October 5, 2022 @ 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm

2022 NESA Awards for Excellence


Importance of the Awards

Since their implementation in 2004, the NESA Awards for Excellence have highlighted the commitment the employment services sector has made to improve individuals’, families’ and our communities’ economic and social well-being through employment inclusion. The Awards are an opportunity to showcase employment services providers’ service delivery strategies and innovation excellence, and the very real impacts that result from their efforts.

The NESA Awards for Excellence:

  • Foster high standards and provide a benchmark for excellence within the employment services sector
  • Recognise employers who demonstrate excellence in the recruitment and retention of disadvantaged job seekers in partnership with employment services providers
  • Encourage employers to adopt and support employment services programs
  • Honour job seekers who have overcome disadvantage to obtain and sustain employment
  • Provide role models for other job seekers
  • Recognise employment services professionals who demonstrate excellence in the conduct of their role
  • Promote professional development within the employment services sector
  • Enlighten the wider community about the adversity and disadvantage that are experienced by unemployed people and the effort required to overcome barriers to achieve employment
  • Reinforce the value of the sector, fostering job seeker, employer and public confidence

Award Finalist Benefits

  • The right to use NESA’s Awards Seal on collateral for two years
  • Promotion in national, state and local media
  • A high quality, framed certificate for all finalists
  • Greater recognition within the sector and with key external stakeholders
  • Invitation to the VIP-only Champion’s Reception held immediately prior to the Gala Awards Dinner
  • One ticket to attend the Gala Awards Dinner for each finalist or finalist representative
  • The finalists for Employment Consultant and Achiever of the Year are provided with travel** and one night’s accommodation to attend the NESA Awards for Excellence Ceremony.

In addition to Finalist Benefits, Winners of each Award Category Receive:

  • A prestigious Award Trophy
  • An Awards Seal and guidelines for use to promote the win
  • Promotion on NESA’s website and inclusion in the Annual Report
  • Additional PR campaigns

The Employment Consultant who nominated the Achiever of the Year is also provided travel and one night’s accommodation to accompany their nominee to the NESA Awards for Excellence.

All required airfares are return economy from the finalist’s closest major, regional or metropolitan airport.

Transport to and from the airport and event venue are at the nominee’s expense.

Champion Employer of the Year finalists do not receive travel or accommodation to attend the NESA Awards for Excellence.

NESA Gala Ball 8818 1 768x421 - 2022 NESA Awards for Excellence
NESA Awards 2021 Employment Consultant of the Year Winner with Sponsor Sally 768x768 - 2022 NESA Awards for Excellence
NESA Awards 2021 Champion Employer of the Year Winner with Sally 768x768 - 2022 NESA Awards for Excellence

The Awards Winners will be
announced at the NESA
Awards for Excellence Gala Dinner

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Entry Rules and Guidelines

General Eligibility

Applicable to all Award categories

  • All Awards relate exclusively to activities undertaken within the 2021 – 2022 financial year (the “Qualifying Period”).
  • All Awards are open to current NESA members and the job seekers and employers assisted by them
  • Nominees must also meet the Specific Eligibility Requirements for the Award category in which they are nominated
  • All submissions and supporting information are treated as confidential
  • Assessment of nominations is managed according to the NESA Awards for Excellence Judging Process
  • Multiple nominations are encouraged with a separate submission required for each nomination
  • Where an Award category permits team nominations, “team” is defined as at least 2 people working together to achieve specified outcomes, e.g.:
    • A work group, office or branch of a single organisation
    • A geographically based group (e.g. LGA or employment area)
    • A collaboration between two or more organisations

By submitting a nomination to the NESA Awards for Excellence, you:

  • Give permission to NESA and its Awards Convenors to describe your achievements at the Gala Awards Dinner and to promote your achievements to the media
  • Understand that your identity and that of the submitting organisation will be disclosed during the Awards process
  • Are granting NESA permission to reproduce supplied photographs (except where otherwise requested), the organisation’s logo and non-pecuniary information from your submission
  • Understand that your contact details may be shared with official members of the media pursuing stories regarding the awards and award nominees
  • Agree to abide by the judging panel decisions and accept that there will be no appeals
  • Agree to attend the Awards presentation in person or virtually subject to travel restrictions (e.g. COVID-19, natural disaster) or significant personal circumstances.

Note: NESA or its Awards Convenors will contact finalists for the Achiever of the Year category or their representatives to review the nomination and agree on the information that is permitted to be shared with the media or used in NESA communications.

NESA retains the right to:

  • Contact finalists prior to the Awards presentation as deemed necessary
  • Withdraw the granting of a particular honour if the award entrant or nominated representative is not present to accept the award in person or virtually
  • Withdraw from judging any submissions received through a nominating organisation that goes into administration, voluntary receivership, liquidation or is declared bankrupt after the awards closing date.

Nominations must include:

  • An answer to each criterion
  • Uploaded files where they have been requested
  • A quality head and shoulders photograph or other suitable image of the nominee for individual nominees, or a quality group photograph or image for team nominees if applicable


Achiever of the Year


09NESA logo cmyk no name 2 300x167 - 2022 NESA Awards for Excellence

Category Description:

This Award recognises a former job seeker who has overcome extraordinary disadvantage to achieve employment.

Category Eligibility:

In addition to the criteria set out in General Eligibility, this Award is open to former job seekers who:

  • received employment assistance from a provider of an Australian Government employment services program or service during the qualifying period
  • achieved employment in one or more concurrent jobs with sufficient hours and/or income to achieve a full employment outcome in accordance with the requirements of the program/service in which the job seeker was engaged at the time of their placement into employment. (Note, the job seeker’s placement may have occurred prior, but the outcome must have been achieved during the Qualifying Period.)
  • continues in sustained substantive employment on the date of the awards – 5 October 2022

Please ensure selection criteria responses focus on the former job seeker (rather than the organisation or Consultant assisting them). The former job seeker must be aware of their nomination, and we recommend that completion of the submission occur in partnership with them.



Category Description:

This Award recognises employers who demonstrate excellence in employment inclusion of disadvantaged job seekers.

Category Eligibility:

In addition to the criteria set out in General Eligibility, this Award is open to employers who were assisted to recruit staff and nominated by an Employment Services provider of any Australian Government contracted employment program or service, during the Qualifying Period.


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Category Description:

This Award recognises employment services professionals who demonstrate excellence in helping disadvantaged Australians to achieve employment inclusion.

Category Eligibility:

In addition to the criteria set out in General Eligibility, this award is open to individuals who provided notable or outstanding employment assistance to job seekers and employers during the Qualifying Period through an Australian Government employment services program.


Award nominations are submitted online; via separate online portals for each Award Category, accessed via the APPLY NOW buttons above.

Before you start the online submission process, please ensure that:

  • You have reviewed and meet the General Eligibility criteria (link above), as well as the Specific Eligibility requirements for the Award category which you are nominating
  • You have read the Selection Criteria for the award category which you are nominating
  • You have read the Entry Rules and Guidelines
Instructions and tips for how to submit:

The online submission form must be completed in one pass; you cannot save a partial response and return to it later.

Please have the following information prepared, before starting your online submission.

  • Photo of the entrant (where required)
  • Contact details of the primary person responsible for the submission
  • Selection Criteria responses, including any documents for upload.
    • In your selection criteria responses, please refer to your organisation using exactly the same namethat is entered in the “Nominating Organisation” field in the nomination form. Do not use abbreviations, alternative trading names or shortened forms.
    • For any criteria with a word limit provided, please have your responses prepared in a separate electronic text document that you can then copy and paste into each individual text box in the online submission form. Your response/s will not be accepted if you exceed the word limit. Your word count is displayed for each response.
    • Supporting material – You may provide up to five A4 pages of evidence to support the claims made in the nomination. Please combine all supporting material into a single document (.pdf or .doc(x) files). Cross-referencing supporting material in the criteria response is essential. Supporting information may include, but is not limited to, photos, data, graphs, and copies of commendations or other letters of recognition.
    • Any documents to be uploaded must not exceed 10MB per file.

Upon completion of your submission, an e-mail will automatically be sent to the primary person (nominated in your submission) to confirm successful receipt of your nomination. The confirmation e-mail will include a copy of your submission, including file attachments for your own records.

(If you do not receive the confirmation e-mail immediately, please check your e-mail Junk folder or SPAM filtering systems prior to contacting NESA on 03 9624 2300.)

Your organisation may be eligible for more than one award?


The NESA Awards for Excellence judging process is rigorous, transparent, and taken very seriously by the Independent Judging Panel. Judges invited to participate in the Awards are people who have notable expertise in relevant areas such as recruitment, business, health, community services and social inclusion. Revision of the Award assessment process occurs annually to ensure we uphold the highest standards of integrity.

Every nomination is subject to a comprehensive and rigorous assessment process using a standardised scoring and weighting system with auditing, variance, and due diligence checks to ensure consistency with the Award criteria. NESA announces a maximum of three finalists for each award category. The judging panel will exclude nominations that do not achieve an acceptable benchmark score from the determination of finalists. At their discretion, the judging panel may identify nominations worthy of additional commendation, recognition, or Award. A panel of at least two judges, including an Award Convenor, undertakes assessment of each Award category. Each judge independently assesses each nomination in the category, scoring each criterion and providing written comments including feedback on how to strengthen the nomination.

After assessment of all nominations for the category are complete, the Award Convenors conduct an audit, crosschecking all scores given by the category judging panel to identify any inconsistencies in scoring. Where this occurs, Award Convenors review the nomination before contacting the judge(s) to discuss the rationale for their score. As appropriate, the Award Convenor may convene a deliberation conference to discuss the nomination(s) or criteria for which scoring has been discordant and/or request a re-assessment by one or more judges.

Following finalisation of the assessment process, the top three nominations are announced as Award category finalists. Announcement of Award winners of each category occurs at the Gala Awards Dinner held in conjunction with the NESA National Conference.

NESA staff support the judging process but do not participate in the assessment of or review nominations. Management of nominations occurs with strict confidentiality processes in place.


Sean Armistead

Sean Armistead is an Indigenous executive with experience in strategy and innovation across corporate, government and Indigenous community sectors.

He has worked with many of Australia’s top brands; Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, CareerTrackers, Hewlett Packard (Asia Pacific), KPMG and Crown Resorts.

At a community level:
Chair of Ganbina – Agents of Change, a school to work transition program for Indigenous youth
Board Member of Kinaway Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce
Board Member of Killara Foundation
Council Member of University of Melbourne Alumni Council

Cofounder and former Board member of CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program. Former Board of Worawa Aboriginal College, Tarwirri Indigenous Lawyers Association.

Sean is currently Executive Director at Indigenous Business Australia. 

Michelle Crawford

Michelle Crawford has a wealth of knowledge and experience garnered over 30 years working, leading and inspiring others in the community sector. She is highly regarded for the energy and commitment she brings to partnerships with a diverse and complex range of stakeholders, including corporates, governments, philanthropists, donors and community organisations.  Michelle is currently CEO of Concern Australia, an organisation with a rich legacy of working with vulnerable young people and children in the areas of education; housing and homelessness; and youth justice (www.conceraustralia.org.au).

Michelle is passionate about discovering fresh, sustainable, and innovative responses that address the needs of our most marginalised members of the community.  She has decades of experience working collaboratively with purpose-driven organisations addressing injustice and inequality, work she sees as fundamental and necessary for fairer and inclusive communities of today and tomorrow.

Michelle currently serves as a Director on the Board of First Nations Foundation and Specialisterne Australia.  She is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and an Alumnus of Leadership Victoria’s Williamson Community Leadership Program, Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership, Workforce Innovation & Development Institute and Harvard University, John F Kennedy School of Government.  Michelle holds a Masters in Social Science, Graduate Diploma in Adult Education and Bachelor of Business.  She is also an active Rotarian.

Peter Laver, AM

After 40 years working with BHP in senior positions, Peter retired in 1998 to pursue other interests where he remains passionate – education, science, innovation and employment. A former Chancellor of the Victorian University of Technology, Peter has held more than 30 Chair, President, Vice-President and Director positions.

This has included for organisations such as the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, National Board of Employment Education and Training, Victorian Learning and Employment Skills Commission, Community Advisory Council for the Community Support Fund, and the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes. In addition, he provides voluntary expertise to many not-for-profit organisations.

Judges' Top Five Tips

Tip 1.

Take time to read and understand the criteria thoroughly – analyse the criteria to ensure you understand exactly what is required in your response. If you are unsure clarify the criteria with NESA.

Tip 2.

Make sure your response fully addresses the criteria. For instance, if a question asks you to provide a timeline then ensure you detail the response chronologically.

Tip 3.

Avoid writing expansive, sweeping claims or generic declarations. Such statements actually undermine the strength of a nomination, as typically, they contain very little substance and cannot be either proven or disputed.

Tip 4.

Be specific about your or the nominee’s achievements. Provide evidence to support your claims against the criteria and wherever possible use more than one statistic to prove the point. There are many forms of evidence that you can use to support your claims; data, performance reports, letters of commendation, case studies or examples – choose the form that best relates to the criterion and if the criterion asks for specific evidence e.g. data or a case study, provide what is asked for. If you use the option to upload supporting material, ensure you cross-reference the evidence in the criteria responses and clearly title the uploaded attachment.

Tip 5.

If you are writing about yourself, then be yourself. Judges want to get to know you from the pages of your nomination. They want to gain insight into the type of person you are e.g. your values and passion for what you do. If you are writing about someone else be sure to capture the real person in the nomination. We recommend that completion of nominations occur in partnership with nominees to ensure as much information about them as possible is captured in your submission.


Applications open: NOW OPEN!

Applications close: MONDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2022 | 5.00PM AEST

Judging: 6 – 20 SEPTEMBER 2022

Finalists announced: 26-30 SEPTEMBER 2022

Winners announced (at the Gala Awards Dinner): WEDNESDAY 5 OCTOBER 2022

By placing an entry in the Awards, the submitting organisation is confirming their commitment for a nominating Employment Consultant to attend the Awards for Excellence in person (or virtually upon special request) on Wednesday 5 October at the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney.


Are the Awards open to all employment programs?

The NESA Awards are to honour the work of the entire employment services sector and open to all NESA Member providers delivering any Australian Government contracted employment service or program.

The Awards cover all employment programs however please check each award category description and specific eligibility criteria.

Can I enter multiple candidates for one award?

Yes. NESA member organisations are encouraged to enter more than one nomination within a category.

Can I enter one candidate in more than one award?

Yes. NESA member organisations are encouraged to enter nominees across all categories for which they are eligible however, a unique submission is required for each award.

Can I re-enter a candidate from previous years?

Yes, provided the candidate meets the eligibility criteria.

Can we submit a few days late?

No. In the interest of fairness to all participants, no late entries will be accepted.

Who can I ask questions about the Awards?

NESA staff do not participate in the assessment of nominations and are available to answer general questions about the Awards, Award Categories, Criteria and lodgement of your nomination. In the interest of fairness and transparency questions lodged with NESA will be shared via the FAQ to ensure all potential nominees have access to the information.

The former job seeker that I would like to nominate for the Achiever of the Year award will only have completed their 13 week outcome by the closing date of the nominations. Are they still eligible for nomination?

Yes they are still eligible for nomination, however their nomination may not be scored highly in comparison to other nominated job seekers who have completed their full 26 week employment outcome.

Can videos be submitted as part of my nomination?

No, video files or online links to videos will not be accepted as part of nomination criteria or as supporting material.




We invite you to subscribe to NESA’s mailing list to stay up to date on the latest announcements.




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