Judges’ tips for writing an Award winning application

Putting together an application for this year’s Awards and need some advice? Who better to hear from than the panel members who’ll be assessing your application! Below are the top tips from last year’s individual and organisation judging panel members. Take these into consideration and your application could make the top of this year’s pile.



What makes an application clearly stand out and easy for you to put in the shortlist pile?

“An applicant that has clearly answered all the questions and is very clear about how their training will help them in the future.” – Kristie Carlile, individual category judge 2016.

What’s your best tip for writing an application that will get shortlisted?

“Take your time and don’t rush the application, as that is the first thing the judges see which is a representation of you. So you want to make sure you have introduced yourself, your goals and your passion articulately.” – Olivia Ruston, individual category judge 2016.


What should applicants include in their application?

“The training awards are about training and education so we would be looking to see how applicants came to study, why they chose the course they did and how they plan to use or make a difference with the training they have received.” – Kristie Carlile, individual category judge 2016.

What should you avoid putting in your application?

“Avoid mentioning experiences from other jobs and focus on your current apprenticeship or traineeship when answering each of the questions.” – Bethany Clarke, individual category judge 2016.


What makes an application clearly stand out and easy for you to put in the shortlist pile?

“Program/service outcomes need to be clearly defined – it can sometimes take a judge a few reads to determine how the program/service has improved over a period of time. It is also good to understand the success of the students post the program and see a comparison percentage of outcomes against state trends. So ensure quantitative data is provided to demonstrate outcomes, rather than elaborate generalised statements and present the information in a logical and well formatted manner.” – Anne Stannard, organisation category judge 2016

What’s your best tip for writing an application that will get shortlisted?

“I would suggest the applicant carefully analyses the question being asked and answers this in a methodical and clear manner, demonstrating their experience using the strongest examples relevant to the question.” – Rhonda Jamieson, organisation category judge 2016

What should applicants include in their application?

“When reading applications it is great to see a statement backed up with clear examples. Provide relevant evidence to support your statements. Be clear which award you are applying for and ensure your answers address the selection criteria.” – Rob Mitchell, organisation category judge 2016


What should applicants avoid in writing their application?

“Avoid being vague or assuming the judges will know what the applicant is explaining. Clearly respond to the questions and demonstrate experience.” – Rhonda Jamieson, organisation category judge 2016


Applications close on Friday 5 May 2017. Put yourself or your organisation in the spotlight and submit yours today! dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards


Applications for the WA Training Awards 2017 are now open!

The 2017 competition is now live!


“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.


“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.



“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.


“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.

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.

Ryan D'Souza 6


  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.



  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.

Financial counselling and youth

WA Vocational Student of the Year 2015 Katherine Haag is a qualified financial counsellor. But what exactly is financial counselling and how can it help the younger generation to make better financial decisions? We spoke to Katherine to find out more!

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“People from all walks of life can find themselves with money problems. Financial counsellors offer free, independent information, options and advocacy to help people develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to take control of their own financial situation. Essentially, we help people struggling with bills and debts to get back on track.

Financial counsellors also work within a community education space by providing consumer credit workshops and information on budgeting.

Young people between the ages of 15 to 30 are at a pivotal stage in their lives, the opportunities they have to engage in education, training and the workforce is shaped and impacted by their education and experiences as well as their socio-economic background. Young people starting out need to know their options in relation to credit, and getting into debt, also what is a credit file and buying a car etc, as by being informed and proactive we can set ourselves and Australia up for a secure financial future.

I undertook a Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) at Central Institute of Technology (now North Metropolitan TAFE) because I wanted to use my administrative and banking background and interest in sociology and advocacy to assist clients to overcome their financial hardship and empower them to take steps towards a more informed way of dealing with the complex world of money, credit and debt.

Through furthering my studies I have developed strong interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to relate well to people of all ages and backgrounds. My studies have taught me to use a strength based, client centred approach in all of the work that I do. The course also equips you to understand codes of conduct and professional rules and ethics surrounding the profession. The course provides practical, real life case scenarios and is hands on. You get to work on phases of everyday life; problem solving financial issues which affect everyone, and create and enhance budgeting techniques.

I really would like to see younger people, 25–40 in the profession. I believe that life experience is relative to the individual, you can meet a 25 year old who has experienced more life changing issues than a 45 year old who has led a sheltered and privileged life. I believe someone who has been in financial hardship themselves and overcome can be an empowering role model and therefore would have more empathy for the clients. Empathy is paramount in establishing trust, and without trust, positive lasting change cannot occur.”

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Katherine Haag won the WA Vocational Student of the Year because of her understanding of current issues and trends in her industry, her passion for the VET sector and the opportunities it has offered her, her work in the community, the clear goals she has for her future career and relatable qualities as an ambassador for training, her industry and young people. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be this year’s WA Vocational Student of the Year and an ambassador for the training sector, apply today! Applications close Friday 13 May 2016.

What to expect at the Semi-finalist Judging Day

Congratulations to this year’s individual semi-finalists! You should all be very proud of yourself for making it through to this stage of the WA Training Awards competition.

You will have received an interview preparation pack via mail and email with important information about the Semi-finalist Judging Day, when you’ll be interviewed by your judging panel.

So what can you expect from the Semi-finalist Judging Day?

There are three things that you’ll do at the Semi-finalist Judging Day:

  1. You’ll have your 35 minute interview with your category’s judging panel – that’s the main thing!
  2. You’ll have a professional photo taken.
  3. You’ll do a short film shoot.


judging panel cartoon

On your interview day, you have a head start. 15 minutes before your interview you’ll be handed your interview questions and given some quiet time to read over them and prepare responses. You’ve also got a list of sample questions in your interview preparation pack, so if you plan some responses to those questions, you’ll have a good idea of what’s coming on the day and how you might respond. Your interview questions are also based on the selection criteria you’ve already answered in your application. So for students, you can expect to be asked about your:

  • career and study achievements;
  • communication, team and leadership skills;
  • ability to represent the training system at a broader level; and
  • other pursuits outside of your training.

For trainer semi-finalists, you can expect to be asked about your:

  • excellence and innovation in your training practices;
  • student focus and outcomes;
  • professionalism and commitment to VET teaching and learning; and
  • links with industry and/or the community to improve training for your students.

So walking into your interview you’ll know exactly what you’re going to be asked; no surprises.

Professional photo

Last year's photo shoots

Last year’s professional photos.

This is the easiest part of the day. It will only take a couple of minutes, we’ll have a professional photographer on site to take your photo, seated against a backdrop. This photo will be used for promotional purposes should you be selected as a finalist in your category. All you have to do is sit and smile.

Film shoot

Film shoot at last year's Semi-finalist judging day

Film shoot at last year’s Semi-finalist judging day

Our video team will be set up in a quiet room ready to have a quick chat with you about your training journey. You don’t have to prepare anything in advance for the video. The interviewer will ask you a couple of questions about what training you’ve done, why you decided to do it and what it’s meant to you. There’s no need to be nervous, you won’t be doing your video infront of anyone but the video team and you are certainly not being judged on it. The video will be used at the presentation dinner if you are selected as a finalist in your category and in further Awards promotion if you are selected as a winner.

If you have any questions about the Semi-finalist Judging Day, don’t hesitate to contact us by telephone on 6551 5608 or email at trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au.

What happens next for individual applicants?

So you’ve done it! You’ve completed your application for the WA Training Awards 2015 to have the chance at putting yourself and your achievements in the spotlight. Congratulations!

You’ve had two weeks to breathe a sigh of relief that your application is done, but what happens next?


It might feel a bit like a waiting game for you, but with judging having just commenced – it is an exciting time for our judging panels who as we speak, are being inspired by your applications.

Shortlisting is now under way across all Awards categories. During this process, your application will be assessed against the selection criteria for your category and the top applicants will be selected as semi-finalists.

Shortlisting by training councils

For applicants in the Apprentice, Trainee, School Based Apprentice and Vocational Student of the Year categories, your applications will be shortlisted by the training council for your industry area. Each training council will select one applicant from each industry area in each category. During this shortlisting process, your training council may contact you to come in for an interview in order to select the best applicants going forward. This process results in a maximum of 10 shortlisted applicants for each of these categories.

Shortlisting by panels

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse and Trainer categories, your applications will be shortlisted by your category panel and up to 10 applicants in each category will be shortlisted.

When will I be notified if I have been shortlisted?

By Friday 12 June 2015, you will be notified in writing (email and letter) and by phone as to whether you have been shortlisted as a semi-finalist for your category.

What happens next if I am a semi-finalist?

If you are shortlisted as a semi-finalist you will be required to attend the Semi-finalist Judging Day on Friday 17 July 2015 at Central Institute of Technology in Northbridge. You will be provided with an interview preparation pack to help you prepare and student semi-finalists an allocated mentor for your category or industry area to support you through the process.

What if I live in a regional area?

The Department will arrange travel and accommodation for regional semi-finalists to attend the Judging Day.

For more information on the WA Training Awards process visit our website or contact the WA Training Awards team by email at trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au to help you with any enquiries.

Why you should get feedback regardless of the outcome

Applications for the WA Training Awards 2015 closed on Friday 8 May. We were thrilled to see so many applications this year and our judging panels are itching to get their hands on them to discover what incredible individuals we have in training this year and what innovative training organisations have been up to this year.

Over the next seven weeks, all of this year’s applications will be assessed and applicants will be shortlisted. Individual applicants will be advised as to whether they have been selected as a semi-finalist for interviews by Friday 12 June. Organisation applicants will be advised as to whether they have been selected as a finalist for site visits by Monday 29 June.


It’s important to get feedback on your application regardless of the outcome.

Regardless of the outcome, it’s important that you seek feedback on your application. Without feedback, you have no basis on which to improve, but you also might discover it was only the finest of lines between you and another applicant for the Award.

We encourage unsuccessful applicants to gain feedback at each stage in the process. This is an opportunity for you to improve on your skills for the next job application, grant letter or award application you write.

We also encourage our winners to seek feedback on their applications and interviews/site visit presentations following the WA Training Awards Presentation Dinner in September. This will not only put you in good stead for the Australian Training Awards if you’re in a direct entry category – it will also help you to understand where your strengths are so you can play to them in future, or if there are any areas you could further improve on.

At each point in the selection process, you will be prompted to contact the WA Training Awards team for feedback. We hope to hear from you.

We want your feedback too!

At the WA Training Awards, we are always trying to improve our processes to deliver the best program we can each year. Shortly applicants will be emailed a quick survey to provide feedback on the application process. We’ll also request your feedback following the Semi-finalist Judging Day and the Presentation Dinner. Your feedback is imperative to the continuous improvement of the WA Training Awards program. We do hope you’ll take the time to respond.

If you have any questions about the Semi-finalist Judging Day or the site visit process, please direct them to trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au or call 6551 5609.