Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises an individual who has:

  • an established history of distinguished service to the vocational education and training (VET) sector
  • made a lasting contribution to VET practice
  • exhibited leadership and provided inspiration to others in the VET sector
  • positively influenced VET on a state, national or international level.

New South Wales vocational education and training (VET) advocate Albert Coulston Evans AO (Bert) has been recognised for more than 30 years of service to the VET sector, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 Australian Training Awards.

The award recognises an individual who has an established history of distinguished service to VET and who has made a lasting contribution to VET practice.

"To win the Lifetime Achievement Award from the national VET sector is totally unexpected, but I would be telling lies if I didn’t say I was really proud and thrilled and surprised," Bert said.

"I have been working in this field my whole life, especially with apprenticeships and traineeships.

"Apprenticeships and traineeships are absolutely vital for Australia’s future and we’ve got to produce more and better trained apprentices. They’re excellent now but we want them to aim even higher, to go on and get diplomas and get degrees and become leaders," Bert said.

During his time as Chief Executive of the Metal Trades Industry Association (MTIA) from 1981 to 1996, Bert worked towards a cooperative approach to managing business and union interests.

Integral to his vision was a rebuilding of the manufacturing sector and the development of progressive industry policy which valued and invested in labour through training, career paths, fair pay and workplace regulation.

Since his retirement in 1996, Bert has used his extensive knowledge, credibility and standing within industry and government to lead reform of the New South Wales VET system.

He has done this through two key roles, as Chair of the New South Wales Board of Vocational Education and Training (1996 to 2013), and as Chair of the Vocational Education and Training Accreditation Board (1997 to 2011). A number of achievements in New South Wales under his guidance have set the benchmark for other states and territories.

Under Bert’s guidance, participation in VET in New South Wales has grown to record levels under greatly improved and strengthened arrangements.