2018 CCA Annual Conference

Taking the Lead:
Building Community

Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference

Sydney, 13-15 November 2018

About the Conference

CCA's Annual Conference returns to Sydney this November, promising an informative, inventive and invigorating two days of international speakers, expert presenters and community education provider specialists.

It is the go-to event for community education CEOs, training managers, other senior staff and board representatives of CCA members, other adult and community organisations, employment service agencies, policy makers, consultants, researchers and senior State and Commonwealth government staff.

This year’s conference theme is Taking the Lead: Building Community, with four streams:

  • leadership and governance
  • building skills
  • community and economic development
  • social justice

The Conference will feature the “Community Education Student of the Year” Award at the Gala Dinner on Wednesday 14 November. Our annual sponsor exhibition will also return with more suppliers than ever before.

CCA has called for expressions of interest to present at the Conference. Contact us if you have any questions, and mark your diary now.

Conference Schedule

Tuesday 13 November 2018, 6.00 pm: Drinks on the Harbour.
This year our welcome drinks take place against one of the world's most famous backdrops with a 2 hour cruise on Sydney's iconic harbour.

Wednesday and Thursday, 14 and 15 November: Conference Day 1 & Day 2.
An eclectic mix of key note speakers and streamed presentations, catering for the different areas of interest in the ACE arena.

Wednesday 14 November, from 6.30 pm: Gala Dinner, featuring the Student of the Year Award.
Our annual dinner will be held in The Grand Central Ballroom at The Mercure, and will once again celebrate the achievements of our incredible students.

Click here for the confirmed speakers and sessions.

Details of last year's conference can be found here.



The Conference will include sessions on foundation skills, migrant and refugee education, “Going online: Is it worth it?”, social enterprise, business incubators, and CCA action research projects on Western Sydney regional economic development and NSW Aboriginal economic development.

The Hotel

The Conference and Gala Dinner will be held at The Mercure Sydney, 818-820 George St, Sydney NSW 2007.

The Mercure Sydney features more than 500 modern rooms, a busy restaurant and bar and a rooftop indoor swimming pool, gymnasium and sauna.

Accommodation: Conference attendees will receive a discount when booking accommodation at the Mercure: please call 02 9217 6797 and quote code CCA2018 - this will give you access to 10% off the best unrestricted rate of the day at the time of making the booking.

Other Accommodation options nearby:

The area around Central Station has a wide range of accommodation styles to suit all budgets.  As well as preferential rates at the Mercure, CCA has been able to arrange the following discounts:

The Old Clare Hotel, 1 Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008:  A boutique hotel, stretching across two iconic heritage-listed buildings – The Clare Hotel pub and the Carlton & United Breweries Administration Building.  A few minutes walk from the Mercure, the hotel sits among the newest cafes, restaurants and bars in Chippendale. Conference Attendees will receive a 15% discount by contacting the Reservations Department or calling 02 8277 8277, and quoting CCA2018.

28Hotel, 28 Regent Street, Chippendale, NSW 2008: 28Hotel promises everything you need and nothing you don't. With a range of rooms and secure parking, the hotel offers a great budget-conscious alternative. Close to Central Station and three minutes walk from the Mercure, the hotel is in an excellent location for our delegates. Conference Attendees will receive a  15% reduction on the best available online rates (Booking.com, Expedia etc) using the promocode CCA2018.

Adina Apartment Hotel Sydney Central offers apartment living with the benefit of full hotel services within a beautifully restored and heritage-listed landmark.  Use the promocode TH10880530 to receive a 10% discount on the market rate over the nights of 11-17 November 2018.

The Cruise: Drinks on the Harbour

These year CCA's welcome drinks (Tuesday 13 November) will take place on Sydney's iconic harbour. The two hour cruise will welcome our attendees to Sydney, letting them greet old friends, meet new delegates, network with speakers and sponsors, all while enjoying one of the best views in the world.

The cruise will leave from Darling Harbour, King Street Wharf at 6.00 pm sharp for a two hour tour with light refreshments.

The Neighbourhood

The Mercure Sydney sits next to Sydney's historic Central Railway Station, near the centre of Sydney's major transport links. This part of Sydney has been transformed in recent years, with the opening of the new Palace Central Cinema in Broadway’s Central Park Mall, and architectural masterpieces such as the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, the first in Australia designed by Frank Gehry, one of the world’s most celebrated architects. For those interested in the “new economy”, The Mercure sits in the geographic centre of Australia’s start-up innovation systems, based in Ultimo, Pyrmont and Surry Hills, and “a stone’s throw” from the ABC’s national studio headquarters. The Mercure also sits only minutes from Sydney’s Chinatown, Darling Harbour and iconic Capitol Theatre. The University of Sydney’s classic sandstone campus is a short stroll away, as are the stylish shops and coffeehouses of Glebe. Sydney’s best bargain and remaindered bookshop, Basement Books, sits less than 100 metres from the Conference venue.

The City

We have some of the best beaches, the most exciting fashion and shopping and truly great dining experiences. The City of Sydney is proud of its arts and creative spaces, including hidden public artworks. Want some more recommendations? – try Time Out’s “50 best things to do in Sydney” or Trip Advisor’s list of best-rated attractions. CCA’s CEO, a long-time resident of Sydney, recommends walking the Sydney Harbour Bridge (via the historic Rocks), touring the Sydney Opera House, taking the ferry to Manly (and then walking around to Shelly Beach), tasting the culinary and beach-side pleasures of Bondi Beach, visiting Darling Harbour, walking to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair – and back through the Botanic Gardens, visiting the Art Gallery of NSW (free admission), checking out Taronga Zoo, and – for those with an extra day or two – travelling west to the glorious scenic and historic Blue Mountains, for one of the most exciting mountain experiences, only 90 minutes away by a train that leaves almost from your hotel door.

CCA is looking for innovative, educative and inspiring presentations and ideas that will engage our conference attendees, who will come from all around Australia and overseas.  We are particularly interested in presentations that deal with the conference theme of “Taking the Lead – Building Community”. However all presentation ideas will be considered if they are suitable for our audience of staff and leaders of adult and community education (ACE) organisations, government policy makers, consultants, researchers and other VET leaders. We are particularly looking for presentations that:

  • relate directly to the experiences of Australian community education providers;
  • present new, unique and challenging perspectives on ACE and vocational education and training (VET);
  • provide valuable historical, political and social context;
  • present case studies of “things that work” in ACE;
  • could be presented in a “workshop” format that allows participants to work with the presenter to develop new skills, insights and understandings; and
  • provide international perspectives that Australian participants will find valuable and stimulating.

"Adopt as your fundamental creed that you will equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the whole community."

Sir John Monash

Topic areas that we wish to cover include those in the four conference strands of leadership and governance, building skills, social justice, and community and economic development, and could include:

  • meeting the needs of vulnerable and disadvantaged learners and communities, including groups such as Indigenous Australians, regional and rural residents, older Australians, young people, people with disabilities and people who face mental health challenges;
  • promoting strong governance in not-for-profit community-based organisations;
  • the ability for community-based providers to diversify business models through development of new sources of funding and activities;
  • social entrepreneurship and supporting small business;
  • integrating community and economic development approaches;
  • leadership, strategic development and human resource management of not-for-profit educational organisations;
  • developing and communicating an inspiring organisational “mission”; and
  • marketing and branding community-based organisations in the “noisy” digital world.

Please download CCA Abstract Word document as your proposal template, fill it in, and return it in Word version by email to CCA by Friday 17 August 2018 to admin@cca.edu.au with a copy to don.perlgut@cca.edu.au. We welcome queries in advance of a formal submission of interest. CCA will be reviewing proposals as they arrive, including early acceptance of selected papers – so we encourage your early submission of proposals.

“The greatest thing about VET is its accessibility and focus on life-long learning. It’s the only sector of education that embraces the concept of continuous and integrated learning.”

Bruce Mackenzie PSM

CCA dedicates the Conference Social Justice strand to the memory of Martin Luther King, who died exactly 50 years ago.

photo credit: Don Perlgut

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) is pleased to announce the second annual “Community Education Student of the Year Awards”, with the official ceremony at the CCA Conference “Gala Dinner” on the evening of Wednesday 14 November 2018. This year the Awards are supported by the NSW Department of Industry.

CCA invites nominations of students who have undertaken or are currently undertaking formal study with an Australian not-for-profit community education organisation during the period 1 July 2017 through 31 August 2018.  Award nominations must be submitted through their community education provider.

Prizes: The total prize "pool" for the winner and honourable mentions will exceed $2500.

CCA welcomes all nominations, not only from member institutions. There is no nomination fee and no age limit, although students need to be at least 18 years old by 31 August 2018.

Please submit nomination forms by Friday 31 August 2018 in Microsoft Word format as email attachments to admin@cca.edu.au, marked “2018 Student of The Year Nomination”.

Shortlisted entrants will be notified as soon as possible after the closing date through their nominating organisation, and invited to attend the Awards at the Gala Dinner (students do not need to be present at the dinner to receive an award.)

Decisions on the Award winner/s will be based on the nomination and statement, using the judging criteria of career and study achievements; communication, team and leadership skills development; and achievements in areas other than study and work, including community involvement. More details on judging criteria can be found in the Terms and Conditions.

Download a copy of the 2018 Nomination form here (Word document).

View the 2018 Award Terms and Conditions here.

Details of the 2017 CCA Community Education Student of the Year Award nominees and winners are available here.

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) has released its 2018 Conference Sponsorship Brochure, detailing opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors to showcase themselves at this year’s conference.

The 2018 CCA Conference is the opportunity for your company or organisation to connect with not-for-profit community education providers and lift your profile in our sector. The Conference is a unique opportunity to meet with our member adult and community education (ACE) organisation members in person, given that so many of them operate in regional and rural locations.

Our delegates include community education CEOs, training managers, other senior staff and board representatives of CCA members, other ACE organisations, employment service agencies, policy makers, consultants, researchers and senior Commonwealth and state government staff.

Our sponsors: Our sponsors receive acknowledgement prior to, during and after the conference through conference materials, the conference app, CCA’s website and emails. Our sponsors enjoy significant contact with delegates during the conference and social events – at every morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea-time. Attendance at the welcome drinks and awards dinner is encouraged, where sponsors can mingle with delegates in a more relaxed setting.

Our sponsorship levels: We are pleased to offer sponsorship at three levels: Gold, Silver and Bronze, with special one-off opportunities for sponsoring the Conference Opening/Welcome Drinks, and the 2018 Community Education Student of the Year Awards.

CCA extensively promotes the annual Conference, both in Australia and internationally. Sponsors enjoy exposure to our large database of ACE providers, industry experts and stakeholders with regular newsletters, emails and social media posts to targeted groups throughout the conference lead-in. The sooner you sign on as a sponsor, the more recognition you will receive as we promote the Conference. In both 2016 and 2017, all exhibition opportunities were subscribed many weeks in advance.

For more details: download the sponsorship brochure or contact us – email Anne Walter or ring us on (02) 9233 3634.

CCA 2018 Annual Conference Registration

Please note: prices below are exclusive of the Eventbrite booking fee* and GST.

Ticket Type

CCA Members

Non Members

Full Conference - Early Bird Special until 31 August 2018

  • Attendance at all sessions on Conference Day 1 and Day 2 at the Mercure Hotel, including lunch and refreshments
  • Attendance for you and one guest (CCA Members only) at the Drinks on the Harbour Cruise at 6.00 pm on Tues 13 November
  • Attendance for you only at the Gala Dinner at the Mercure Hotel at 6.30 pm on Wed 14 November

($855 after
31 August)

($975 after
31 August)

One Day only

  • Attendance at all sessions on Day 1 or Day 2 at the Mercure Hotel, including lunch and refreshments
  • This ticket does not include attendance to the Drinks on the Harbour Cruise or Gala Dinner - if you wish to attend either or both of these, and are not attending as another delegate's guest, please purchase additional tickets



Drinks on the Harbour Cruise

  • If you would like to join the Drinks in the Harbour Cruise but have not purchased a full conference ticket
  • if you have a full conference ticket and would like to bring additional guests on the cruise (one guest is included in the CCA Members' full conference ticket)



Gala Dinner

  • If you would like to join the Gala Dinner but have not purchased a full conference ticket
  • If you have a full conference ticket and would like to bring a guest to the dinner



*The Eventbrite booking fee comprises 2% of ticket price plus 99c per ticket to a maximum fee of $7.95 per ticket


Community Colleges Australia acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of our land, Australia. CCA acknowledges that our Sydney conference will take place on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and we welcome any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who wish to attend our conference.