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Box Hill Institute named ‘Inclusive Training Provider of the Year’ at VTA Awards

19 October 2021

At the recent annual Victorian Training Awards, Box Hill Institute was named ‘Inclusive Training Provider of the Year’ for 2021. The VTA Awards were announced via a Virtual Gala on Saturday 16 October.

Executive Director of Educational Delivery, Ms Jane Trewin, accepted the award on behalf of Box Hill Institute and said that everyone at was very excited and honoured to receive this meaningful and valuable award.

A real honour – exceptional people with very special skills

“It is a real honour to be awarded Inclusive Training Provider of the Year – especially after having been the runner up for various VTA Awards over the last few years, we’ve felt a bit like the bridesmaid!

“I really want to thank and celebrate all the employees who work in this area at Box Hill Institute – they are exceptional people with very special skills. I would also like to thank our long standing industry partners and employees at Box Hill Institute for their amazing contribution,” Ms Trewin said.

The award recognises Box Hill Institute’s own research into universal design; the Disability Service Provider programs that BHI maintained throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns; and the supports BHI has in place for all students to access, whether they disclose a disability or not.

Applied Research into the principles of universal design in VE

Box Hill Institute is the only Victorian TAFE currently completing applied research into the principles of universal design in vocational education. This research has been presented at state and national conferences, and has been awarded a national grant. As the only Victorian TAFE completing applied research in this area, we have been approached by the university sector to partner on collaborative research projects to maximise the effects of universal design principles in vocational education and training.

The launch of the ‘Universal Design for VET Teachers’ Microcredential at BHI will encourage our teachers to use these principles as a foundation to create resources for all students. The Microcredential course is based on seven short animated videos and supported by insights from colleagues in Disability Support, who offer practical tips.

Disability Service Provider Programs – interactive and engaging

Box Hill Institute works with Disability Service Providers to deliver interactive and engaging programs for people with disabilities, so they can enjoy being part of the community and prepare for work or further study. Using a number of experiential learning models – developed with our partners and customised to the needs of participants – we collaborate in designing programs that meet the students’ goals, and promote choice and control for individuals. BHI is the only TAFE in Australia partnering with disability service providers to work with people with disabilities in our communities to facilitate this.

Specialised Support for all students

Box Hill Institute is as committed to students in our mainstream courses who need extra support, as we are to our disability service provider students. Our research and promotion of the principles of universal design in vocational training is one part of making our institute inclusive.

BHI also provides general and specialised adjustments and supports for all students. This includes a specialised Disability Liaison Support Service, as well as flexible, in and out of class Literacy and Numeracy Support. Increasingly, technology is part of the general support for all students with universal design principles informing our StudentWeb and in-class resources.

Congratulations to all the BHI teams who help support Box Hill Institute to be the VTA’s Inclusive Training Provider of the Year for 2021! Well done!

You can watch the Virtual Gala recording on Facebook Live and read about the winners and finalists on the Victorian Training Awards website.

BHI was also a finalist in two other VTA Award categories for 2021:

Finalist: Large Training Provider of the Year

As a finalist for Large Training Provider of the Year, BHI was recognised for its response to support students through the Covid-19 lockdowns, and for the rapid pivot to online learning including the commitment from our teachers.

Supporting Students through Lockdown

Everyone at Box Hill Institute has played a role in supporting students throughout the lockdowns that have occurred over the last two years. BHI student counsellors have offered flexible support to students through remote appointments and, with the help of teachers, proactively reached out to students who were identified as particularly vulnerable by the challenges lockdown presents.

Student Wellbeing officers leveraged feedback from teachers and students about the ongoing lockdown and the adverse impact it was having, and undertook a project that involved getting in touch with all students that they had any sort of contact with throughout the year. Each student received an email acknowledging the difficult circumstances, a check in on their wellbeing and was offered support. This resulted in students requesting appointments with the Student Wellbeing officers and other members of the Student Life team. Student Wellbeing also attended faculty meetings for course areas to remind employees of the availability of Student Life services. Some teachers engaged members of the team to visit online classes to talk through strategies for maintaining their wellbeing while learning remotely.

Rapid Pivot to Online Learning and commitment from BHI teachers

Traditionally, Box Hill Institute has specialised in delivering hands-on, practical skills. So with a short time frame to adapt to a large scale remote delivery, the transformation was astounding. The Teaching Innovations experienced 10 times the normal volume of support almost overnight, and it was with their hard work and determination that BHI was able to introduce the remote delivery project in two weeks, in what normally would have taken months.

Finalist: Vocational Student of the Year

BHI alumni and staff member, Mr Josh Allison, was a finalist for the Vocational Student of the Year. Mr Allison was recognised by his peers at BHI for being a leader and mentor in the classroom and was described as a ‘standout student’ by his teacher, Simon Carlile. He is the first student to pathway into education straight out of a Diploma into the Sports team at BHI.

Josh had a successful career as a professional athlete and coach, representing Australia at the Olympics, World Championships and numerous state and national championship events.

Through his time studying Diploma of Sport Development, Josh contributed to the broader community and worked on a number of key projects including:

  • AFL Outer East – assessing venues and developing an inclusion policy for all clubs within the league. This major project resulted in a 50-page report that was endorsed by AFL Victoria.
  • Yarra Ranges Council – consulting with the We Can Ride Youth mountain biking program – assessing the trails and providing feedback – so the council could develop and deliver infrastructure to best support people using all abilities mountain bike riding.

Josh was also named Vocational Student of the Year – Certificate IV to Advanced Diploma, at the recent Box Hill Institute Student Awards.

Future Opportunities

Box Hill Institute has further opportunities for awards later this year. At the Australian Training Awards in mid-November, Dean Champ is representing BHI as finalist in the Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Award.

BHI is also sponsoring the Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards on 23 November. The awards recognise the achievements of people with disability, those who support them and the inclusive sport and recreation sector in Victoria.