Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented in recognition of an individual's outstanding leadership and contribution to the VET sector for more than 25 years. This may be a new innovation, new knowledge, or ways to improve professional practice deemed to be above and beyond the everyday with a long lasting impact in the sector.

Douglas Wright has been a keen advocate and leader in Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector for many decades, playing an active role in introducing major improvements and changes to the training system at both the national and state levels.

As State Director of the Metal Trades Industry Association of Australia’s New South Wales and Queensland branches, he led many successful international technology and trade missions. As a member of the former NSW VET Advisory Board, Mr Wright assisted in driving quality assurance for all students studying VET in NSW, leading to the emergence of Commonwealth policies for regulating international education and improving the education experience for international students studying in Australia.

One of Mr Wright’s most notable contributions to VET has been as an architect of the highly successful group training model. He was a founding member of the Hunter Valley Training Company, Australia’s oldest group training organisation (GTO), which was created in partnership with industry, unions and government to provide a revolutionary approach to apprentice training.

The GTO model was subsequently adopted across Australia as governments recognised the importance of GTOs as a key element in increasing the uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships and meeting skills shortages.

Mr Wright’s contributions demonstrate a lifetime commitment to enhancing the quality of relevance of Australian VET for the benefit of students and industry.

He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 1998 in recognition of his outstanding service to the metal trade industry.