CCA 2021 Year in Review

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has released its Year in Review achievements during 2021. Download a copy of this Review in PDF.


During the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Community Colleges Australia (CCA) continued to provide highly regarded advocacy, representation, professional development and other member services. We obtained a second NSW Adult and Community Education (ACE) infrastructure maintenance funding ($1 million) and a second NSW ACE “COVID-19 Relief Fund” payment ($2 million), expanded both NSW and Commonwealth Government engagement activities, and maintained our strong collaboration and consultation with Victorian ACE organisations and state funders. CCA is positioned to help its members and ACE providers around all of Australia meet the challenges facing providers and their communities in 2022 and beyond.

Recognition and Celebration of Achievements

CCA ran a number of important events during the year, including the first National Adult and Community Education (ACE) Summit in late June, with 172 participants – the largest ever participation in a CCA event. The Summit focused on foundation skills delivery and aged care workforce training, with presentations from David Crosbie, Community Council for Australia and Dr Marcia Keegan, SGS Economics and Planning. Three ministers spoke – New South Wales (Dr Geoff Lee), Victoria (Gayle Tierney) and Commonwealth (Stuart Robert)– as well as a panel discussion with Shadow Ministers from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The Summit provided CCA with a great platform in which to continue advocacy on state and national level, especially in aged care workforce training and foundation skills delivery.

CCA conducted its fifth annual Community Education Student of the Year Awards in 2021, with a strong field of finalists; the Awards ceremony takes place in February 2022.

Representation and Advocacy

CCA developed or continued advocacy in key areas of:

  • role of ACE providers in aged care workforce training
  • shortage of trainers for ACE providers
  • developing plans to re-engaging vulnerable and disadvantaged students into training
  • foundation skills – language, literacy, numeracy and digital skills
  • vaccination policies and training organisations

CCA produced and published a record number of reports and submissions in 2021, including:

  • Australian VET Students 2020 Fact Sheet 1, with state and national student comparisons of ACE and other VET sectors
  • Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Students of NSW Adult and Community Education Providers: Analysis of 2020 Data – Australian VET Fact Sheet 2, a continuation of CCA’s long-running analysis of NSW student demographics that shows how well the NSW ACE sector reaches important student cohorts
  • ACE Providers and Online Learning: Observations and Survey Insights, NCVER “No Frills” Conference (link)
  • Submission to the National Skills Commission Care Workforce Labour Market Study
  • CCA National ACE Summit Foundation Skills Resolutions (link)
  • Statement of support for national COVID-19 vaccination campaign (link)
  • Statement opposing the expansion of VET Student Loans to Certificate III level (link)
  • Background Briefing for NSW Upper Hunter By-Election Candidates (link)
  • Submission to Federal Labor on National VET Policy (link)
  • Submission to the Inquiry into Adult Literacy and its Importance – Commonwealth Parliament Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training (link)
  • Pre-Budget 2021 Submission to the NSW Government: Infrastructure Maintenance Funding for NSW Adult and Community Education Providers (link)

CCA also published the ground-breaking report Supporting pathways in learning and life: Non-accredited training within the New South Wales Adult and Community Education (ACE) Program, by Dr Jim Cloutman, Riverina Community College (link), and hosted two online sessions about the research.

CCA managed the Training Services NSW ACE Reference Group, and participated in the initial development of the NSW ACE Strategy. We represented members and the ACE sector through the Commonwealth Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE) national Vocational Education and Training Stakeholder Committee,  the ASQA Provider Roundtable, the NSW Skills Board Provider Reference Group, the Victorian ACE Policy Network and the Reading Writing Hotline Steering Committee. We contributed to other reference groups and reviews, including the USI External Reference Group (USIERG) the VET Data Streamlining.

CCA also supported efforts of national not-for-profit (NFP) peak organisations ACOSS and Community Council for Australia that ensured the ACE sector would receive appropriate government COVID-19 support, and that needs of training organisations were represented in national NFP advocacy activities.


CCA issued 75 news items and distributed 40 newsletters in 2021. We stayed active on social media - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube – with some posts reaching more than 2,000 people. CCA’s CEO ensured that our “voice” was heard through a series of thought leadership and opinion pieces on post-secondary education and training, published in Campus Review and John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations.

CCA staff presented four national conferences in 2021 – the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) Conference (link), Macquarie University Aged Care Policy Forum, NCVER No Frills (link) and AVETRA. Dr Perlgut was featured on Claire Field’s “What now? What next? Insights into Australia’s tertiary education sector” podcast, discussing the new National Skills Agreement.

In addition to speaking at a number of member network meetings, CCA staff visited ten members during the year: three in person and seven through Zoom.

Professional Development and Events

CCA continued to conduct all professional development activities through an online/virtual mode, again increasing the number of participant members. We conducted 11 professionally facilitated CEO Zoom virtual discussion meetings, including a session with Australian Government Productivity Commissioners on the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review, an ASQA National Regulator Update with CEO Saxon Rice, a forum with Human Services Skills Organisation CEO Jodi Schmidt, a half-day CEO-Chair workshop, a three-part series on resilience and mental health, a session on Strategic Risk Management with the AICD and a session on Sustainable and Diversified Business Models. CCA also hosted the Sydney Bureau Chief of the New York Times, Damien Cave, as the guest speaker at the November 2021 AGM.

CCA released a highly regarded set of eight new professionally produced audio podcasts on governance and executive leadership for ACE providers, featuring member CEOs, governance experts and leadership consultants. In total, CCA has produced 22 different podcasts, all freely available.

CCA launched an online member “Hub”, which allows CCA members to communicate with each other through a number of separate interest groups, including CEOs, aged care, foundation skills, VET managers, communications managers. CCA also commenced a popular online facilitated group coaching series for new CEOs, to assist their transition to senior leadership roles.

Governance and Finance

For the year ending 30 June 2021, CCA ran a small surplus, increasing our “retained earnings” to $301,340, and ending the 2020/21 financial year in a healthy “cash” position of $485,812: view our accounts on the ACNC website. We received funding from the NSW Government to support our servicing of NSW ACE providers and for the National ACE Summit and the 2021 Community Education Student of the Year Awards.

The CCA Board of Directors met six times during 2021, all online through Zoom. CCA held its Annual General Meeting in late November, when we noted the retirement of Directors Ted Nabung (Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Community College) and Jo Martin (Central Coast Community College). Other Directors continuing with were CCA Chair David MacKay (TLK Community College), Deputy Chair Theresa Collignon (Macquarie Community College), newly elected Treasurer Kerry Johnson (ACE Colleges), Jennifer Aldred (Sydney Community College), Ron Maxwell (VERTO), Jade Vermeer (Tamworth Community College) and Kerrie Smith (WEA Illawarra).

CCA maintained its stable and high-achieving professional staff throughout the year: CEO, Dr Don Perlgut; Manager, Policy & Projects, Evelyn Goodwin; and Office Manager, Clare Harris. Although CCA staff worked remotely from our Sydney CBD office for most of the year, staff all performed consistently at a very high level with no reduction in member servicing, programs, representation or advocacy.

Community Colleges Australia

Email us at or write to us at PO Box 1839, QVB Post Office, Sydney NSW 1230.

CCA logo

Comments are closed.