2020 NT Training Awards finalists
Congratulations to the 2020 Northern Territory (NT) Training Awards finalists.
Shannon Veltman knew she wanted to be an electrician after a year 10 physics class.
“I loved watching and learning the mystery of how electricity works and was fascinated with how something that cannot be seen can move.”
Shannon, who studied at Charles Darwin University, has completed her Certificate III in Electro-technology and is a finalist in the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
She is the first female electrical apprentice at Rio Tinto in Nhulunbuy for 10 years and credits the resources company with teaching her an ‘immense amount of discipline and perseverance’.
View Shannon's video.
Auto electrician Andy Creber watched Caterpillar-trained tradies at work and said to himself “I could do that with a bit of training.”
And he did, even though it meant becoming an apprentice again.
Andy chose Hastings Deering in Darwin as his registered training organisation because of the company’s good reputation.
He has just completed his apprenticeship as a diesel fitter and is now a leading hand.
Andy, who prides himself on his communication skills and willingness to help apprentices, is a finalist in the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Andrew's video.
The NT is one of the best places in Australia to learn a trade.
Just ask Michael Francis.
He has just completed his Certificate III in Electro-technology and is a finalist in the Austin Asche Apprentice of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Michael, who is employed by the Power and Water Corporation and has studied at Charles Darwin University, says “the NT has some of the best combinations of GTOs, RTOs and host businesses across the whole of Australia.”
View Michael's video.
Jaylie Maddaford came up against a mountain of obstacles when she decided to give up her office job to work in the LNG industry – lack of training and experience were just some of the setbacks she encountered.
She completed her traineeship on the Darwin LNG plant, where she found her workmates supportive in her drive to better herself.
She achieved a Certificate III in PMA Process Plant Operations with Programmed Skilled Workforce and is now employed by Santos as an operator at Darwin LNG.
Her supervisor says she has a ‘grounded and practical’ attitude towards her training: listen, learn and perform.
Jaylie is a finalist in the Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Jaylie's video.
Luis Alfredo Munoz-Cepeda
Luis Alfredo Munoz Cepeda has learned that a supportive team leader and workmates are critical to success at work.
He is a senior construction materials technician at geotechnical services company HiQA in Darwin.
“HiQA has been extremely supportive of me since day one. One of the keys to succeed is the support by all the team members in sharing their knowledge, experience and my commitment to continuous improvement.”
Luis gained an Environmental Science degree from Charles Darwin University and a Certificate IV in Laboratory Techniques through ABC Consulting and Training.
He now helps train other young staff at work.
Luis is a finalist in the Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Luis' video.
Sandra Curley has gained enormous work experience and has an impressive swag of qualifications.
She is a process technician at the Darwin LNG complex after gaining a Certificate III in PMA Process Plant Operations through registered training organisation ACEPT.
Sandra has come a long way since joining the Royal Australian Navy from school and later training as a marine electrician.
Her supervisors at Darwin LNG say she has a ‘no fuss attitude’ and great attention to detail - and describe her as an inspiration to others.
Sandra is a finalist in the Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Sandra's video.
Shailee Devery joined NEC Australia in Darwin through the Indigenous Work Placement Program two years ago - and hasn’t looked back.
The program provides vocational education and training, and high school students with paid work placements during school holidays over a year.
She gained a traineeship with NEC on leaving Palmerston Senior College and has completed a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology.
Shailee enjoys promoting NEC’s programs to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and mentoring young Aboriginal work colleagues.
She is a finalist in the Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Shailee's video.
Ukraine-born Yuliia Shchedrovska sees her mission as turning a workplace into a ‘dream job’ for the staff.
“Work is not just a tool to make a living anymore and a job is no longer just a job. For many of us, it turns into a passion, an exciting journey.”
Yuliia, who completed a Certificate IV in Human Resources through Charles Darwin University, helps victims of domestic violence and migrants.
She runs workshops and has helped make a documentary.
Yuliia is a finalist in the Vocational Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Yuliia's video.
Eliza Rynne is a passionate leader in health and fitness, improving the quality of life of her clients through personal training.
She resigned from her full-time job and turned down the chance to travel the world through an overseas opportunity so that she could pursue her Certificate III and IV Fitness through Charles Darwin University.
She is now employed as a freelance personal trainer through various gyms, a pilates studio and her own brand.
Eliza is a finalist in the Vocational Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Eliza's video.
Katherine-born Darren Braun has one word to describe his journey through life so far: ‘amazing’.
He is a trained dancer / performing artist but has chosen to work in Indigenous health because he wants to help ‘my mob’ to navigate a culturally safe passage to access quality health services.
Darren, a proud Ngalakan Kaytetye Arrernte man, completed a Certificate IV in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice) through the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education while employed as a trainee Aboriginal health practitioner with Danila Dilba.
“I’m passionate about Aboriginal health.”
Darren is a finalist in the Vocational Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Darren's video.
Territory-born Zoe White completed a Certificate III in Hospitality before continuing her studies for a double Diploma in Hospitality and Event Management at Charles Darwin University.
She works as an executive lounge host at the Hilton Hotel in Darwin.
Zoe turned down an offer to study a degree at Charles Sturt University to remain with the Hilton.
“As a born-and-bred Territorian, I recognise the importance of the tourism and hospitality industries, and enjoy meeting guests and sharing my love of the Territory.”
Zoe is a finalist in the Vocational Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Zoe's video.
Dale Dhamarrandji is the first Yolngu apprentice to have completed a heavy diesel apprenticeship at Rio Tinto’s Gove operations.
“This fact gives me a great sense of pride,” he says. “I believe that by completing my apprenticeship at the mine workshop I have contributed to increasing the acceptance of Yolngu culture, and respect and understanding of cultural diversity within my team.”
Dale, who was raised in the remote community of Gapuwiyak and studied at Charles Darwin University, has completed a Certificate III in Mobile Plant Technology and is a finalist in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
He is a talented footballer and played for the Indigenous All-Stars at the MCG.
View Dale's video.
Jessica Wattam knows all about juggling home and work commitments.
She has two sons, aged seven and two, and her husband works 220kms away in Jabiru.
But Jessica still manages to excel at her administration job at the Santos LNG plant in Darwin, study at Charles Darwin University and take part in a safety initiative at work.
“I am not only working and studying for myself but to be a good role model to my sons.”
Jessica, who is employed by Programmed Skilled Workforce and hosted at Santos, is studying for a Certificate IV in Business Administration and is a finalist in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Jessica's video.
The different knowledge between age groups is being used to everyone’s advantage at the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.
Luke Roberts, who is studying for a Certificate IV in Project Management Practice, is the youngest in his team - by about 20 years.
“What I enjoy most about working as a team is the support provided and the learning from more experienced staff,” he says. “I also like the fact that everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are used and supported.
“I am able to provide support to them from an IT perspective and teach them new software.”
Luke, who studies at Charles Darwin University, is a finalist in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Luke's video.
Lives can often be transformed for the better by someone giving young people a chance.
Jack and Toni Spears, owners of Spears Sheetmetal Works in Alice Springs, gave young Harry Newton a chance by offering him a school-based apprenticeship.
And the youngster hasn’t looked back.
Harry is studying for a Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade while working at Spears and finishing year 12 at St Philips College.
“I feel extremely lucky that I found such a supportive and reputable employer.
“As a result of Jack and Toni’s generosity and ability to enhance my trade education, I now recognise my responsibility to uphold the reputation of the business and represent it to the best of my ability.”
Harry is a finalist in the School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Harry's video.
Samantha Stevenson is an inspiring example of someone who has overcome adversity.
Her confidence was shattered when she suffered an anxiety attack during a school exam.
But with the help of teachers, she found alternative ways to learn and is now studying for a Certificate IV in Business while working at the NT Office of the Commissioner of Public Employment and finishing year 12 at Darwin High School.
She particularly likes working in a team.
“Being a team player and helping others feel healthier and happier is very rewarding and you instantly notice a difference in the workplace and the team, as everyone pulls together and strives for goals together.”
Samantha is a finalist in the School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Samantha's video.
Brooke McKenna was inspired to become a mechanic after growing up watching her dad fix farm equipment, cars, trucks - and anything else that needed fixing.
“I did not think it was going to be easy for me to find an apprenticeship as I was a female in a male-dominated industry. I thought I wouldn’t be taken seriously or given a chance.”
But far from being turned away, she was given the chance of a school-based apprentice with agriculture and turf dealer Vanderfield in Darwin.
She says she has been given ‘amazing opportunities’ at work and now wants to be a role model for other women entering the industry.
Brooke is undertaking a school-based apprenticeship as a heavy diesel mechanic through Vanderfield, John Deere and Charles Darwin University while completing year 12 studies at Good Shepherd Lutheran College.
She is a finalist in the School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Brooke's video.
Katlyn Craig asked to work at the NT Friendship and Support for the most personal of reasons - her youngest brother has been diagnosed with autism and sensory disorder.
“NT Friendship and Support is a disability service that supports individuals and families who live with disabilities. Thanks to them, my family has had the help to connect my brother to the services he needs to be able to move forward and make his life a little better.”
Katlyn is studying for a Certificate II in Business while working at the charity and finishing year 12 at Katherine High School.
She is employed by GTNT and her registered training organisation is Dovaston Training and Assessment.
Katlyn is a finalist in the School-based Apprentice or Trainee of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Katlyn's video.
Raylene Rankin wants to be a police dog handler.
She is part of the NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services cadet program and has completed a Certificate II in Community Engagement through the police registered training organisation and Certificate III in Business through Charles Darwin University.
“I am interested in the way that the NT Police force works hard to promote community safety, and works closely with community groups and other government agencies in helping to address issues relating to crime and other anti-social behaviour.”
Raylene is a finalist in the VET in Schools Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Raylene's video.
Sophie Reid has completed a Certificate III in Business through Charles Darwin University as part of the police cadet program.
She also has a Certificate II in Community Engagement, and first aid, small boat handling and CPR certificates, plus other short courses.
Sophie, who hopes to become a police dog handler, has been in the VET in Schools program for two years.
She is a finalist in the VET in Schools Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Sophie's video.
Declan Spethman has been diagnosed with ADHD, autism and dyslexia, which he says makes normal classroom work at Mackillop Catholic College in Palmerston challenging.
“In maths, I have trouble understanding the questions and in English I get lost easily.”
He says the VET in Schools program has changed him and he is happy “with the person I am still becoming”.
“Almost every day I have used information from my courses to better myself.”
Declan, who has completed certificates in Conservation and Land Management, is a finalist in the VET in Schools Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Declan's video.
Bradley Mauger is training part-time at leading ICT company NEC Australia while studying at Casuarina Senior College.
He is enrolled in a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology course, which will qualify him for a range of technical and support desk officer roles.
Bradley says the school-based apprenticeship with NEC has “completely turned my academic and personal life around”.
“I have gone from uninspired and unmotivated to an engaged student who is actively working towards progressing in this field. I transformed my previous procrastination and lack of motivation to a mindset where I am handing in all of my school work, attending 100% of my classes and striving to achieve the highest marks that I can so I can apply for a traineeship with NEC at the end of this year.”
Bradley is a finalist in the VET in Schools Student of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Bradley's video.
Kevin Gawada teaches electrical and instrumentation at Ausinet, using a hands-on teaching model instead of classroom theory.
He describes electricity as one of the greatest discoveries in history as it has changed life for the better. He says the possibilities are endless and that’s one of the reasons he loves teaching
“Learning never stops, especially in the electrical industry where technology is changing constantly.”
Kevin is a finalist in the VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Kevin's video.
Lindsay Ah Mat
The number of Aboriginal people joining the NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services is growing by the year.
Trainers such as Lindsay Ah Mat, who is a coordinator for the Cadet Program, take great pride in the role they play in the increase.
She plays an active role in the recruitment of police cadets, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
Lindsay has introduced several new avenues to introduce young Aboriginal Territorians to possible police work, including visits by YouthWorX, Stars, Clontarf and the Girls’ Academy.
She is a finalist in the VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Lindsay's video.
Young offenders are being offered a priceless chance to get their lives back on track by undergoing automotive training.
They go from juvenile detention to the Youth Skills Centre at East Arm as part of the Back on Track program.
Trainer Brendan Flynn also teaches youngsters who are disengaged from school.
“My goal is to get the at-risk students to stop reoffending and stop them becoming institutionalised by giving them self-respect and a sense of pride in their work.”
He admits the job was a ‘baptism of fire’ but he is now achieving success after upgrading the training program to include individual projects.
Brendan is a finalist in the VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Brendan's video.
Zimbabwe-born Rufaro Nyamusara teaches English language, literacy, numeracy and business administration skills at Certificate I and II level to mainly Aboriginal prisoners through the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.
“They have often had limited formal Western education, often speak an Aboriginal language as their first or second language, have experienced intergenerational trauma and disadvantage, are culturally disconnected from their country, families, community and way of life, and have a limited work history.
“My students are often dealing with their choices and negotiating grief, loss and loneliness.
“Teaching in the prison environment demands calmness, focus and creativity to build trust, keep students engaged and capture their imagination.”
Rufaro is a finalist in the VET Teacher / Trainer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
View Rufaro's video.
Karen Sheldon Training
Karen Sheldon Training offers nationally accredited training in a wide range of industry sectors as part of its commitment to helping close the gap on Aboriginal economic disadvantage.
Its focus is on influencing change by inspiring, training and mentoring Aboriginal jobseekers to take their true place in the Australian economy.
This is done by bringing together students willing to make significant changes to their lives and employers wanting to be part of the change.
Karen Sheldon Training, a registered training organisation and a division of Karen Sheldon Group, is a finalist in the Small Training Provider of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd
Aurecon Australasia, a privately-owned, engineering and design advisory company, has been providing customised training and consultancy services to the mining, resources, electrical supply and renewables sectors since 1999.
The registered training organisation has trained thousands of Territorians to become qualified for jobs, including extensive upskilling programs.
It has grown this year despite the coronavirus crisis as it developed and implemented innovative solutions in a disrupted market.
Aurecon’s training is delivered to industry on-site across the NT, including in remote communities.
The company is a finalist in the Small Training Provider of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Taminmin College, a rural school with 1250 students from years 7 to 12, has an outstanding vocational education and training (VET) set-up.
The success of the model is demonstrated by the higher than national average completion rate, and the success and achievements of students transitioning into employment.
Taminmin is the largest school provider of VET programs and the only agricultural high school in the NT.
Industry-standard training facilities include automotive, construction and engineering skill centres; hospitality skills centre, incorporating a commercial kitchen; and a 75ha mixed produce farm.
Taminmin College is a finalist in the Small Training Provider of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Australian Defence Force
An imaginative collaboration between the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and the Australian Defence Force is making a career as a soldier more attractive for Aboriginal people.
The Regional Education and Development Course began in 2007 and was strengthened in 2013 through the Batchelor partnership.
Students are immersed in a shared culture of learning, while developing foundation skills and absorbing the beliefs, attitudes and practices in the Army.
The course aims for graduates to develop pride and confidence in their skills, while celebrating their culture.
Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Palmerston Children and Family Centre
About 90 Territorians under the age of 20 become mothers every year - and about half have a second child while still in their teens.
Research has demonstrated that many young mums and their children suffer significant social-emotional and socio-economic disadvantages, including a higher risk of experiencing domestic violence, sexual violence, mental illness, and alcohol and other drug problems.
The Young Mothers are Strong Mothers program at the Palmerston Child and Family was created to help break the cycle of disadvantage by providing strong health and educational support.
Led by the Department of Education, the program is a collaboration between Child Australia, the Department of Health and Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.
Young Mothers are Strong Mothers is a finalist in the Industry Collaboration category of the NT Training Awards.
Human Services Leadership and Support Worker Pilot Project - Alice Springs
The aim of the Human Services Leadership and Support Worker Pilot Project in Alice Springs is to create and develop a highly-skilled workforce for the sector.
The project sees 11 human services organisations from across the Alice Springs region come together.
It is on track to award 19 certificates to the Certificate III Individual Support group and 24 to the Diploma of Leadership group.
Crest NT and Response Training and Employment work closely with local employers, employees and peak bodies to make the collaboration a success.
The project is a finalist in the Industry Collaboration category of the NT Training Awards.
Berry Springs Mechanical
Berry Springs Mechanical, a locally-owned business that has operated in Darwin’s rural region for 25 years, is an important part of the community.
It offers a range of services, including automotive mechanics, and repairs, tyre fitment, battery fitment and call-outs.
The firm also attends to many other community needs - anything with an engine and, at times, things without an engine.
It works on generators, chainsaws, tractors, picking machines, motorbikes, concreting equipment, trucks and earthmoving equipment, although it specialises in light vehicle servicing and repairs.
The business constantly looks for training programs that will upskill the workforce.
Berry Springs Mechanical, which is owned by Beckie Kernich, is a finalist in the Small Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Mitchell Street Childcare Centre
Mitchell Street Childcare Centre (MSCCC) is in the heart of Darwin and has been providing high-quality childcare services for more than 40 years.
The not-for-profit organisation is continuing to maintain 100% occupancy and has a long-standing excellent reputation in the local childcare community.
MSCCC continues to provide support to all of their educators on their professional development journey.
It welcomes and supports opportunities for students across all industries within the vocational education and training sector.
MSCCC is a finalist in the Small Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Golden Nails and Beauty Palmerston
Penny Ngo worked in beauty salons while she was an international student - and realised that the firms didn’t offer enough training opportunities for staff.
So when Penny and her husband Cong Nguyen settled in Australia they bought Golden Nails and Beauty in Palmerston and immediately began training staff and expanding a greater range of beauty services.
“The two previous owners only did nails and waxing services in the salon, but since we took over we expanded services with an aim of increasing the business’ financial health and creating more jobs for locals.”
Golden Nails and Beauty is a finalist in the Small Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Hastings Deering (Australia) Ltd
Like many great companies, Hastings Deering started in a humble way - as a Ford dealer in 1932.
It’s now celebrating 88 years in business.
The company, which began operating in the Territory in 1948, has a strong reputation as a registered training organisation - it has given world-class training to many young Territorians.
Training covers everything from diesel fitting through Caterpillar equipment to systems training.
Apprentices are trained in skills that can be used anywhere in the world - in fact, former apprentices now work in America, Greece, Indonesia and Canada.
Hastings Deering is a finalist in the Medium Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Geotechnical services company HiQA has gone from a one-man operation in Katherine only 12 years ago to a thriving Darwin-based firm with NATA-accredited laboratories throughout the Territory and now in Perth.
The company, which delivers testing and sampling for the construction, defence, and mining industries, has 44 staff.
Major milestones include winning the 2015 Small Employer of the Year at the NT Training Awards and being a finalist in the Small Business category of the Telstra NT Business Awards.
HiQA won Telstra NT Medium Business of the Year and Overall NT Business of the Year in 2017.
The company has a good reputation for training young Territorians - for instance, Aboriginal team member James Acton was named Trainee of the Year at the Civil Construction Federation Northern Territory Training Awards in 2017.
It broke into the Western Australia market by winning a rail and airstrip contract at Koodaideri mine last year.
HiQA is a finalist in the Medium Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
NEC Australia Pty Ltd
The Territory’s largest non-government ICT employer takes training seriously.
Eighty percent of the staff at Darwin-based NEC Australia are undergoing some form of training at any given time.
Staff have had a total of more than 18,000 hours of training over the past 18 years - from internal refresher courses on WHS and cyber security to external vendor training and university studies.
NEC says “The importance of quality and relevant training to the successful delivery of ICT services in the Northern Territory cannot be understated.”
The company has more than 180 direct employees in the NT and a 40strong partner network servicing metro, regional and remote communities.
It recently invested in a new purpose-built office, which has a layout designed to encourage collaboration and skill sharing.
NEC Australia is a finalist in the Medium Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development
The Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development manages more than 12,500 dwellings across the NT’s 1.35 million square kilometres of landmass.
With a culturally diverse workforce spread across the NT, the department is proud to have so many employees who are passionate about the services they deliver.
The department funds and supports a variety of learning and development initiatives, for employees and the general public.
The programs achieve a variety of functions for the department and include corporate learning, soft skills, technical skills and general awareness. The department also provides training outside the department, including training to our contractors, training across government in remote community engagement, working with interpreters and funding contextualised company director training for newly elected local government councillors.
The department understands the complexity of skills required of employees to help achieve its targets and has established training teams within business units, including Capability Development and the Aboriginal Interpreter Service. Along with designing programs, these areas also partner with external training providers to develop and facilitate training.
The Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development is a finalist in the Large Employer of the Year category of the NT Training Awards.
Last updated: 06 October 2020
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