September 4th, 2016

National Skills Week 2016 launched nationally on August 24 and widespread state and territory launches continued throughout this week in an effort to change existing attitudes toward Vocational Education and Training and showcase VET as a first choice. To help all Australians better understand how VET can connect them to successful career outcomes, Australian Training Awards Alumni made special appearances at state launches this week in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as in various schools across the country.

“Australian Training Awards Alumni join in on National Skills Week launch events to share their unique training and career stories and inspire others to take up a study pathway through VET,” General Manager at SkillsOne Kirstin Casey said.

“They are all very professional, well spoken individuals who have experienced first hand the many benefits that VET offers, and the many opportunities that are granted from a vocational training provider, such as taking up an Australian Apprenticeship and gaining invaluable on the job experience.”

The launches were a great success, bringing together Government, VET stakeholders, Industry, media and the general public in a combined effort to cement the valuable place that VET has in the nation’s education system, workforce and economy. State minister’s highlighted the Government’s priority of re- instating public confidence in the VET sector, and commended VET student achievements.

The line up of Australian Training Award’s Alumni that spoke at National Skills Week launches were varied and included the following; 2012 Australian School Based Apprentice of the Year Finalist Jessica Taggart, 2013 Vocational Student of the Year Finalist Lisa Cmrlc and 2015 Australian Apprentice of the Year Finalist Joshua Dales, to name a few. In addition to this, a number of Australian Training Awards Alumni spoke in schools throughout the week, talking to students to help them discover their passion and inspire career pathways through Vocational Training. These appearances assisted in spreading positive messages about VET and encouraged more students to consider study through TAFE, a Registered Training Provider or a Private Training Provider.

School speakers included; 2014 Vocational Student of the Year Finalist Rebecca Lyons Wright who spoke at Kanahooka High School in NSW, 2015 Australian Apprentice of the Year Finalist Taylor Fishlock who spoke at Palmerston Senior College in NT, 2015 Vocational Student of the Year Finalist Sebastian Barkoczy who spoke at St. Edmunds College in ACT and 2011 VET Teacher/Trainer of the Year Amanda Smith who spoke at the Hospitality Group Training Showcase Gala Dinner in WA.

2015 Vocational Student of the Year Finalist Sebastian Barkoczy found his dream career when he enrolled in an Advanced Diploma of Live Production, Theatre and Events (Technical Production). This study pathway led him onto many career opportunities and projects such as designing and building the stage and light show for graduation events at TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute. The impressive space he created reflected his vast skillset, provided to him by his Vocational Training experiences. VET also enabled Sebastian to enter the National Institute of Dramatic Art for further study, and his creative installations have been featured in Sydney’s high profile Vivid Festival. VET has allowed Sebastian to reach new heights and gain success in his chosen field.

For further information on Sebastian’s story or that of other Australian Training Awards Alumni and Australian Apprenticeships Ambassadors visit and

National Skills Week runs from August 29 to September 4 2016, with events continuing until the end of the week, in a show of success and support for the VET sector. For more information on the launches taking place visit the National Skills Week website:

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