NECA Education & Careers awarded for GTO excellence by Apprenticeship Employment Network and celebrates their apprentice and trainee successes

Charlotte BeveridgeNews, TrainingLeave a Comment

AEN Award winners on stage

NECA Education & Careers was honoured last week by the Apprentice Employment Network, as the recipient of two awards in the Group Training Organisation category.

Katrina Kessaris and Patrice Vassiliou, who undertook their respective apprenticeship and traineeship with NECA Education & Careers, also took out the top prize in their categories.

The Group Training Organisation (GTO) Service Excellence Award was awarded to NECA Education & Careers for the ‘Woman and Their Trade’ (WaTT) program that was established to address the declining number of women in the electrical trades. The program was designed to change the attitudes of the electrical industry, one woman at a time, offering one-on-one support for these talented women to thrive in their chosen career. NECA Education & Careers partnered with our key electrical contracting partners to offer 26 women full-time, four-year electrical apprenticeships across the commercial and construction fields of the industry, all while focusing on gender equity and accessibility through our school engagement program and Try Your Trade events.

“This win is incredible for us, and for the women involved in the program. It reflects the industry’s desire to further embrace change and recognise the ongoing challenges, value, and contributions of women in the electrical industry,” said Stacey Fedden, Head of Workforce Planning and Development, NECA Education & Careers.

The WaTT program was an initiative funded by Apprenticeships Victoria within Minister Gayle Tierney’s portfolio, and easily achieved all milestones before its successful conclusion.

“We are working towards the next phase of this program. The win last night demonstrates the value the industry places on programs like this, and the contribution it makes to the lives of the women taking part in the program. We hope we will be able to continue this program in the coming years,” said John Taufer, GM Careers (Vic) and OHS, NECA Education & Careers.

NECA Education & Careers’ success continued with the award for Outstanding OHS Initiative which was received for the newly created Host Capability Program. This program was established to address the needs of NECA Education & Careers’ internal and external clients by providing specialised training as well as fostering a culture or safety. The program contributes significantly to reducing incidents, promoting compliance, and enhancing productivity.

“We identified a growing need within the larger project market amongst smaller potential hosts. In response to this, we developed a comprehensive program designed to assist businesses in navigating compliance obligations.

“The essence of this program is to serve as a supportive partner, ensuring a seamless alignment with ambitious growth objectives,” said Martin Major, Industry Careers Consultant & OHS Field Operations, NECA Education & Careers.

NECA Education & Careers was also delighted to share the success of two women who took out the top awards in their categories. Patrice Vassiliou was the recipient of the Inspiration Award – Disability Achievement.

Through the GTO structure, NECA Education & Careers employs apprentices and trainees, and places them with appropriate host employers for the duration of their apprenticeship or traineeship – up to four years. This arrangement provides a support network beyond a typical employment arrangement through mentoring and feedback from highly qualified Group Training Consultants. The NECA Education & Careers GTO team are also committed to ensuring the best possible fit for the host organisation.

Throughout her traineeship Patrice demonstrated that, with the right support and training, the strengths of people living with disability to achieve incredible outcomes can be harnessed. At the successful conclusion of her traineeship, Patrice secured a full-time role as a Victorian Public Servant where she continues to develop her skills.

Katrina Kessaris was the recipient of the Inspiration Award – Women in Trades category. Katrina is a 3rd Year electrical apprentice with NECA Education & Careers. As she progresses through her chosen career path, promoting women in trades has become Katrina’s mission. Through her participation in the ‘Women and Their Trade’ (WaTT) program, run by NECA Education & Careers, and now by acting as a mentor for women entering the industry, she offers support and guidance, and has become an industry advocate.

NECA Education & Careers believes that success in the GTO environment comes in many forms, but especially when they are working to make things better for priority cohorts, or those organisations that need help with establishing themselves as hosts to take on apprentices.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity and the right to work. By creating these program pathways, we remove barriers to employment for people living with disability and diversity groups,” said John Taufer, GM Careers & OHS (VIC), NECA Education & Careers.

NECA Education & Careers also celebrated the nominations of four more of their apprentices and trainees who were runners-up in their categories; Drue McEntee, Inspiration Award – Indigenous Student of the Year; Jenna Humphries, Cynthia Molnar, and Bridget Bottcher, all finalists in the Inspiration Award – Women in Trades; and Bridget Bottcher and Cynthia Molnar, both finalists for Apprentice of the Year.

NECA Education & Careers’ Traineeship Disability Employment Pathway Pilot was also a finalist in the GTO Service Excellence Award.


More information:

New Host Capability Program: For more information regarding the New Host Capability Program, please contact us.

WaTT program: For more information, please visit click here.

Apprentice Employment Network

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