Group Training Awards honour the 'matchmakers’ of vocational training

Media release | 13 October 2017

Deputy Premier and Minister for Skills John Barilaro has praised Group Training Organisations (GTOs) for the vital service they provide to the NSW Vocational and Education Training (VET) sector.

Mr Barilaro said the 2017 NSW & ACT Group Training Awards, held at Sydney’s Darling Harbour last night, rewarded and honoured the achievements of apprentices, trainees, host employers and group training organisations across a range of sectors.

“GTOs place apprentices with suitable host employers and this is critical to the State’s successful VET system,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The Apprentice Employment Network and its members are the backbone of the apprenticeship and traineeship system in NSW and have been for the last 37 years.

“As a former tradie myself, I’ve seen firsthand how apprenticeships and traineeships can transform the lives of young people and help businesses.

“GTOs are the ‘matchmakers’ of the sector and work hard to marry trainees and apprentices to the skills which best suit their aptitude, ability and lifestyle.”

Mr Barilaro said the winners last night included Ben McDonald, who took out the Apprentice of the Year Award, and Alicia Doolan, who claimed the Trainee of the Year Award.

“For Ben, it is the latest of many awards and scholarships throughout his four-year electrical apprenticeship working at Wambo Coal and Peabody. He is also an Australian Apprenticeship Ambassador and displays a strong sense of community.

“Alicia is a single mum who had limited education options and work experience prior to completing a marketing traineeship hosted by Precision Metal Group Australia. I understand she is driven by a desire to be a role model for her young daughter and felt VET would be the ideal pathway to achieve her goal.

“We want to attract more young people like Ben and Alicia to VET. That’s why we’ve embarked on our ‘Doors of Opportunity’ campaign to position VET as a credible pathway to a well-paid job and fulfilling career.

“Many don’t realise that around 78% of VET graduates are gaining employment after training compared to 69% of university graduates, while VET graduates also earn on average $2000 a year more than their graduating university counterparts,” Mr Barilaro said.

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