Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented in recognition of an individual’s outstanding leadership and contribution to the vocational education and training sector for more than 25 years.

As a Queensland Government public servant, Mr Peter Henneken AM entered the sector in the 1980s, just as a new National Training System was taking shape. He reflects that there was impressive collaboration between Commonwealth and State Governments, along with industry employer and employee bodies, as together they created today’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. 

VET has a habit of engaging and holding those who encounter it and that’s what happened to Peter. 

“It’s easy to develop a passion for something that touches people at such a personal level. My signature is on thousands of apprenticeship and traineeship certificates and indentures.” 

But Peter also sees the bigger picture. “VET is so important for getting a job. And the impact of getting a job is important to individuals and the whole community.” 

Not only did Peter guide much of the new VET system in Queensland, he was also very influential at the national level. 

He is most proud of the introduction of entry level traineeships, which provided recognised training pathways for many additional industry sectors. 

Opening up a more competitive and expanded training system and improving its national consistency were other major achievements. 

“We also made sure that industry played a big part in creating the system that was being designed for it.” 

Since then, across many roles, Peter has kept the interests of VET to the fore. 

Peter sees the Australian Training Awards as benchmarks of excellence that are of great importance to the future. 

“Australia needs to be productive and competitive against overseas competitors. In coming years we will need to accelerate the rate at which we build on these benchmarks.”