Sample Education Award Writing

{CLiENT} TRAiNiNG AWARD ENTRY: {iNDiViDUAL NOMiNEE}

Section A: Provide an overview of the trainer/teacher’s areas
of expertise, qualifications, courses/classes taught, education and work background, a description of the environment in which the trainer/teacher operates and any specific challenges which were encountered and may have had to be overcome during the course of teaching/training.

{NOMiNEE} is a respected vocational education trainer and assessor at {CLiENT}, with over thirty years’ experience, and counting, in the community services sector.
{NOMiNEE} remains active in the industry through her work, continuing studies and training of the next generation of community service workers.
{NOMiNEE} trains Aged Care, Disability and First Aid learners, with a strong focus on her niche expertise in manual handling. She has completed Cert IV in Training & Assessment for both Aged Care and Disability, a Diploma in Community Services; and recently upgraded her Diploma in Vocational Education and Training to comply with the updated trainer requirements from April 1 2019.

Training students in what is arguably one of the toughest disciplines of VET has presented {NOMiNEE} with the challenge of creating an authentic learning experience that accurately reflects the often challenging and potentially confronting working environment her students typically encounter when they enter the workplace.
With the intention of familiarising these students with nursing home environments at the earliest possible stage of their learning journey, {NOMiNEE} excels at finding creative ways to bring nursing homes into the classroom. For this purpose she favours regular site visits paired with extensive role play and accompanying video footage. Through the innovative use of these and other resources typically at her disposal {NOMiNEE} is able to present students with a multi-dimensional and hyper realistic simulation of their expected day to day working life. This method of teaching, which {NOMiNEE} adapts with fluidity in order to complement the needs and strengths of each individual student, allows learners to make fully informed decisions regarding their vocational education journeys and what will ultimately be their chosen career path once they complete their studies and officially enter the workplace.

Criterion 1: Excellence and initiatives
Consider: What involvement have you had in the development of new learning methodologies and training delivery? An initiative you have implemented which has led to innovation/improvement in your delivery and/or assessment practice. How have you shared the outcomes of your innovation/improvement with your colleagues? What has been the impact of these initiatives/ improvements on your learners, your colleagues and your industry partners?

I am incredibly proud to have had in depth involvement in the development of crucial new learning materials for my colleagues and students at {CLiENT}. As a result of both my own extensive research and continued hands on experience, working and training in community services for more than thirty years, I have singlehandedly created a resource that is now being used as an additional learning material in manual handling workshops. An initiative with the safety and wellbeing of my colleagues, fellow trainers, student community and patients at the heart of it. These resources are now routinely being used to inform learning methodologies and to improve training delivery.
The learning materials I developed address gaps in knowledge and advise on best practice for safe lifting. This has simply been what can only be described as a work of heart, stemming from repeatedly witnessing many related and potentially avoidable incidents. Specifically incidents where aged care workers have been affected or injured due to a lack of teaching in the area of safe lifting. Once I identified this gap in training and noted that traditionally assessments in work health and safety have been based in theory and not taught at a practical level, I set about creating a resource focused on targeting this gap in knowledge.
To do this I incorporated a significant role play element to the theoretical module, based wholly on my experiences in the workplace and the deep knowledge I have gained in terms of necessary safeguards and precautions for the consistent practice of safe lifting. 

In addition to this I have also developed innovative additional study elements for application in {CLiENT} first aid courses. These include equipping students with a much more in depth knowledge of CPR, including improvements in the context of pacemaker maintenance and a ‘what to look for’ checklist relating to the safety of defibrillators when pacemakers are present.
Once again I focused on incorporating role play and a more practical style of as an integral part of these improvements to existing learning materials.

As an example of the far reaching impact of these developments, I am happy to report that these augmented first aid modules have been workshopped extensively with {CLiENT} trainers across the aged care and disability sectors, and have even been extended to childcare trainers.

The ongoing impact of the improved resources I have implemented at {CLiENT} has been formally noted by my colleagues, fellow trainers, students, their employers and of course our patients.

Thankful for all that my trainer {NOMiNEE} taught us, and how – using so many different techniques that allowed her students to enjoy the learning process and absorb so much along the way.

All have felt the knock on effects of these advances in learning methodologies and training delivery with new, updated skills enabling confident, knowledgeable trainers to pass on current, safer working practices from the top down.
This in turn has ensured the wellbeing of students both on placements and in the workplace, for example reducing the number of accidents and injuries – and consequently diminishing one of the recognised drawbacks to selecting aged care as a vocation.
These changes also benefit current and prospective employers, and therefore our industry partners, as students now enter the workforce with improved and optimum skills in the areas of both patient care and their own wellbeing as workers within the industry.

Most importantly, in utilising the materials I developed to achieve this, and by implementing them at the earliest possible stages of a student’s educational journey, I believe we have significantly elevated the overall standard of excellence in patient care.

Criterion 2: Learner needs and focus
Consider: How do you support the diverse needs of your learners and ensure they continue to be engaged in their learning journey? What evidence is there of the effectiveness of the design and delivery methodologies of your training program? Examples where you have initiated a new idea/ activity etc. in response to feedback. Examples of the learner/industry/community feedback mechanisms that you use?

Finding fresh, creative ways to support the diverse needs of my learners is one of the most important elements of my role as a trainer here at {CLiENT}. I have seen first hand that engaged students evolve to become passionate carers and as such I believe that the quality of the learning experience I provide carries as much weight as the lessons and skills I’m here to teach.
In order to facilitate this and create an environment that enables each student to thrive I first identify individual strengths and individual needs. I then proceed to design the learner experience from the perspective of how my students learn, as opposed to how I teach. In doing this I have notice certain patterns and trends in terms of what is consistently effective in engaging students and I use these methods to form the foundations of our learning environment.
For example, the visual element is so incredibly important to sharing the reality of transferring skills from the classroom to the workplace that I make a point of incorporating it at every possible step of the way. For new students this is achieved through the use of video footage which allows me to routinely transport them to their future place of work, simulating the atmosphere and feel of a nursing home setting. A fundamental tool, particularly in courses with intensive theory elements, as it imparts a practical feel to stages of learning that are typically theory focused.
The natural next step here is of course site visits and as I continue to work within the industry, as well as teaching within it, I am in the unique position of being able to bring students into my workplace as a regular part of our study routine. This means the process of relationship building with employers as well as with patients begins at the earliest possible point on their learning journey.
This delivery methodology offers students valuable insight into the mindset of carers working in their chosen profession, and an authentic assessment of the challenges faced, well before the practical and work placement stage of their qualification.
In addition to these initiatives, I adapt to provide students who require a more personalised one on one style of teaching in order to thrive with this requisite level of support. I focus on instilling confidence in their abilities and using my knowledge of their learning style to strengthen perceived weaknesses. For example some may express concern at the placement stage of their studies and I would then extend my support by both working with them on resume writing and tailoring our time together to incorporate interview practice and role plays.
I take pride in not only teaching set skills, but also in mentoring my students and nurturing each as an individual.
Through industry consultations and a feedback mechanism that allows me to flexibly adapt course structure to meet their needs I have ascertained that the innovative practical design of my courses is highly regarded by the community. This is also evident through the sheer number of students going on to employment with their work placement sponsors. In fact, once employed they continue to progress their careers with long term employment and promotion to supervisory roles.
As the lead trainer at {CLiENT} I am also called on to assess, train and mentor other trainers and I would also present this as validation of my methodologies and their continuing success with students who repeatedly return to {CLiENT} for further studies, and who specifically select me as their preferred trainer – they may come as students but they leave as friends.

Criterion 3: Commitment to VET teaching and learning
Consider: How do you maintain and grow your own skills and knowledge? How do you support others to develop their skills and knowledge? Provide examples of your engagement with other VET professionals?

I have completed Cert IV in Training & Assessment for both Aged Care and Disability, a Diploma in Community Services; and recently upgraded my Diploma in Vocational Education and Training to comply with the updated trainer requirements from April 1 2019. My career as a trainer began because as a nurse I was renowned for mentoring my colleagues and identifying gaps in knowledge. As a result a supervisor encouraged me to follow this path and formally embrace my love of training. Inspired by the possibility of improving the quality of nurses and carers in aged care, by evolving from carer to teacher myself, I began my own VET study journey.
To this day I am passionate about community services and patient care and more than thirty years on I continue to work in the industry, as well as training and mentoring at {CLiENT}, as a way of both furthering my skills and maintaining their currency.
As an employee I have the opportunity to put my own teachings to the test and therefore to experience the workplace through the eyes of my students. This unique perspective of putting myself in their shoes also allows me to adapt their learning program accordingly, reacting to industry changes on the ground and in real time, with a depth of understanding which enables me to design courses which cater to the needs of both my students and our industry partners.
As the lead trainer at {CLiENT}, active in the community, employed within it and with thirty years of hands on experience to my name I am often called on to advise my peers. This generally takes the form of either mentoring or training and day to day consists of providing assistance, imparting knowledge and networking to share industry contacts. As an example I recently provided a care plan for the disability unit which included observation checklists for aged care, with a procedural element for checking standards of care. My colleagues know that while they could research the necessary information for these documents themselves, I have that knowledge to hand and, more importantly, the practical experience of applying it in the workplace rather than the theory of it as they would access it in written form.
Just one example of how I support my peers in the development and growth of their own skills. Another is by identifying gaps in knowledge and skills, tracking the currency and relevancy of their qualifications – and prioritising opportunities for sustained professional development. They key here being that I encourage them to operate at an industry standard while also answering to the vocational calling we chose this profession to fulfil.

Criterion 4: Links with industry and community
You may wish to include information about: How are active links with industry and the community implemented in practice? What are the major issues confronting the industry(s) your program engages with? How can VET help address these issues? What level of engagement do you have with Industry and professional bodies? How do you promote VET in industry and the community?

Continuing to work and remain active in the industry is the main way I develop and maintain links with the community. My employer is one of our main industry partners and the supervisors at the work placements we secure with them are typically my former students.
At Reach we also employ a number of useful initiatives in order to form and sustain active links with industry and the community and implement them in practice. Field excursions, community events and education or career exhibitions are a great way of getting out into the community, interacting with the people who matter most to us, and raising the profile of what we do and how and why. They are a valuable opportunity for us to build relationships with clients, partners, patients and current and prospective careers. Similarly, the nature of work placements also means we are able to connect with potential employers while at the same time exposing students to the very settings, equipment and structure they’re training to work with. Every placement secured is external so we are committed to engaging with industry at every possible opportunity.
I would say the main challenge for the industry right now is lack of staff experience and this pertains to the quality of trainers available, as well as to the quality of students coming through. Ultimately I believe this is due to the recent trend for shorter courses and quicker qualifications, both of which prohibit students from accessing the appropriate preparation and education they truly need to confidently enter the workplace and deliver the standard of care required in an industry with a historically tarnished reputation for standards and ethics.
To address these issues I would love to see VET raise the profile of Aged Care studies and get back to marketing the beauty of the profession. Targeting students with an innate and genuine love for the profession who are motivated to invest their time in becoming the best carers they can be.
I see our students and the quality of the work they’re doing as the best possible promotion for a VET within our community. With this in mind we attend open days and community events with students volunteering to be the faces of our courses so that future students can make informed choices about the type of environment and style of study they would be signing up to. At the same time industry partners are able to meet with the students who would be coming through their doors to learn and potentially earn with them, and there is no better way to assess the quality of those carers than spending time, in person, getting to know them.

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{CLiENT} AWARD ENTRY: {iNSTiTUTiON}

Provide a brief description of your organisation, including the reasons why you are applying for this award.

{CLiENT} is a registered training organisation established in 2002. It has grown from humble beginnings as a small business to a highly respected institution offering courses nationally and internationally in Aged Care, Business Studies, Children’s Services, Community Services and Disability Services.
{CLiENT} provides Government funded subsidised training and quality learning experiences through flexible training solutions. We support learners in meeting their educational and career goals by combining on site practical experience with comprehensive theoretical knowledge.

The {CLiENT} student community is diverse, with new entrants to the country training alongside students categorised as youth at risk or learners living with long term unemployment.
As a result, {CLiENT} programs are designed to offer extensive wrap around support meaning that, in addition to training, assistance is also given with anything from the provision of a translator and housing support to language solutions and topping up transport or telephone cards.

{CLiENT} trainers are experts in their chosen fields who have been inspired to contribute to their respective industries by educating the next generation of workers set to service them. They are committed to providing engaging learner experiences and meeting the needs of individual students. With a strong focus on continuous improvement and best practice {CLiENT} undertakes regular industry research in support of these goals. The findings are then used to identify skills shortages and better understand specific industry needs which in turn informs the development of training programs to better serve the community and meet the workforce needs of local businesses.

Our students represent everything we are striving to achieve here at {CLiENT}.
Their dedication, work ethic and professionalism are a living, breathing endorsement of the work our team puts in behind the scenes. Their success is our success and we define this as well rounded, knowledgeable students confidently entering the workplace for long term employment at the end of their studies.

To support this goal we deliver training that is current, innovative and ever evolving. As a priority we closely monitor and adapt to the needs of our industry partners. We strategically work to fill gaps in skills and training, for our trainers as well as for our learners. We believe the student experience is of paramount importance and from this all good outcomes flow. Engaged students become valued employees and ambassadors for what we do here at {CLiENT}. With each year, as we refine and improve on our programs and delivery methodologies, the standard of these ambassadors reaches new heights and the proof is in the consistent quality of {CLiENT} students flowing from our classrooms and out into the workplace to begin contributing to community life.

We are compelled to apply for this award in honour of the {CLiENT} family and the consistent efforts of the individual members within it who strive tirelessly to elevate their peers, positively impact their local communities, and provide premium patient care with compassion and professionalism.


Criterion 1: Leading practice in vocational education and training
How you provide exceptional vocational education and training?
How you demonstrate excellence and high level performance in national training arrangements
How you demonstrate creativity and innovation in the design and development of your processes and techniques (operational or educational)
How you provide creative and innovative solutions to emerging training needs
The systems you have in place to manage, evaluate and enhance your VET products and services
How you undertake continuous improvement and apply quality controls within your organisation.

Our approach to providing exceptional vocational education and training is to focus on our people. We focus on the wellbeing of our trainers, who in turn focus on delivering excellence in the classroom. We define this as individualised learning provided by trainers who are connected with their learners and capable of adapting methodologies to suit their unique needs. {CLiENT} goes above and beyond the traditional model for vocational education and training by first assessing skills, then identifying gaps, and subsequently supporting them. These assessments allow us to cater to the different learning styles of our students and to then formulate our approach based on their needs as we proactively focus on maximising individual skills and strengthening gaps in knowledge.

At the theory and practical stages there is a focus on competency with formative assessments of each student’s progress.
At the placement stage we ensure third party observation and reporting against a checklist of competencies to be completed and then re-assessed to prove knowledge has been retained at every stage.

This creative delivery structure, customised within each classroom, is designed to empower students to thrive while learning and to support their training and education. Where some students may require practical application and the stimulation of visual learning, others studying the same material may learn through research, debate and discussion. We continually explore new and innovative methods of delivery in order to keep students engaged and fuel their passion for learning. This means our trainers are capable of adapting lesson plans to suit the needs of learners in their classes and to move with the times, bringing a fresh approach to traditional subjects.

We stringently monitor the effectiveness of each program and its delivery method with early intervention strategies. From the very first contact with students, even before enrolment, our priority is early detection of their specific needs. As an example of how committed we are to student wellbeing we have also instigated a pre-enrolment ‘cooling off period’ where students are encouraged to attend classes and interact with trainers and current students before they commit to undertake the course. A fair approach that also communicates the level of support they can expect from us at {CLiENT}.
Once enrolled we have systems in place where samples of material from both students and trainers are closely monitored. At the same time, training co-ordinators will also sit in and observe classes and trainers are regularly consulted for their input on avenues for extra support, suggested additional education pathways, or logistics issues such as time allocation.

Criterion 2: Strategic planning processes How you plan and coordinate vocational education and training?
Details of the external environment in which your organisation operates and its relationship to state/ territory and national policies and priorities
The systems you have in place for planning and communicating purpose, vision, goals, values and core business strategies (and for creating alignment across your whole organisation)
The role of your leadership team in strategic planning
How your planning processes embrace innovation and change, including your capacity to plan for (and adapt to) future changes in vocational education and training
How you engage with ongoing VET policy reforms, including your capacity to implement change as a consequence of reform initiatives
How you ensure the sustainability of your operations, including your understanding of risk and risk management.

Extensive industry consultation is the foundation of {CLiENT}’s planning and strategy for the provision of vocational education and training. As we formulate each program we consult with a minimum of three industry partners per qualification for their unique perspective. We then adapt the elective elements of each course to fit these requirements and those dictated by state, territory and national policies.

Once each program has been tailored to meet these needs Reach sets about ensuring that the associated learning environments are also aligned with their industry counterparts. This includes anything from refining the balance of theory with practical assessments to ensuring requisite workplace placements are only secured with premium industry regulated facilities and supervised by personnel of the highest possible quality.

Vision, goals and values are determined and set by our CEO and board of directors. Once agreed on they are communicated through formal monthly quality operations and management meetings and bi-weekly team meetings to track their application and provide feedback and support where needed. Senior management attend goal setting and achievement days every 6 months and {CLiENT} staff annually attend a three day excursion to discuss both retrospective and future strategy, goals and challenges.
We encourage and support regular workshops, team building, bonding and activities to connect colleagues and unite offices across states.

With the adaptable nature of our courses, and our mission to flexibly support the needs of our community and industry partners, it is imperative that {CLiENT} stays up to date on changes to policy and reform. For this reason we are subscribed to industry peak bodies which gives us a six to twelve month head start on any upcoming changes which may affect our industry partners and therefore their requirements of our learners.

For example {CLiENT} recently mandated major changes in the requisite qualifications for trainers and our relationship with them allowed us a two year window to prepare for compliance. Twelve months ago we began rigidly implementing these changes so that six months before the deadline every trainer employed at {CLiENT} is already compliant and the transition is set to be a smooth one.

There are also changes expected for childcare trainers in the coming year and thanks to our industry connections here we are able to prepare for the impact of these changes more than twelve months before any formal announcement. This preparation includes the implementation of a recruitment strategy where moving forward only trainers already compliant with the updated requirements are considered for roles.
New assessment tools are also being developed and industry documentation is being prepared so that at the time of the formal announcement {CLiENT} trainers will be compliant and ready to proceed.

Risk management for {CLiENT} involves setting our standards above the bare minimum required for regulator compliance, in order to stay ahead of legislation. For example our marketing is rigorously monitored and has to be incredibly precise. We never promise what we cannot deliver, and we always deliver what we have promised. We adhere to very strict criteria when designing and marketing these campaigns and to manage the associated risk factors we work to a checklist and compliance methodology.
Similarly, industry regulations dictate that trainer and assessor skills currency should be anywhere between 2-3 years we set the limit at 12 months ensuring we’re well covered, our trainers’ and assessors’ skills are current and we operate at a highly reduced risk of being non-compliant.

Criterion 3: Student, employer and market focus
How you monitor client and market needs?
Your knowledge of—and how you respond to— students, employers and markets, including the systems you have in place for collecting and analysing data on client needs and expectations
How you identify and attract new clients and new markets, and how you address these without impacting the sustainability of your operations
How you collect and analyse data on student outcomes and completions
How you measure success (e.g. outcome and completion data, satisfaction surveys, independent validations and evaluations, industry recognition, business outcomes from training activity)
How you encourage access to your VET products and services, and the success you have achieved in meeting the needs of equity groups.

We believe that the quality of the learning experience we provide, and the innovative delivery of it is what attracts our ideal students and industry partners. Our marketing focuses on involvement in relevant sponsorship programs and profile raising attendance at community events and initiatives. New industry partners are generally referred to us by our most valuable marketing tool, simple word of mouth. We also find that once an employer has invested in a {CLiENT} resource, and invested in their introduction to a specific industry, they will ultimately recruit these students at the end of their studies, with 80% of {CLiENT} learners ending up employed in the workforce.

In addition we have a team of business development managers approaching prospective employers with offers to train and up skill their staff, with bespoke programs tailored specifically to their needs.

We also have several processes in place to monitor our effectiveness with current industry partners. These begin in the classroom and include independent monitoring as well as an unidentified feedback process which monitors student responses to their courses. This data is then fed into the {CLiENT} learner management system which reports on positives and improvements. The report is delivered to operations who combine it with formal industry feedback to spot trends and adapt operations to incorporate new training practices and develop relevant new pathways to further study.


Criterion 4: Human resource capability
How you build the capacity of your workforce?
The strategies you have in place to build staff capability (e.g. job design, personnel selection, staff training and development, performance management systems, two way feedback systems)
Your capacity and flexibility to meet changing training needs and new training markets, including your response times for upskilling staff
How you ensure constructive management/ employee relations, including the emphasis you place on teamwork, participation and communication
How your organisation recognises the well- being of staff as critical to business success.

The staff community at {CLiENT} is inclusive and diverse with cultural exchanges encouraged and supported. We are proud to maintain incredibly high staff retention and consider it a direct result of our focus on autonomy and staff wellbeing. Staff capability is developed through ongoing training which is deemed an ongoing and limitless initiative.

At {CLiENT} our people are our most valuable resource. Their wellbeing in the workplace and the currency of their skills is what the success of our business and our students is founded on. As a result staff are encouraged to continually improve skills and always supported in upgrading their qualifications.

In response to industry changes we endeavor to have staff upskilled within six to twelve months of any given deadline.

Attendance at summits and professional development expos is promoted across the organisation as a way of ensuring constructive management and employee relations and while a bonus system is employed to reward individual staff we place a strong focus on working cohesively as a team to communicate positively and support each other in the provision of engaging and innovative experiences.

Criterion 5: Partnerships and links
How you establish genuine partnerships to support vocational education and training
The strategies you have in place to identify local/regional issues (e.g. social, economic, industrial or environmental issues) and how you incorporate these into your service delivery
How you establish and monitor positive relationships with individuals, enterprises, industries and community groups
How you build new, innovative and effective partnerships in the local or wider community
How you ensure your partnerships are reciprocal (i.e. where each partner brings resources to the partnership and shares in outputs from the partnership).

{CLiENT} engages with industry partners to provide quality training through work placement, corporate training and development programs.
Active links with industry and the community are implemented in practice through field excursions, community outreach and workplace placements as we strategically engage in networking and consultation with industry partners across all qualifications before developing education packages.
There is also a focus on private bookings where {CLiENT} is the contracted preferred provider for upskilling staff.

With these strategies in mind community events attended by {CLiENT} staff include school careers expos, rehab and childcare open days, Harmony day events and other appropriate multicultural opportunities to promote the work we do here. As well as participating at these events, by volunteering staff to attend and run stalls, we are also committed to donating or sponsoring wherever possible.
One of the main challenges we face with industry partnerships is the increasingly high level of competition we are up against when vying for a seat at the table, but with nineteen years’ trading in the industry ourselves we have nurtured relationships, connections and a reputation which we leverage to maximum effect for the benefit of our students as well as our business.

The other challenge here is changes within each industry which affect our partners’ requirements of us. We combat these with our versatility to adapt in real time as well as once again calling on our long term relationships with our partners to secure their trust in our ability to move with them and maintain compliance.
It is also our duty here to educate our community where necessary in order to better accommodate each other’s needs. Interacting with flexibility and working side by side to ensure our packages align with students, trainers and employers.
This alignment is reached through mutual partnership and is the result of consultation, internal training placements on our part and the provision of support letters for government funding from our partners.