Long-term Automotive Centre for Excellence staff member awarded OAM
Kangan Institute’s Bev Williams has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her dedication to connecting students to work and apprenticeship opportunities in the automotive industry.
Ms Williams has worked within the Docklands Automotive Centre for Excellence at Kangan Institute for the past 20 years.
In her role as industry pathways and placement coordinator, she has helped more than 1000 students break into the automotive industry and supported them through their foundational studies.
“I feel really humbled; I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Ms Williams said of the award, which came as part of the King’s Birthday 2023 honours list.
“I’m just somebody going about my day-to-day job.”
Ms Williams said that her role included meeting with the students “one-on-one” to work out what they wanted to achieve in their automotive careers.
She then helps them with resumes and cover letters and assists in connecting them with opportunities for their specific field of interest within the industry.
“The value of my role is outcomes. For students, it’s giving them an outcome,” Ms Williams said.
“Some young people have no idea how to apply for an apprenticeship or what to do.”
Ms Williams’ dedication and appreciation for the evolving nature of employer’s needs has also seen her working with mature age students who are entering the automotive industry or wanting to change career paths.
“The biggest thing I’ve noticed that’s changed a lot is that employers are now more open to mature age apprentices and workers,” Ms Williams said.
“They can see the value of life experience, with mature people more ready and committed to their new career path.”
Despite having been presented the Women in Industry’s Social Leader of the Year Award in 2017 in addition to her latest recognition, Ms Williams defines her success by more than just accolades.
“I see my role as a ‘connector’,” she said.
“The students are looking for a pathway and the employers are looking for staff - if I connect them, I’m successful.”
As part of her role, Ms Williams said she was now focusing on working with international students to connect them to employment opportunities across Melbourne.
“With technology changing all the time, there are many opportunities and pathways available in the automotive industry.” •