Australia's most outstanding apprentices, trainees, training providers, vocational teachers and businesses have been recognised for their commitment to skills development at the 2012 Australian Training Awards.
Minister for Skills, Senator Chris Evans, said the prestigious annual awards recognise the best and brightest in Australia's vocational education and training sector.
"The winners are a benchmark for skills excellence and great role models for the nation," Senator Evans said.
"Training providers and teachers have been acknowledged for their critical role in skilling tomorrow's workforce.
"After being awarded the state or territory title in each of their categories, the six individual winners have now been recognised nationally as being at the top of their game.
"Tonight's winners are proof of what's possible with skills and a qualification.
"For individuals, skills are the passport to a better job, a bigger pay packet and a more rewarding working life.
"For businesses, skilled workers are critical for sustained success."
Senator Evans paid tribute to the late Peter Kirby AO who was awarded a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.
"Mr Kirby's highly respected work as a major policy reformer at both the federal and state levels enabled significant reforms of the skills sector," Senator Evans said.
"His contribution led to the establishment of the Australian traineeship system and saw the traditional apprenticeships model extended to include more qualification levels and occupations."
Senator Evans said the Gillard Government was committed to giving more Australians access to skills and training.
"Ensuring Australia has the skilled workforce needed to meet the challenges of the 21st century is a key priority," Senator Evans said.
"We have made an unprecedented investment of more than $15 billion in skills and training over the next four years to ensure more Australians have the opportunity to get a qualification, to upskill, to re-enter the workforce.
"We are committed to boosting training opportunities and, in turn, securing greater job prospects and long-term security for more Australian workers in the transitioning economy.
"Congratulations to the 2012 Australian Training Award winners.
"They are all very deserving of their place and should be proud of their achievements."
The winners were announced tonight at an awards ceremony at Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, in front of more than 800 guests.
A full list of winners can be found at the Australian Training Awards website.
Photo of the winners can be provided earlier by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media Contact: Minister's Office 02 6277 7580