In Memory: Bert Evans, AO
The vocational education and training sector has lost a passionate advocate with the recent passing of Bert Evans.
Under Bert’s leadership, the NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training implemented The Way Ahead for Aboriginal People initiative, which significantly increased Indigenous participation and completion of apprenticeships. The number of Indigenous apprentices and trainees increased markedly, by more than 89 per cent, between December 2004 and December 2011 (3008 to 5703 apprentices).
Bert’s career started in the manufacturing industry where he eventually rose to become the head of the Metal Trades Industry Association (MTIA). During his time in charge (between 1982 and 1996) Bert worked tirelessly to foster a more cooperative approach to the management of business and union interests.
After retiring from the MTIA, Bert led reforms in the NSW training system which has resulted in participation in Vocational Education and Training (VET) reaching record levels under greatly improved and strengthened industrial and workplace conditions.
In 1996, Bert was appointed Chair of the NSW Board of Vocational Education and Training (BVET) which was designed to provide the NSW Government with independent advice on the VET system. Under his leadership, BVET supported innovative practice, research and development activities to develop new strategic directions for NSW and a national VET policy which resulted in unprecedented growth to the VET sector.
Bert was instrumental in the introduction of school-based traineeships and later school-based apprenticeships, which are now highly valued as transition pathways from school to work.
The Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships were launched in 2014 to support apprentices facing significant challenges in completing their qualification.
Finally, Bert’s leadership of various industry bodies ensured that “skills” assumed a prime position in the nation’s micro-economic reform agenda.
Read the Deputy Premier's tribute to Bert in NSW Parliament.