How to sell yourself in your WA Training Awards application

Just like writing a job application, the key to writing an application for the WA Training Awards is to sell yourself.

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Sometimes it can be hard to sell yourself in an application or an interview – you may feel like you are boasting about yourself. Don’t think of it as boasting – what you’re doing is providing the panel with the evidence they need to select you as a semi-finalist.

The most important thing you can do is talk about your skills, abilities and achievements in relation to the selection criteria and back it up with examples of when you’ve used those skills in your training and work.

Your written application is the deciding factor for whether you get an interview or not, so you need to ensure you’ve given the panel every reason to shortlist you.

Show don’t tell

Your application must include examples from your training and work. To really sell yourself, you need to show the panel through an example of when you’ve used those skills, don’t just tell them that you have the skills. If you’re not sure what examples to use, visit the Tools page on the WA Training Awards website and download the evidence guide for your category. Alternatively, brainstorm with your employer, lecturer, VET Coordinator or a colleague.

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What’s your message?

Be clear on what your message is. Why is your VET qualification and your career pathway important to you? What difference has it made in your life and therefore, what difference could a VET pathway make in anyone’s life? Once you are clear on this, weave your experiences around this message into your application.

For example, WA School-based Apprentice of the Year 2014 Taylor Wood wanted to show other school students that taking on a VET pathway isn’t a ‘second option’, that VET qualifications lead to rewarding careers just as tertiary pathways do. Taylor’s message was to encourage school students to pick a pathway that leads them to their dream career regardless of whether it was through VET or university.

WA Apprentice of the Year 2016 Brendan Carlson had been in the army for six years prior to starting his apprenticeship. For Brendan, it was his electrical apprenticeship that helped him to transition from military life back into civilian life. Brendan’s message was about the power of apprenticeships – how they can change your life and the opportunities apprenticeship pathways can provide for ex-Australian Defence Force personnel.

Understand the end goal

The judging panels are looking for ambassadors for the VET sector. People whose stories inspire others to follow in their footsteps. People who are passionate about what they do and know the value of the skills they’ve learnt to work in their field and have a successful career. When you apply for a WA Training Award, you are applying to be an ambassador, so show the panel why your knowledge, experience, journey and message sets a positive example for others.

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Selling yourself might not come naturally to you. For most people, it is not common place to self-promote and it would rarely be appropriate in any other social interaction. But when it comes to writing an application and preparing for an interview, put the time into considering your strengths and what sets you apart from others and ensure that is what you put into your application.

Applications for this year’s WA Training Awards close on Friday 5 May 2017. Sell yourself to our judging panels this year and submit your application today. Visit dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards for further information.

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.

I’ve submitted my application – what happens now?

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Congratulations on submitting your application for the WA Training Awards 2016 and putting your achievements in the spotlight this year!

Putting together an application for the WA Training Awards is not an easy thing to do. It’s designed to extract the best out of our applicants so our judging panels can understand the great lengths WA students, trainers, training organisations and employers go to in elevating the standard and outcomes of training in our state.

The hardest part of your journey might be over, but the best is yet to come. So what happens now?

Shortlisting

This week, our judging panels will commence shortlisting applications to select the top applicants in each category to go forward to interviews (individual applicants) and site visits (organisation applicants).

When will I be notified if I’ve been shortlisted?

We like to ensure our judging panels have sufficient time to give each WA Training Awards application the respect and consideration it deserves in order to shortlist the best applicants in each category.

Individual applicants will be advised by 22 June as to whether they have been shortlisted as a semi-finalist for the interview stage.

Organisation applicants will be advised by 8 July as to whether they have been shortlisted as a finalist for the site visit stage.

Interviews – Individual applicants

All individual semi-finalists will participate in an interview with their judging panels on Friday 15 July 2016 at North Metropolitan TAFE’s Northbridge campus. Applicants will be provided with an interview preparation pack and will have four weeks to ready themselves for their interview.

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Site visits – Organisations applicants

All organisation finalists will participate in a site visit at their premises with their judging panels between 25 July and 5 August. The panel’s executive officer will arrange the site visit at a suitable time for the panel and finalist, following the announcement of finalists on 8 July.

Moira and Nyles Employees were Process Trainees

For more information on what to expect throughout your WA Training Awards journey, visit The Awards process page on the WA Training Awards website or check out this year’s Key dates.

How to nail an interview

If you’re an individual semi-finalist, in three weeks, you’ll be sitting in front of your judging panel at the Semi-finalist Judging Day.

Here are five tips to help you steady the nerves and nail your interview.

1. Be prepared

Knowing your stuff!

  • You know that your interview questions are going to be based on the selection criteria for your category. Read through your application over the next few weeks, know what you’ve already told the judging panel and how you can expand on that. Read through the selection criteria again and think about anything you’ve achieved since you submitted your application or other examples you hadn’t put in.
  • You also have a list of sample questions in your interview preparation pack that you can practise with. Write up some responses to the sample questions and practice them out aloud a few times. Get family, friends or colleagues to practice with you.
  • Student semi-finalists have access to a mentor to assist you – get in contact with them to help you prepare, practice and put the polish on your interview.
  • Bring your notes – if there are a few points you don’t want to forget, write them down and bring them with you.
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If you prepare for your interview questons, you’ll be great on interview day!

Being prepared for your interview is not just about the questions you’ll be asked, it’s also about the logistics.

  • Know how to get there – look up the location at least the day before. If you’re driving, be realistic about how long it will take you to get there. Plan where you’re going to park. If you’re taking the train – know what time you need to be at the station so you arrive on time for your interview.
  • What are you going to wear? Make sure you’ve picked your outfit the day before so you’re not going through your wardrobe on interview day trying to decide.

If you plan all of these things in advance, you’ll be much calmer and clear-headed going into your interview.

2. Be relevant

Make sure you are answering the question that is asked of you, not trailing off on a tangent. Think about it in the context of your award category and your training pathway. All the questions are relative to the selection criteria and they aim to help the judging panel discover who the best ambassador for training is in your category.

3. Use positive body language

The panel want to see your confidence, that you have what it takes to be an ambassador for training in Western Australia. You can show them through simple positive body language.

  • Pay attention to your posture – sit up straight with pride in your achievements.
  • Try not to fidget – don’t stress, the panel expects you may be a little nervous but take a few deep breaths and try to relax your fingers and knees; these seem to be the fidgety culprits in interviews.
  • Make eye contact with your panel – look at the panel members when you’re answering your interview questions to establish a connection with each of them.
  • Uncross those arms – crossed arms are a standard defence mechanism and a form of comfort when you’re feeling under pressure. In this interview you have nothing to be defensive about. The judges want you to succeed and they’re privileged to have the opportunity to hear your story. So uncross those arms and let the panel see you.

4. Know your story

At your interview, you want to stand out from the rest. What’s your training story? What makes you different to the other semi-finalists? How has your training made an impact on your life? Why is it that you do what you do? Do you have a mission? What do you want to leave the judges thinking about when you walk out of the interview room.

This is the easiest part of all because there’s no wrong way to do it. No one knows your story better than you do so go in there and tell it!

5. Be yourself

The most important thing you can do in any interview is to be yourself. Show the panel who you really are. Don’t show them what you think they want to see or tell them what you think they want to hear. Just be yourself. Remember you’ve been chosen for a reason, think about what that might be and let it shine.

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 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.

Interview

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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?

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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.