Training offers new beginnings for new migrants

Moving to a new country offers many opportunities for a fresh start, but like any new adventure, it can take some time to find your feet. WA Cultural Diversity Training Award winners Maureen Guiloy and Jasmin Porter share their experiences of what it was like coming to Australia and how their training pathways opened doors to new career options.

Maureen’s story

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Maureen migrated from the Philippines to Australia with her family in 2012 and moved to the Wheatbelt town of Northam.

“I studied a Foreign Service Major in Diplomacy in the Philippines but that was not very useful to me when I moved here and I started looking for a job.”

When Maureen first moved to Australia the hardest obstacle to overcome was not speaking the language. “The language barrier is indeed the hardest thing to make adjustments to, mainly because it is the main tool for you to get acquaintances and associate yourself with people. I did not find cultural differences difficult to adjust to because Australia recognises cultural diversity and provides many opportunities regardless of cultural background,” she said.

Maureen worked three part time jobs at a local fast food restaurant, as a cleaner at a cafe and at the Yongah Hills Immigration and Detention Centre and it was a colleague that suggested she study a Certificate II in Leadership Development to gain confidence and skills in an Australian workplace. Despite the language barrier, Maureen enrolled at her local TAFE.

“Getting a TAFE course and finishing it came in handy and every door of opportunity opened up for me,” Maureen said. “Being in training, you get to choose your own direction, build your own pathway, enhance the skills that you currently have and develop a new skill as you move forward.”

Maureen now works as an Administrative Assistant at Central Regional TAFE in Northam which is providing her with more opportunities to grow and learn.

An active member of her community, Maureen founded the FilipinOz group in Northam to assist other culturally diverse people throughout the Wheatbelt. She is currently doing ranger training and Municipal Law Enforcement to expand her knowledge and educate fellow migrants on local laws to lead by example.

Jasmin’s story

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“I migrated to Moora, a country town in the Wheatbelt in February 2014 from Switzerland because my husband and I decided to build our lives together in Australia. I hold a Bachelor degree in Speech and Language Therapy and worked as a Speech Pathologist in Switzerland for two years,” said Jasmin.

However, Jasmin’s Swiss qualifications weren’t recognised in Australia and so she found a job at the Moora District Child Care Centre.

“I was encouraged to study the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care to enhance my skills in the position as an educator. This course has helped me to gain knowledge about children’s learning and development and put it into practice at work,” said Jasmin.

“It is not easy to start a new life in a foreign country but doing further training opens up new doors and creates job possibilities. It enables people with English as a second language to improve their communication skills and therefore to actively take part in the community.”

Jasmin’s training has increased her communication skills, introduced her to new members of her community and enhanced her previous knowledge, but one of Jasmin’s favourite parts of her training was a unit in her course on cultural competency.

“Ongoing learning and reflective practice are essential to become culturally competent. Being from a different cultural background I am able to share parts of my culture with children and staff and help them to develop their own cultural identity.”

“Living in a remote town can make it difficult for people to access help and support and there are sometimes not many job opportunities. It can definitely increase your chances of getting a job if you have a qualification.”

 

If you’ve migrated to Australia in the last five years and are currently training for a better future, apply for the WA Cultural Diversity Training Award 2017. Visit dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards for more information.

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Applications for the WA Training Awards 2017 are now open!

The 2017 competition is now live!

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“Apply for the WA Training Awards and who knows where it might take you. Say yes to all opportunities available to you,” Louise Brookes, WA Vocational Student of the Year 2016.

The WA Training Awards recognise WA’s top achieving apprentices, trainees and vocational students, the dedicated lecturers driving students to success and the training organisations and businesses raising the bar for quality training and a skilled workforce for WA.

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“You’ll get to put your name out there and you’ll also get to meet some very important people who will be able to help you develop and progress through your career,” Liam Brien, WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2016.

For individual applicants, the WA Training Awards is an opportunity for professional development, networking with likeminded individuals and high level people in the VET sector and potential career progression.

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“In terms of training and corporate social responsibility it just shows us in a different light and different capability. It’s recognition that we put a lot of emphasis on training and career development,” Amanda Hamilton, Civmec Construction and Engineering, WA Employer of the Year 2016.

For organisations, applying for the WA Training Awards is an opportunity to highlight the work your organisation is doing in addition to your core business. The Awards inspire organisations to get together and work as a team, celebrating what you’re doing well and planning for continuous improvement.

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“It’s a really good opportunity to review your own organisational practices, to plan for the future and also to network with your peers in the training sector,” Scope Training, WA Small Training Provider of the Year 2016.

In 2017, there are 12 award categories. Each winner will receive $5000 in cash and prizes and winners in eligible categories will also have the opportunity to represent Western Australia at the Australian Training Awards in Canberra in November.

The WA Training Awards judging panels know WA is home to highly motivated individuals, dedicated trainers, and top quality, innovative training organisation and businesses and they can’t wait to read your applications.

Visit the WA Training Awards website to download an application guide today.

Applications close Friday 5 May 2017.

Attend the webinar!

The Awards team will be running two webinars – one for individual category applicants and one for organisation category applicants on Friday 3 February 2017. These sessions will provide an overview of the process, how to apply, tips and tricks and will assist applicants with any questions they may have about this year’s program. Email trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au to register your interest in the webinars.

To stay up to date on all the latest news, follow the WA Training Awards on Facebook, InstagramTwitter, LinkedIn and YouTube or subscribe to the WA Training Awards blog.

School-based training for a successful future

Thalia Wilkinson won WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2015. While still at school, Thalia was interested in a career in electrical engineering and robotics so she chose to do a school-based apprenticeship with a Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician to kick start her path in the electrical field.

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“It made sense to me to do an Electrical Apprenticeship because not only does it provide many opportunities career wise but we use it every day. Not only would it help me personally doing simple maintenance around the house but it would allow me to travel and find a job anywhere I went.”

For Thalia, the benefits of starting her apprenticeship while still at school were not just the industry knowledge and experience she gained, but how it prepared her for full time work and allowed her to slowly build her knowledge and understanding of the workplace before leaving school.

“My school-based apprenticeship allowed me to prepare for my role for when I went full time by allowing me to experience small amounts of what would be required on a day to day basis over time. One day I would learn about the strenuous activity of fault finding, the next I would be spending most of my day filling in paperwork and after that cleaning and maintaining the electrical work in a community building. There is a lot to learn especially in an industry that is so diverse, so being able to learn a little bit each time helped me a lot and ensured I was prepared when I continued my apprenticeship full time.”

Thalia finished school at the end of 2015 and gained a full time apprenticeship with her employer Collins Electrical. She is loving what she’s doing and feeling more and more able to take on tasks independently.

“Being an apprentice full time compared to a part time school-based apprentice is very different. I have gained more on the job experience, been given more tasks to complete by myself and in a team and I do generally feel more a part of the company now that I am there full time. The only down side I can say is having to get up early five days a week but that is something I can easily overcome (with time).”

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Thalia is the only female electrician in her team. While it’s not always easy, she won’t let that stand in the way of achieving her goals.

“Being a female in a male dominated area is a challenging issue I face every day. However these are the things I take in my stride. I can’t wait to see the day where gender is not an issue in this line of work as I would prefer to receive compliments for the quality of my work and not for my gender.”

Thalia encourages more female students to take up the challenge and go for their dreams, regardless of the gender history of their chosen industry.

“Nothing should hold you back from doing something that you want to try out or enjoy and there should be no reason why females shouldn’t get into traditionally male dominated roles.”

If you’d like to know more about school-based apprenticeships, traineeships or VET in Schools programs, visit the Department of Training and Workforce Development’s School students page or talk to your school’s VET Coordinator

What to look forward to at this year’s WA Training Awards Presentation Dinner

It’s just four weeks until this year’s WA Training Awards Presentation Dinner and we’re getting very excited about the amazing celebration we have planned for this year’s finalists and winners. Tickets are on sale now, so make sure you book yours online via  e.mybookingmanager.com/WATrainingAwards

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For many of our stakeholders, attending the WA Training Awards has become something to look forward to each September and for our first time finalists, this event is your opportunity to celebrate your achievements and be acknowledged for the hard work and dedication you’ve shown.

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The venue

The WA Training Awards 2016 Presentation Dinner will be held in the BelleVue Ballroom at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Mounts Bay Road, Perth.

When you arrive you’ll be greeted by the WA Training Awards team at the registration desk where you can collect your name badge and check out the seating plan to determine where you’ll be seated in the ballroom. Then relax with a pre-dinner drink and enjoy the beautiful views over the Swan River and Elizabeth Quay before the formalities commence.

 

Gala glamour

The BelleVue Ballroom will be set out in grandeur, with tables dressed for 550 guests and our roving spotlights highlighting the stars among our attendees. We’ll be putting on a great audio visual experience for everyone to really get into the feel of the night. This is your opportunity to dress to impress. The dress code for the night is lounge suit or cocktail attire. Our photographer will be on hand to snap guests as they arrive looking stunning on the red carpet. Check out our photo gallery or Facebook photos from previous years for ideas.

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The celebration

Official proceedings will commence and 7pm and that’s when the real celebrations start. With speeches from some of our distinguished guests as well as updates from our 2015 individual winners throughout the night you’ll feel truly accomplished and excited for what could be ahead in the next 12 months. Throughout the evening you’ll be treated to quality WA food and beverages. All finalists will be acknowledged on stage and the 2016 winners of this year’s WA Training Awards will be announced!

Entertainment!

During the dinner break, you can enjoy the relaxing tones of Aurora Acoustics – a Perth-based duo studying music at Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Once the official proceedings are complete, dance the night away to Adam Hall and the Velvet Playboys with jazz, rhythm and blues covers from the 40s to now and celebrate your success on the dance floor.

It’s sure to be another great Awards celebration so get your tickets today! Bookings close Friday 9 September 2016.

You’ve put in the hard yards – what happens next?

Congratulations to all of this year’s WA Training Awards finalists!

This year we have 42 finalists contending for honours in this year’s awards. You should all be very proud of yourselves for all the hard work you’ve put in to get to this stage of the competition.

So what happens next?

Well the good news is – the hard work is done! Individuals have completed their interviews and organisations have now completed site visits with their panels. You’ve done all you can do and now it’s up to our judging panels to make the very difficult decision of selecting winners for each category.

Sit back, put your feet up for a few weeks and find yourself an outfit to wear to this year’s WA Training Awards Presentation Dinner!

The Presentation Dinner

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The WA Training Awards 2016 Presentation Dinner will be held in the BelleVue Ballroom at Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday 23 September 2016. Bookings for this year’s event are now open and invitations have now been sent out, so look out for yours in the post and recruit your friends, family and colleagues to come along and celebrate your success to date.

At the Presentation Dinner, all finalists will be recognised on stage and the winner of each category will be announced.

Winners in eligible categories will have the opportunity to represent WA at the Australian Training Awards in Darwin this November.

Visit our website for more details on the WA Training Awards process and booking tickets for this year’s event.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Organisation site visits – how to stand out from the rest

For organisations, the WA Training Awards are not only an opportunity to recognise the great work your organisation and staff have done, they are also an opportunity to be recognised on the national stage as the best in the State and potentially the best in the country at what you do.

If your organisation has been selected as a category finalist in 2016, you will participate in an on-site visit and interview with your category’s judging panel between 25 July and 5 August 2016.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you prepare for your site visit and create a memorable experience for your judging panel.

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How to structure your site visit

Your site visit is an opportunity to demonstrate in a practical sense the great work your organisation is doing within training.

It’s up to you how you wish to structure your site visit. Ideally at some point you’ll want to give the panel a tour of the facilities and the panel will want to ask you a few questions. You may wish to give a short presentation about your organisation to introduce your organisation to the panel, or you may do this during your tour depending on what works for you. A sample structure might be:

  • Introduction to the panel
  • Tour the facilities
  • Question time – where the panel will ask you a few questions relating to your organisation and application with regards to the selection criteria.

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Include relevant staff, students and trainers in your site visit

The best site visits/interviews are those that include staff/students undertaking training, and those from your organisation who are heavily involved in the management of the program.

All staff involved in the site visit should be familiar with the written application submitted by your organisation and the aim of the award category.

Consider what makes your organisation/program excellent

The WA Training Awards are about rewarding excellence. Our judging panels will be looking for evidence of where your program/organisation goes above and beyond to achieve a positive outcome for staff/students as applicable.

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Think outside the square

If you want to stand out from the other finalists, think outside the square and make your site visit interesting for the panel. Keep it relevant, but incorporate what it is that makes your organisation unique to provide the panel with a memorable experience and understanding of your organisation.

If you have any questions about your upcoming site visit, contact your panel’s executive officer or contact the WA Training Awards team at trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au.

How to impress the judges at your Semi-finalist Judging Day interview

Congratulations to all of our individual applicants who have made it through to the next stage – the Semi-finalist Judging Day sponsored by MEGT on Friday 15 July.

With just a few more days to prepare before your interview, we’ve put together a few points to help you impress your judging panel and stand out from the rest during your interview.

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  1.  1. Preparation

The key to any interview is to be prepared. The judges will be looking for someone who ‘knows their stuff’. It’s been several months since you submitted your application so make sure you re-acquaint yourself with the selection criteria and what you included in your responses. Use the interview preparation pack provided to you to practice with some sample interview questions and start thinking about some real work examples you can use in your responses. This will help you to feel more prepared for what’s to come during your interview.

 

 

  1. Confidence

For most people, interviews have a habit of making us nervous. But keep in mind, the judging panel want you to succeed. They’ve read your application and shortlisted you because they saw something in you that impressed them and they want to meet you in person. Remember you are in that room for a reason and you deserve to be there. The WA Training Awards is an ambassadorial program, therefore our judging panels will be looking for confident ambassadors for the training sector; people who can inspire others into training.

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  1. A point of difference

The WA Training Awards are about rewarding excellence. Excellence most often shines through when someone is different and unique. Think about what your point of difference is. What is it that makes you, your story and your training pathway unique? How can your experiences inspire others to get into a training pathway?

 

  1. VET sector and industry knowledge

As an ambassador for the WA training sector it’s important to have a good understanding of your industry and the VET sector. Talk to your employer, trainer or your industry training council to get some advice on the current workforce situation and where your industry fits into the bigger picture.

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  1. Put yourself at the centre

This interview is about you. Although you may work in a team, you may follow directions from a line manager and you may do group assignments and projects, the panel want to hear about YOU specifically. Instead of focussing on how your organisation implemented something – talk about your role in this implementation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with discussing projects with a team focus but when preparing for your interview and practising responses, try to avoid using the word ‘we’. Think about what you have done specifically and what the outcomes of your specific actions were in the project/example. For this awards program, it’s important to be able to sell yourself and your accomplishments with humility.

 

  1. Relatability

The judges will be looking for someone who is relatable. This refers to your personality, but also to your ability to relate your experiences to those of others. As an ambassador you will be talking to people who are interested in many different career paths at many different points in their lives. The panel will be looking for someone who can take their training pathway and experiences to provide advice for others who may be interested in taking up training, regardless of the industry area.

Taylor Wood at the 2014 WA Training Awards

 

 

If you have any further questions about your upcoming interview, feel free to get in contact with the WA Training Awards team at trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au.