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Awards 2021

Teacher/Trainer of the Year Nominees. Watch the video and hear from our finalists.

Brad Schaffer

Faculty of Building Construction Trades 

Holmesglen trades teacher Brad Schaffer is known for going the extra mile to help apprentices in the Furniture, Joinery and Manufacturing Department. 

“Brad genuinely cares for the apprentices and will go above and beyond to help them in any way he can,” says S&A Stairs Technical Trainer Nick Woodhouse 

Brad’s association with Holmesglen began in 1989, when he started an apprenticeship. 

The connection continued when he moved from learner to trainer, becoming a Holmesglen teacher in 2000. 

Brad maintains industry knowledge when networking with industry bodies, including at the Interior Fitout Association seminars and events. 


Chris Racovalis

Faculty of Building Construction Trades

Carpentry teacher Chris Racovalis has embraced online learning delivery during COVID-19, actively developing new apprentice content for Holmesglen’s online learning management system Brightspace.

He has innovated and led onsite training, including creating new teaching delivery processes and procedures, benefitting apprentices, employers and Holmesglen staff.

Chris is described by his colleagues as an outstanding teacher, whose main goal is to make a positive difference to the lives of his carpentry students.

“Chris has helped many students achieve their full potential,” says Holmesglen Furniture, Joinery and Manufacturing Account Manager Denise Walker. “He works with his team to deliver exceptional training and make sure standards are met.”

Chris is a previous ASPIRE Hero winner for Passion and recently Scholarship, and a strong advocate for VET training.


Fiona Cowie

Faculty of Health Science, Youth and Community Studies

In 2020, Nursing teacher Fiona Cowie created a key new practical learning test for students in the simulation labs, greatly aiding students’ skills and knowledge.

This initiative, the Holistic Practical Assessment, has helped Nursing students better reflect on the outcomes of their physical assessments.

“Fiona always shows her passion when teaching. She has extensive clinical work experience, which allows her to fit into the roles very well,” says Diploma of Nursing Education Manager Jianbo Chang.

Fiona is an active member of industry groups, which include the Australian College of Perioperative Nurses, Australian College of PeriAnaesthesia Nurses and Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.


Michael Clarkson

Faculty of Health Science, Youth and Community Studies

Course coordinator Dr Michael Clarkson has introduced new learning strategies into the Bachelor of Oral Health, motivated by his desire to improve the Holmesglen student experience.

These strategies include redesigning assessments to facilitate deeper learning, using online tools to work with students during the assessments, and modifying teaching materials to increase student engagement.

With over 25 years’ experience in scientific research, Michael leads the biomedical sciences teaching components within the degree, which is delivered in partnership with Charles Sturt University.

"Michael has been at the forefront of many monumental changes. It is commendable the relationships and networks he has grown over his time at Holmesglen,” says Discipline Lead and Associate Lecturer Ashlinn Mason.


Awards Festival 2021

Now in its 24th year, our Awards Festival celebrates excellence in education and training.
See all finalists

All information is correct at the time of printing but subject to change.

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