relevant qualifications. This course gave me the theory and the official title to progress in my field.”

Attending class one day per month for 12 months provided Damien with the skills to better implement plans and procedures into his business and provide better service to clients.
The research speaks for itself: “When compared with employment outcomes for university graduates, VET continues to produce superior results and has proven itself to be a more flexible, accessible and adaptable platform for educating and skilling Australians than University education,” said Skilling Australia CEO, Nicholas Wyman.

GOTAFE offers over 250 courses including industry specific short courses. View all Courses or call 1300 468 233 to find out more.