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Inclusion commitment recognised among Victorian Training Awards finalists

Inclusivity is a strong theme amongst this year’s Victorian Training Awards finalists, with Kangan Institute a finalist across two categories – Inclusive Training Provider of the Year and School-based Apprentice or Trainee (SBAT) of the Year.

The Inclusive Training Provider of the Year award recognises exceptional training providers within the Victorian Government's vocational education and training sector that have demonstrated outstanding improvements with regard to the achievement, engagement and well-being of students with disability.

Kangan Institute chief executive Sally Curtain said the announcement was a welcome endorsement of the institute’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

This commitment is outlined in Kangan Institute’s Accessibility and Inclusion Plan 2020-2025.

“This is a commitment to ensure students, staff and volunteers will be treated equitably, creating a TAFE community that embraces inclusion,” Ms Curtain said.

“Embracing diversity and inclusion is simply the right thing to do. But it also yields better outcomes for Kangan Institute and for employers.

“Increasing employment opportunities for people with a disability is one of the most important tasks Kangan Institute has, so I’m proud these efforts have been recognised.

“We are proud to be a finalist for the Inclusive Training Provider of the Year for our innovation and approach to inclusivity within the TAFE network. But to us, it is more than just an award, it’s a social responsibility that we take very seriously.

“The nominations are an acknowledgement of the calibre of all the finalists, and recognition of a strong VET sector in Victoria.”

Kangan Institute school-based apprentice Massimo Zurzolo, who is deaf and wears Cochlear implants, is a finalist for the Victorian School-based Apprentice or Trainee (SBAT) of the Year category.

Currently studying the Certificate III in Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Mr Zurzolo is completing an apprenticeship with WPC Group and BMW Melbourne and hopes to work with electric vehicle technology in the future.

“I have a passion for cars, motorsports and BMW vehicles. I enjoy problem solving and understanding the way cars work – the mechanics, designs and engineering behind them,” he said.

The 18-year-old said supportive teachers and a flexible training program at Kangan Institute have contributed to his success.

“My training has been flexible and tailored to me. My teacher Michael has been open and willing to adapt his teachings by understanding that lip reading is important, ensuring no hands over his mouth and using clear speech,” Mr Zurzolo said.

Mr Zurzolo hopes his nomination will inspire greater diversity in classrooms and workplaces.

“Being deaf allows me to bring diversity into my workplace and school setting. Having a disability does not impact on my ability to be a great mechanic,” he said.

“I feel very honored to be nominated as a finalist for the Victorian Training Awards. It gives me a great sense of achievement. I feel this will provide more opportunities for people with a disability and an acknowledgement that we can do anything.”

Kangan Institute chief executive Sally Curtain said Mr Zurzolo is an inspiration for all.

“Congratulations to Massimo on being a finalist for the Victorian Training Awards,” she said.

“Kangan Institute is honoured to play a role in supporting Massimo as he builds his career in automotive. Massimo’s success proves that having the drive to succeed and the right support can really take you places – he’s an inspiration for all of us.”

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