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Meet VET Teacher of the Year Fiona Archer

01 - November - 2018

Conference season is the best time of the year as we get out and about to see the people behind the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. We were super excited to let Fiona Archer know she was the winner of the 2018 Conference Prize Draw.

We asked Fiona if she could spare a minute to provide us with an insight into her career and any advice she has as an award-winng VET Teacher. 

1. Tell us about your RTO and position within the organisation:


I work at Hellyer College which is a Senior Secondary College catering for years 11 and 12. It is in Burnie on the North West Coast of Tasmania. I teach Certificate II and III in Tourism and am also the VET Quality Manager for our site. At Hellyer College we have 15 VET courses offered by 11 VET teachers. In my QM role I ensure we are compliant and I support the VET teachers in delivering high quality VET programs. Our RTO is the Tasmanian Secondary Colleges RTO. We have over 60 qualifications on scope and work across 8 Colleges and a number of High Schools in Tasmania.

2. What got you into the training industry?

Initially, I studied at TAFE and completed an Associate Degree in Hospitality Management. I then worked in 5 star hotels in Sydney. During this time I always enjoyed training and thought I would like to get into this type of work. This opportunity presented itself when I moved back to Tasmania and I had a chance meeting on a plane with a manager at TAFE. I have now been in the industry for 24 years.

Meet VET Teacher of the Year Fiona Archer

3. Tell us about the industry you work in?

I used to teach Hospitality but now I only teach Tourism. Teaching Tourism in Tasmania is superb! The Tourism Industry is booming and it is so exciting to be involved in nurturing and inspiring the future employees in this industry.

4. What is the best part of the work you do? 

I am extremely passionate about VET, especially VET in schools. VET provides such a solid foundation with so many transferable skills for school students and it can lead them into many different directions when they leave school. I love being part of this process, especially seeing students gain confidence which leads to success. 

5. What is the most challenging part of your role?

Keeping up with all the compliance issues and leading my team to maintain positivity in an ever changing environment.

6. What is your proudest achievement at work?

My proudest achievements come through my student successes. I have had many of these over the years and relish the opportunity to keep in touch and follow their career journeys. On a personal note, winning the National VET Teacher of the Year at the Australian Training Awards in 2012 was a truly amazing achievement which has led to many great opportunities.

7. When you were a student the person who inspired you most was and why…

It was one of my hospitality teachers. The power of influence a teacher has is often underestimated. We really do make an impact on so many lives. It is a very gratifying profession for this reason.

8. What’s the best piece of advice you give to students / what is your favourite saying?

I tell them that they need to firstly dream, then believe and then they will achieve. Their dreams can come true if they have the courage to pursue them. If they really want to make something happen they need to find a way because “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and “never underestimate the power of persistence.” 

9. If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in the training industry, what would it be?

It is a steep learning curve initially but if you persist it will soon fall into place. It is a very rewarding career which is challenging and never boring!

10. What would you say to someone thinking about registering for a training course?

Learning ignites the mind and opens so many doors. Nationally recognised qualifications are invaluable and can create so many opportunities for you if you are prepared to put in. Go for it!

11. What’s the best thing that has happened to you this year?

Arriving back from an amazing holiday in Thailand with my two children to then check my emails and find out I had won an iPad!

12. Why do you think RTOs love Cloud Assess?

Because it is easy to navigate and it is stream lined to help a RTO meet its obligations and requirements. Ultimately, it helps manage the worry and stress of RTO compliance. We all love that!

To learn more about Hellyer College click here. To get involved in the next competition make sure you follow us on social media.