Where are they now – Richard Stocker

Twelve years ago Richard Stocker won the WA Trainee of the Year. Richard was completing his second traineeship as a process plant operator when he won the award and has now gone on to become Sales Manager for international company Stork, a Fluor Company and Director of the Australian Institute for Non-Destructive Testing.

R Stocker Photo“Winning the award really gave my career a kick start and although I haven’t returned to a similar role, the experience was invaluable,” said Richard. “The award certainly opened up leadership positions very quickly. Some of the events that surrounded the Awards, like taking part in the Today’s Skills, Tomorrow’s Leaders program and the New Apprentice Roundtable, really gave me the skills to enter the management team with confidence.”

After completing his traineeship, Richard moved to the Pilbara and took up a position as a Non-Destructive Testing Technician at the Iron Ore Port. He soon moved on to a site supervisor position and then earned a promotion running the WA operations for Australia’s largest NDT company.

“I’m enjoying some frequent travel and meeting with clients and like-minded people, which keeps me engaged and interested in what I’m doing. My position as a Director gives me the opportunity to play an integral part in deciding the way forwards for the institute and allows me to give back to an industry that has given me so much in the past,” said Richard.

For Richard, the best thing about being involved in the WA Training Awards program and representing WA at the Australian Training Awards was meeting and networking with other finalists and like minded professionals.

“I still maintain close contact with the finalists and winners from other states and territories,” he said.

Richard’s advice for any trainee starting their career is to take up every opportunity available to you and to dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

“Don’t ever say no to a job, opportunity or training. Everything opens doors and sends you on your way to bigger and better things. Also, don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re too young or inexperienced to do what you want to do. Hard work and enthusiasm trumps experience any day of the week!”

Applications for this year’s WA Training Awards close on Friday 5 May 2017. If you want to take your career to the next level, put yourself in the spotlight and apply today at dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards.

Building your industry and VET sector knowledge

Part of the selection criteria for individual applicants refers to your knowledge of industry trends and the vocational education and training system and how you can be an effective ambassador for both.

It’s important to do your research to better understand what’s happening in your industry and the broader VET sector in addressing these criteria.

So how can you build your knowledge in these areas?

Talk to your lecturers/employer

This is a great place to start. Most VET lecturers started out in industry before becoming a lecturer and may have many years of experience in the workplace, giving them the added perspective of training people for industry.

They will have first-hand knowledge of current trends as it is part of their job to keep abreast of changes in technology, rules and regulations. This helps them to make sure their students are industry-ready.

Your employer may also be able to give you information on what is happening in your industry from a first-hand perspective, and be able to tell you what they do to keep up with progress or cope with change to ensure the success of their business.

It never hurts to ask questions and not only does it show interest in your industry, but your willingness to learn more. Remember, your lecturer or employer probably started out just like you and would be happy to share their experiences.

chefs in training

Your industry training council

Training councils provide information and advice on industry workforce development and training needs, and make recommendations to support those needs.

There are 10 training councils in WA, covering every industry imaginable, and they each have a wide network of employers, employees, training providers and industry organisations that they interact with.

Each of the training councils produces an Industry workforce development plan which profiles current industry analysis and trends.

Most importantly, the training councils will be shortlisting your application (school based apprentice, trainee, vocational student and apprentice categories only) so it pays to make contact and get their advice on industry trends and knowledge.

hairdresser in training

Skilling WA

Skilling WA – A workforce development plan for Western Australia is a comprehensive State Government plan which aims to build, attract and retain a responsive, flexible and diverse workforce for Western Australia.

Updated with a second edition in 2014, this document outlines the strategic direction of workforce planning and development in WA and is available from the Department website.

The plan contains useful statistics and outlines the State Government’s key areas of focus based around five strategic goals. Each of these have priority actions, which support the State Government’s overall aim of building the economic and community development needs of Western Australia.

Department of Training and Workforce Development website

The Department website contains more useful information than you can poke a stick at! There are latest news items and links to publications produced by the Department, such as the State Priority Occupation List and Regional workforce development plans. Visit the Workforce planning and development section for comprehensive information on workforce trends and the State’s workforce needs. There are also reviews, studies and reports to read and links to the Department’s many sub-sites, including ApprentiCentre and Career Centre. It’s a mine of information!

Mechanic and trainer

Your knowledge of your industry and the VET sector, could be the difference between being shortlisted and not being shortlisted for your category, so it’s important to do your research. To apply for a WA Training Award today, visit our website for everything you need.