In our largest ever national Affinity Awards celebration, almost 50 early education professionals and centre teams have been recognised, rewarded and shared their passion for excellence and quality in early education.
CEO Tim Hickey said the Affinity Awards, which commenced back in 2015 with recognition of the six key Affinity Values, and core quality, education and management categories, had been approved to expand in 2023 in order to recognise the work being done by trainees, cooks, educators and centre management teams.
Additional categories were also added to allow nominations and winners for educators who have embraced Affinity’s Lifelong Learning Curriculum.
“Our 2023 Affinity Awards have easily been our biggest celebration to date, and it has been an absolute thrill to see the excitement, positivity and rewards provided to our teams after a massive year for the sector,” Mr Hickey said.
“No matter how many people are on our national team, our Affinity Values unite has and that was one of the obvious highlights of the awards.
“Our promise to our people is potential, realised and seeing the quality and talent across our centres highlighted by these awards has been a fantastic way to end 2023.”
The 2023 Affinity Awards featured
- 32 Categories
- More than 600 nominations generated for individual cooks, trainees, educators, early childhood teachers and Centre Managers
- More than 100 nomination and winner celebration posts on Facebook #2023AffinityAwards
- State final events hosted by State and Territory Managers in Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland, Canberra, New South Wales and Victoria
- National final event attended online by more than 300 employees
CEO’s Choice Award
The hotly contested CEO’s Choice Award was claimed this year by Queensland State Manager Carissa (Caz Laramy) who joined the company in late 2022 and now leads a team comprising ten Area Managers and more than 1000 employees across the state.
“Caz has done a magnificent job this year in bringing the state together and uniting our Queensland teams in line with our Affinity Value of Being Completely Connected, and her business acumen is balanced with genuine empathy and care for our people, which makes her a fantastic leader,” Mr Hickey said.
Best Centre Managers
The national Affinity Award for Best Centre Manager at Affinity Education has for the first time been awarded to two Centre Managers – Roshani Shetty from Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, and Sophie Cheung from Papilio Early Learning Epping.
The Best Centre Manager is awarded on the basis of multiple elements including peer nomination, business performance, National Quality Rating, and leadership.
NSW State Manager Tori Robinson, who nominated Sophie for the Best Centre Manager Award based on her outstanding performance in the Centre Management role during 2023, said the award recognised Sophie’s willingness to go above and beyond for her team and her centre outcomes.
“I am so honoured to receive this award from Affinity,” said Sophie.
Sophie’s fellow Best Centre Manager winner Roshani shared her excitement.
“Working for Affinity has been an absolute highlight for me,” said Roshani Shetty from Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, who together with her team claimed a total of 5 national awards, including Excellence in Quality and Excellence in Early Education. The centre team achieved an ‘Exceeding’ Quality rating earlier in 2023 just two years after being acquired by Affinity.
“Working for Affinity has been an absolute highlight for me,” said Roshani Shetty, who together with her team claimed a total of 5 national awards, including Excellence in Quality and Excellence in Early Education. The centre team achieved an ‘Exceeding’ Quality rating earlier in 2023 just two years after being acquired by Affinity.
See Sophie’s celebration and congratulations on Facebook here.
- Affinity Values Awards
Following State Finalists announcements the week prior, six centres were awarded National Finalists in the Affinity Values Awards.
“These centres are recognised for living our Affinity Values – and the result is centres which really have a special place in their local communities, and strong teams who deliver quality early education,” Mr Hickey said.
- Creating Shining Stars Milestones Early Learning Canning Vale WA
- Delivering Outstanding Professionalism Milestones Early Learning Points Cook, VIC
- Being Completely Connected Milestones Early Learning Everton Park, QLD
- Living the Team Spirit Kids Academy Rivett ACT
- Going Above and Beyond Milestones Early Learning Middle Swan WA
- Having Serious Fun Kids Academy Early Learning Spring Farm NSW
2023 National Affinity Awards Winners
State Manager’s Choice
- Kathy Wilson, Area Manager - QLD 02
- Jess Panek, Centre Manager - Milestones Early Learning Caloundra, QLD
- Jade Seabury, Area Manager - NSW 05
- Samantha Cummins, Area Manager - NSW 04
- Pree Kaur, Centre Manager - Milestones Early Learning Point Cook, VIC
- Roshani Shetty, Centre Manager - Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC
- Angela Albrey, Centre Manager - Milestones Early Learning Middle Swan, WA
- Harmandip Kaur, Centre Manager - Milestones Early Learning Parap, NT
- Sonia Batisstel, Assistant Centre Manager - Paplio Early Learning Turner, ACT
Education and Care Awards
- Trainee of the Year: Georgia Lane, Milestones Early Learning Elderslie, NSW
- Educational Leaders of the Year:
- Sarah Burgess, Queensland
- Aparna Aravind, Victoria
- Lead Educator of the Year: Natalie Pandelidis, Milestones Early Learning Greensborough, VIC
- Lifelong Learning Curriculum - Nursery Educator of the Year: Tara Hartnett, Papilio Early Learning Ingleburn, NSW
- Lifelong Learning Curriculum - Toddler Educator of the Year: Kaleopy Kypreos, Milestones Early Learning Parap, NT
- Lifelong Learning Curriculum - School Readiness Educator of the Year: Mounita Biswas, Papilio Early Learning Robina, QLD
- Early Childhood Teacher of the Year: Caroline Schaap, Milestones Early Learning Ringwood, VIC
- Cook of the Year: Daniel Try, Papilio Early Learning Hornsby, NSW
- Safety Leader of the Year: Natalie Baker, Queensland
Most Improved & Excellence Awards
- Most improved in Early Education: Milestones Early Learning Point Cook VIC
- Excellence in Early Education: Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC
- Most Improved in Quality: Milestones Early Learning Leanyer, NT
- Excellence in Quality: Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC
- Most Improved in Safety and Compliance: Kids Academy Early Learning Glenmore Park, NSW
- Excellence in Safety and Compliance: Milestones Early Learning Hoxton Park, NSW
- Most Improved in Occupancy: Milestones Early Learning Edgewater, WA
- Excellence in Occupancy: Kids Academy Early Learning Erina Heights, NSW
- Most Improved in Labour Management: Papilio Early Learning Pitt Town, NSW
- Excellence in Labour Management: Milestones Early Learning Capalaba, QLD
- Most Improved in People Development: Papilio Early Learning Bella Vista, NSW
- Excellence in People Development: Milestones Early Learning Pacific Paradise, QLD
- Most Improved in Customer Service:
- Milestones Early Learning Wyndham Vale, VIC
- Papilio Early Learning Wakerley, QLD
- Excellence in Customer Service: Papilio Early Learning Coombabah, QLD
- Most Improved in Business Performance: Papilio Early Learning Reedy Creek, QLD
- Excellence in Business Performance – QLD: Papilio Early Learning Currumbin, QLD
- Excellence in Business Performance – ACT: Papilio Early Learning Bruce, ACT
- Excellence in Business Performance – VIC: Milestones Early Learning Greensborough, VIC
- Excellence in Business Performance – WA: Milestones Early Learning Dalyellup, WA
- Excellence in Business Performance – NT: Milestones Early Learning Wagaman, NT
- Excellence in Business Performance NSW & Overall National Winner: Kids Academy Preschool, NSW
In celebrating the award for Most Improved in Quality, Centre Manager Mel Betz from Milestones Early Learning Leanyer NT said the best outcome was the recognition for commitment, determination and changes made at the centre.
- Best Assistant Centre Manager – Runner Up: Kim Cassar - Milestones Early Learning Greensborough, VIC
- Best Assistant Centre Manager – National Winner: Chloe Hammer - Milestones Early Learning West Kinross, WA
- Most Improved Centre Manager: Tamara James - Milestones Early Learning Gulliver
- Best Centre Manager – Runner Up: Nicole Rowett - Milestones Early Learning Edgewater, WA
- Best Centre Manager - National Winners
- Chuek (Sophie) Cheung - Papilio Early Learning Epping, NSW
- Roshani Shetty - Milestones Early Learning Tarneit, VIC
Affinity Education Group would like to thank and acknowledge our valued sponsors for the 2023 Affinity Awards.
Platinum Sponsor – Rockbuild Group
Silver Sponsor – Complete Office Supplies
Partner Sponsor – ABC Reading Eggs