Where are they now – Emma Stevenson: a role model for women in trades

In 2013 Emma Stevenson won the WA Apprentice of the Year. As a mature aged apprentice, Emma completed Certificate III Engineering – Electrical and Certificate IV Engineering – Instrumentation working with Chevron.

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“It was very surreal to be winning an award for my training pathway. I think all apprentices doubt themselves a lot throughout their training, so it was great to have such recognition,” Emma said. “It’s really great to have apprenticeships celebrated in this way as it is a hard commitment to make and is often under-valued, even though it can lead to really interesting careers.”

For Emma, the way she was seen within her industry changed dramatically following her award win and provided her with a platform to encourage other women to get into trades and the mining industry.

“Winning the award opened up many opportunities for me to be an ambassador for apprenticeships and also for females in trades. I got to speak at schools, training forums and to training councils, as well as compete in the 2013 Australian Training Awards. These opportunities pushed me out of my comfort zone in terms of public speaking but it was invaluable for my professional development.”

In 2014 Emma was also awarded the CME Women in Mining ‘Outstanding Operator/Tradesperson of the Year’ and represented WA at the national Women in Mining Convention.

“I am also a volunteer with Trade Up Australia, a not-for-profit group supporting female tradespeople and encouraging young females to consider careers as tradespeople.”

Emma has now moved on from her role as an Electrical Instrumentation Technician and works as a Production Technician on the Wheatstone LNG project.

“The Wheatstone LNG Project is the largest scale project I have ever seen, it is exciting to be a part of and I wish everyone could see it. It is such a good project for WA in terms of providing jobs during construction and unique careers in resources when producing. I’m hoping it provides a pathway for apprentices and trainees for decades to come.”

Emma’s advice to young women looking at careers in mining and trades industries is to give it a go.

“Don’t be put off by the opinions of others in terms of your suitability, it takes all kinds of people to be a part of a successful team and you won’t know if you don’t try it for yourself. You will learn to adapt to challenges and often times the things that challenge you the most give you a chance to make improvements that benefit everyone.”

The importance of proofreading your WA Training Awards application

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Applications for the WA Training Awards 2017 close in just two days, so now is the time to put the finishing touches on your application.

One of the most important things you can do over the next few days is set aside some time for proofreading.

To put your best foot forward, you want to make sure that your application is easy to read and presents you or your organisation in the most positive light possible.

Below are a few things to check when proofreading your application.

Does it make sense and have you answered the question?

Working on an application over time, we often rewrite things, delete paragraphs and sentences and add content as we go. Take the time to ensure you haven’t left any half sentences hanging when you’ve been chopping and changing information around.  Confirm that what you have written makes sense and your response to each criterion answers the question being asked of you. The judging panel should be able to easily understand what you have written without ambiguity so make sure it is as clear as possible.

Spelling and grammar

The WA Training Awards judging panels recognise that awards applications are not easy things to write and sometimes little mistakes slip through. However, continual spelling and grammatical errors in an application tend to give the panel the impression that you may not have given the application the attention it deserves. When an application is poorly written it undermines the hard work and determination you’ve put in to doing your best in your training.

One of the criteria for students is about communication skills. It is important to make sure that your application is written well and your messages and responses are clear.

You want the panel to recognise the work you’ve put in to this application, the dedication you have to the process and your committment to a role as an ambassador for the training sector.

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Eliminate jargon and explain things clearly

Don’t assume that the panel understand what is involved in your job or training specifically, as they may work in completely different industries. When using examples from your training and work, it’s important to clearly explain to the panel what was involved in that particular process or part of your job/training in order for them to understand the significance of the example.

Are there areas that can be improved?

Sometimes when we make the time to read over what we have written, we realise there is a much simpler way of saying something or we see where something could be communicated better.

Take the time to think about what you have written and whether you can make any improvements or add more hard hitting examples before you press that submit button.

Proofreading improves the quality of your application and may be just what you need to transform your application from middle of the pack to the top of the pile.

Applications for this year’s WA Training Awards close on Friday 5 May 2017. Put your best foot forward and submit your application today. Visit dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards for further information.

Need assistance with your WA Training Awards application?

The countdown is on to submit your application for this year’s WA Training Awards 2017. If you really want to put yourself in the spotlight but you’re finding answering the selection criteria a little bit difficult, ask for help! Here are a few places you can go for assistance.

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Consult the WA Training Awards team or website

The WA Training Awards website has a wealth of information to help you with your application. The best place to start is the Tools page – here you’ll find examples of award winning applications so you can see how others have answered the criteria and you can check out the evidence guides to give you more information on what kinds of examples and evidence you can use to answer each criterion.

If you’re having trouble understanding the criteria or have any other queries, contact the WA Training Awards team by emailing trainingawards@dtwd.wa.gov.au.

Talk to your employer, lecturer or VET Coordinator

Your employer and lecturer are people who work in your industry. They may be able to help you with information on the latest industry trends, regulations and new developments in your industry or workplace that may be relevant in the context of your application.

If you’re still at school, your VET Coordinator will be able to give you a good understanding of the VET sector and assist you in understanding the selection criteria.

Your employer, lecturer or VET Coordinator may also be able to assist in brainstorming examples of times during your training or work that you have demonstrated certain skills outlined in the criteria and achievements you’ve gained throughout your training.

Contact student services at your training provider

If your TAFE/training provider has a student services team, contact them to see if they can offer any advice and assistance in writing a winning application. They may also be able to point you in the direction of further assistance from lecturers or other industry contacts.

Talk to your industry training council

There are nine training councils in WA covering all industry areas. The training councils are industry bodies providing strategic advice to the Department of Training and Workforce Development on industry skill needs. They can assist you with information and advice on training needs, current issues and skills shortages within your industry and much more. Visit the State Training Board website for a list of industry training councils and contact details.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need to broaden your understanding and submit the best possible application for this year’s WA Training Awards. Applications close on Friday 5 May 2017. Visit dtwd.wa.gov.au/trainingawards for more information or to submit your application today.

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.

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.

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.

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TIPS FOR INDIVIDUAL APPLICANTS

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.

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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.

TIPS FOR ORGANISATION APPLICANTS

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

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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!

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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.

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