2017 CCA Annual Conference


The Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference is the premier event for Australian adult and community education providers.

The 2017 conference theme Community Education: Investing in our Future recognised the importance that education plays in people’s lives. The community education sector, because of our strong community links and our not-for-profit status, plays an essential role in ensuring that investment in Australian skills development is both meaningful and properly targeted to Australian learners and the communities most in need.

The conference took place in Melbourne on 25-27 July 2017.

Download a copy of the conference brochure here:

CCA 2017 Conference Brochure and Programme


CCA 2017 Awards Dinner

Hotel Windsor, Wednesday 26 July 2017


Guest speaker: Anzac Leidig, Head Tennis Coach/Program Coordinator, Evonne Goolagong Foundation. Anzac is an Aboriginal Ngarrindjeri man from the lower lakes of the Coorong in South Australia. In 2004 Anzac first began to pursue his passion in mentoring Indigenous school students in and around Adelaide. Anzac has been working for Evonne Goolagong Cawley and her husband Roger for 13 years. In 2006-2007 Anzac moved to Norwich England to coach tennis. Upon returning to Australia Anzac took up a role with the Evonne Goolagong Foundation assisting in running coaching, mentoring, Come N Try Days, State Camps and a National Camp.

Community Education Student of the Year Awards

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) announced the first “Community Education Student of the Year” Award Winner, as part of this year’s Annual Conference.

The official Awards announcement took place at the CCA Conference “Gala Dinner”, held on Wednesday 26 July 2017 at The Windsor Hotel, Melbourne.

The Student of the Year shortlist included eight students from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, who have studied in metropolitan, regional and rural community colleges.

CCA is very pleased to announce Jolie Kaja as the 2017 Winner. Gordon Amann from Coffs Coast Community College received the Award on behalf of Jolie:

Jolie Kaja, Winner, nominated by Coffs Coast Community College, Coffs Harbour NSW, studied Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care). Originally from the Congo, Jolie fled to a Zambian refugee camp for seven years before arriving in Australia. Jolie is a single mother with four children who could speak Swahili, French and eight other African languages – but not English – when she first arrived. After earning a Certificate III in English, she decided that aged care was important after seeing the suffering of her people in Congo and Zambia. She works at St Joseph’s Aged Care in Coffs Harbour as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN).

Julia Chant, Highly Commended, nominated by Byron Community College, Mullumbimby NSW, studied Certificate IV in New Small Business. A former actor and dancer, Julia has overcome substantial personal, family and health challenges to start a new business, Micro-living Australia, which manufactures expandable, contemporary designed, off grid optional dwellings that are location flexible, easy to install and inexpensive. Her course at Byron rebuilt her confidence and helped her to create a business plan. She has two young adult sons and feels compelled to help them and others achieve the Australian dream of owning their own home.

Award Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Madhi Akbari, nominated by Macquarie Community College, Carlingford NSW, studied Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways, Certificate III in Individual Support, Certificate IV in Ageing Support and General Education for Adults. A migrant to Australia from Iran along with his wife, Madhi holds a Bachelors and a Master of Philosophy from his home country. He has overcome the challenges of no local family, not knowing English and requiring re-education, and now works with home care provider “The Cooperative Life”; he has recently won the “employee of the year” award.

Georgia Mary Black, nominated by Western Riverina Community College, Griffith NSW, studies Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care). She recently graduated from high school, has a small learning disability, and is supported by Griffith Post School Options (GPSO). Georgia has been a highly assiduous student, committed to her studies and to developing a career and self-sufficiency. Her ability to get along with people makes her a natural fit for her chosen career.

Anthony (Tony) Dunn, nominated by Port Macquarie Community College, Port Macquarie NSW, studied Certificate III in Individual Support. He has learning difficulties due to dyslexia and two brothers with muscular dystrophy. After losing his job, he decided to change careers and become a qualified carer. With more practice, including support from teachers, trainers and classmates, his reading has improved greatly. Tony is a great raconteur, sharing stories that are enthralling, sometimes riotously funny and sometimes painfully tragic. His own family history means that he understands the challenges of supporting families with disabilities. Tony now works with St Agnes Parish Centacare in Port Macquarie.

Dimitri Galouzis, nominated by The Parramatta College, Parramatta NSW, studied Computers for Beginners and Introduction to Microsoft Word. Growing up in Darwin, Northern Territory, Dimitri’s primary year schooling taught him little. Following Cyclone Tracy in 1974, his family moved to Sydney and he had no clothes. He has worked in the hospitality industry for more than 30 years as bar attendant, waiter, cook and hotel receptionist, and owned his own takeaway shop for 16 years. His further study in computers has helped to advance his career as a Security Officer at the University of NSW, and he looks forward to entering management and extending his leadership skills.

Marcelle Orfali, nominated by Lalor Learning and Living Centre (LLLC), Lalor VIC, studied Certificate I in General Education for Adults. Marcelle arrived in Australia from Egypt in 1968 with her husband and young son. She first lived in a Housing Commission flat in South Melbourne, then purchased a home in St Albans and now lives in Mill Park. She worked for Telecom (later Telstra) for more than 20 years and raised 2 children, with little time to study. Because of how LLLC helped her life, she has joined the Committee of Management and provides a role model for others to study.

Benjamin (Ben) Simpson, nominated by ACE Community Colleges, Burleigh Heads QLD, studied Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) and Introduction to Leisure and Health. Born in Melbourne, Ben moved with his family to country Victoria and most recently to the Tweed. His original career in air-conditioning systems brought him in contact with elderly people, and he decided to change careers to work in aged care. His exemplary performance on vocational placements resulted in his gaining employment prior to even completing the placements. He currently works as a disability support worker at Lifebridge.

Nominations were open to students who had recently studied at Australian not-for-profit community education organisations. Judging criteria included career and study achievements, such as personal or career gains,  understanding of the value of learning and training, and integration of training with work; communication, team and leadership skills, such as oral and written communication, self-reliance and resilience in times of challenge, effective participation in teams, taking a leadership role in training, study or industry, and capacity to be an effective ambassador for their organisation or community; and other activities including community, such as personal achievements in areas other than study and work, community involvement, community service activities, clubs or organisations and awareness of current social, economic and political issues.

For more information about the awards, contact CCA.

Below are some of the main presentations.

Click here for the full list of presentations.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills

The Hon Karen Andrews MP was first elected to Federal Parliament in 2010 to represent the electorate of McPherson on the southern Gold Coast and was appointed Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills in July 2016. Mrs Andrews is focused on raising the status of VET and ensuring it provides people with the skills industry is looking for to secure the jobs of the future. Prior to entering parliament, Mrs Andrews’ background was in engineering, industrial relations and running her own business. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Engineering, Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations and Certificate in Mediation.


Senator the Hon Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships

Following work as a mechanical fitter in the steel, ship repair, automotive and power industries, Doug Cameron was elected by manufacturing workers to represent them in various positions in the AMWU including delegate, organiser, Assistant State Secretary, Assistant National Secretary, National Secretary and Vice President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. Doug has played a key role in developing industrial and political strategies designed to improve employment security, wages, and skill and industry development in the manufacturing industry. He has been at the centre of ACTU and AMWU campaigns on workers entitlements, health and safety, work and family balance and the right to collectively bargain. Doug was elected to the Senate in 2007 federal election, and appointed Shadow Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships in 2016. He is also the Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness. He was born in Scotland and lives in the Blue Mountains.


Susan Pascoe AM, Commissioner, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Susan Pascoe AM is the inaugural Commissioner for the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC), Australia’s first national, independent regulator of charities established in December 2012. Prior to this appointment, Ms Pascoe was Commissioner of the State Services Authority in Victoria. In this role she chaired or co-chaired reviews into the regulation of the not-for-profit sector (2007-08), the design and governance of regulatory bodies in Victoria (2008-09), and  Victoria’s Indigenous Employment Strategy (2008-09).  Ms Pascoe was appointed in 2009 as one of three Commissioners for the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Black Saturday Bushfires.


Peter Noonan, Professor of Tertiary Education Policy, Mitchell Institute, Victoria University, Melbourne

Professor Peter Noonan has played a major role in shaping policy in Australia’s education and training system and has experience working as a policy adviser, senior executive and consultant to federal and state governments, universities, higher education providers and TAFE institutes. His current research work is focused on tertiary education funding including analysis of proposals for fee deregulation, the opening up of higher education funding to private higher education institutions, options for reform of Australia’s income contingent loans system and the development of a more coherent tertiary education system in Australia across the higher education and VET sectors. Peter has extensive international experience having undertaken major in country projects in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, China, Namibia and Papua New Guinea and as an invited speaker and delegation member in India, Hong Kong, Japan, Brazil, Korea, the USA and England. Peter is also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne in the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership.


The Hon Michael Lavarch AO, Commissioner – Risk, Intelligence and Regulatory Support, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

The Hon Michael Lavarch AO has extensive experience in higher education and the public policy process. He is a former Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Queensland University of Technology and Secretary-General of the Law Council of Australia. From 1987 to 1996, Mr Lavarch was a Member of the Australian Parliament, and he served as Attorney-General from 1993 to 1996. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012 for his contribution to the law, education and human rights.

Michael Lavarch commenced as a Commissioner of ASQA on 16 April 2012.


Lynn Glover, CEO (Director) Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority

Lynn Glover has been CEO (Director) of the Victorian Registration and Qualification Authority since June 2007. She is responsible for the establishment, development and implementation of regulation for the registration and ongoing quality assurance of education and training providers in Victoria. This role oversees home schooling, school education (both public and private), vocational education and training, overseas student exchange programs, apprenticeships and traineeships. Ms Glover represents the VRQA a number of Commonwealth and State advisory committees and works closely with a broad range of education stakeholders.


Professor Rodney Maddock, Monash Business School, and President, Economic Society of Australia, Victorian Branch

Dr Rodney Maddock is Professor, Monash Business School, Monash University; Vice Chancellor’s Fellow, Victoria University; and President, Economic Society of Australia (Victorian Branch). Dr Maddock was previously a senior executive at the Commonwealth Bank after earlier stints as Chief Economist for the Business Council of Australia, Head of Economic Policy in the Victorian Cabinet Office, and a Professor of Economics at La Trobe University. Rod is a frequent conference speaker. He has also written extensively on different aspects of the Australian economy, and comments regularly of the Australian Financial Review and The Conversation. His books include The Australian economy in the long run and Unlocking the infrastructure.


Terry Rawnsley, SGS Economic and Planning, National Leader for Economic and Social Analysis

Terry Rawnsley helps businesses and governments make informed decisions by taking complex data and distilling them into simple to understand options.  He is Australia’s leading thinker on the link between the urban productivity and the macroeconomy. Terry has prepared the Australian Cities Accounts which has filled a key void in economic policy evidence base by measuring urban and regional economic growth. Terry was co-author to a chapter in the book ‘Australia’s Unintended Cities’ looking at the link between urban structure and productivity. In 2017, Terry was selected as the Planning Champion by the Planning Institute of Australia. He will talk about “Is Uneven Economic Growth Dividing Australian Society?”

Professor Erica Smith, Professor and Personal Chair in Vocational Education and Training, Federation University Australia

Professor Erica Smith joined Federation University in March 2008 and is the convenor of the university’s research group Research in Adult and Vocational Education (RAVE). Prior to this she was Professor of Vocational Education and Training (VET) at Charles Sturt University, where she was discipline leader in VET and convenor of Charles Sturt University’s research grouping RIVET (Research in Vocational Education and Training). She is Associate Editor of the international journal Education + Training, and on the editorial board of four others, two of which are international. Professor Smith has managed more than 20 national research projects, including four Australian Research Council-funded grants. Her work has been cited in government inquiries many times, she has frequently advised governments, both in Australia and overseas. Professor Smith has also worked as a personnel manager in industry, TAFE teacher, community worker, manager of a Registered Training Organisation and Executive Director of a State Industry Training Advisory Board.


Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita

Emma Dawson is the Executive Director of Per Capita. Formerly, she was a senior advisor on Digital Inclusion at Telstra, Executive Director of the Institute for a Broadband Enabled Society at the University of Melbourne, and a senior policy advisor in the Rudd and Gillard governments. Emma has published more than 50 articles and opinion pieces on a wide range of public policy issues, which have appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Guardian, The Australian, The Monthly and online publications. Emma holds a BA (First Class Hons) from LaTrobe University and an MA (Distinction) from Monash. She sits on the boards of the Prader-Willi Research Foundation Australia and Arts Access Victoria.

Emma Dawson will be presenting with Warwick Smith (see below) about the results of the CCA-Per Capita collaborative research into the value of infrastructure investment in community education providers.


Dr Laurie Chesley, Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan USA

Dr Laurie Chesley has many years of experience as a senior academic leader and faculty member in various higher education institutions, including four-year public and private schools, as well as community colleges. Dr Chesley earned her doctorate in English from the University of Notre Dame. In 2013, she received a Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award from the Michigan Chapter of the American Council on Education.  She is an accreditation peer reviewer for the United States Higher Learning Commission, and she teaches in the Doctorate in Community College Leadership Program at Ferris State University.

Along with her colleague, Dr Roberta Teahan, Dr Chesley will be speaking about “Regional Economic Development: A View from American Community Colleges“.


Dr Roberta Teahen, Associate Provost & Director of the Doctorate in Community College Leadership, Ferris State University, Michigan USA

Dr Roberta Teahen has worked for Ferris for 15 years, where her responsibilities include oversight of accreditation, evaluation, and assessment.  Since 2010, she has also led a doctoral program that will have graduated close to 100 individuals with more than 95 currently enrolled.  She has also spent much of her career at Northwestern Michigan Community College in leadership roles including Director of the Business Division and Dean of Workforce Development. Professionally she is active with the regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, as a team chair, member of the Institutional Actions Council, and Assessment and Completion Academies’ mentor. Dr Teahen earned her doctorate in Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Learning from Michigan State University.  In 2014, Dr Teahen was awarded the Athena Grand Traverse Award, in recognition of excellence, creativity and initiative and in assisting women in reaching their leadership potential and as the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education award by the Michigan chapter of the American Council on Education in 2015.


Sarah Davies, Chief Executive Officer, Philanthropy Australia

Prior to joining Philanthropy Australia in October 2015, Sarah was CEO of The Reach Foundation, a for-purpose organisation working to improve the wellbeing of young people so they can get the most out of life. Sarah has also been CEO of the Australian Communities Foundation, a non-profit charitable foundation which enables accessible philanthropy and matches its donors’ interests to emerging social issues and needs of communities. Before moving into the non-profit sector, her professional life included senior executive roles in tertiary education in Australia and private sector consulting in HR, marketing and strategy in Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Sarah’s current community roles include Director of Kids Under Cover and board member of the Centre for Social Impact. Sarah is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow of the Williamson Community Leadership Program and a Victorian JP.


David Pearson, Executive Director, Don Dunstan Foundation, University of Adelaide

David Pearson is the Executive Director of the Don Dunstan Foundation, a leading think tank in South Australia established to promote the values and vision of its founder, the late Premier Don Dunstan. The Foundation focusses on social justice and human rights issues through research, public events, collaborative projects and creating new ventures, including how to establish new business models to make the delivery of community services like education more financially sustainable. Prior to his current role, David was a Senior Adviser to South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill.


Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsors

Program Partner

Silver and Conference Opening Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

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The CCA 2017 Annual Conference provides an unparalleled business opportunity for sponsors through dynamic social events and interactive exhibitions.

CCA has a number of sponsorship opportunities available: to become a 2017 Annual Conference Sponsor, please download the sponsor brochure, complete the application form, and email it to admin@cca.edu.au.

Sponsorship opportunities are strictly limited, so apply early!

Sponsorship Terms and Conditions can be found here.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin (American “founding father”, author, inventor, printer,
politician, scientist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat)

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

Nelson Mandela

“Education is an investment on the future of our societies. We need to get it right.”

Angel Gurria (OECD Secretary-General)

“The more that you read the more things you will learn,
The more that you learn the more places you will go.”

Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel), American children’s author

“Education: the most powerful investment in our future.”

Yoka Brandt (Deputy Executive Director at UNICEF)

“Education has its price everywhere – but the only thing more expensive than investing in education is not investing in education.”

Sarah Menne and Anette Stein (Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation)

“Education is not only a ladder of opportunity but it is also an investment in our future.”

Ed Markey (American politician)

“Investment in infrastructure is investment in change. It represents a people’s belief in something better yet to come, and the willingness to help it along.”

David Von Drehle, journalist

CCA acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of our land Australia, and that this conference takes place on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.