2023 CCA Annual Conference

2023 CCA Annual Conference: Building ACE Futures

The Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference returns in-person to Sydney on 10 & 11 October 2023. We plan an inventive and invigorating two days of expert presenters, challenging panel discussions, engaging workshops and delightful social events, building on our highly successful Conference in September 2022.

The 2023 Conference theme is “Building ACE Futures: Adult and Community Education Reimagined”. During fluid social and economic times, from the impact of automation and AI to evidence-based personalised learning and community partnerships, our presenters, workshop leaders and participants will be challenged to reimagine new means for foundational and data-driven learning through collaborative and inspiring sessions.

Our speakers: Chemene Sinson returns as the Conference MC, and a number of speakers are being confirmed – view the latest speaker update here.

Community Education Trainer of the Year Award: The conference dinner on 10 October will host the ceremony of second CCA Community Education Trainer of the Year Awards, which celebrates the work and underlines the importance of Australian ACE trainers and teachers. Trainer Award nominations will open in June and close in late August, with finalists announced by mid-September.

Special events: The pre-conference social event highlight will be our popular Welcome Drinks get together on Monday evening, 9 October, at The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf in Hickson Road, Dawes Point.

Location and venue: The 2023 Conference will unfold at the Hotel Amora Jamison Sydney close to Wynyard rail station and Sydney’s bustling Circular Quay ferry terminals, only a short walk to the historic Rocks District, the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Close by there’s the best a revitalised Sydney CBD offers: the best shopping in New South Wales in Pitt Street Mall district, the glorious Botanic Gardens in full spring splendour, dynamic new Barangaroo waterside redevelopments, the expanded and exciting Art Gallery of NSW, a re-modelled Australian Museum, the historic State Library and world-famous restaurants.

Do you wish to present? CCA has opened expressions of interest to present at the Conference. We particularly welcome proposals that fit into the conference theme and key themes. Download the “Call for Papers” or read more here.

Supporters, sponsors and services: Our annual sponsor exhibition returns with a promising mix of ideas, products and services – last year it was sold out, so if you want to participate, please contact CCA now. A full prospectus will be available soon, so get in quickly.

Registration: Early Bird registration will be available from 1 June 2023. Please register your interest with CCA.

COVID safety: CCA and the Conference venue will adhere to all health guidelines and encourage participants to practice “COVID safe” behaviours. (More details to come.)

Contact us: Contact CCA via email if you have any questions.


Not-for-profit adult and community education (ACE) organisations

  • CEOs and other senior managers
  • VET managers and senior trainers
  • Boards of directors and senior volunteers
  • Marketing and promotions managers
  • Coordinators, planners, project managers, liaison officers and outreach specialists

Government, researchers and other organisations

  • Policy-makers working in VET, university, post-secondary and secondary education roles for Commonwealth, state or territory governments who seek a deeper understanding of the ACE sector’s challenges, opportunities and possibilities
  • Researchers in education and training who are keen to share their findings with one of the most engaged conference audiences in Australia
  • Consultants working in ACE, VET, universities, life-long learning, the future of work and the demand for skills in the next decade of the 21st century
  • Thinkers, thought-leaders, journalists and others engaged with the breaking trends of Australian post-secondary education and training
  • Teachers, trainers and educators seeking a strong dose of intellectual stimulation and the cutting edge of community education practice
  • Not-for-profit organisations that work with ACE providers and support our learners and communities
  • International guests looking to understand of Australian post-secondary education and training, and who wish to engage with Australian experts and practitioners or to share their own experiences
  • Regional economic development and local government personnel working on the intersection between education, training, industry policy and economic development


The 2023 Conference will provide both a broad and deep opportunity to discuss and engage with “what matters most” to community education and VET students. We anticipate including the following topics

Foundation skills – Language, literacy, numeracy, employability and digital skills, in light of major policy and program developments happening on national and state levels. We will explore how the ACE sector plays a fundamental role in opening life and work possibilities for people from all walks of life. How can we improve pathways for foundation skills learners and increase the foundation skills workforce to meet community need?

Digital literacy, digital inclusion and digital skills – The COVID period has pushed more things online, but what does that mean for training and post-secondary education? How do vulnerable and disadvantaged learners fare? Digital literacy is not possible without proper digital access (inclusion), so what do governments, providers and educators need to do to implement proper digital equity policies? Almost every job needs digital skills, but how do we ensure those skills are available?

Young people – The community sector engages young people very well because of our flexibility and personal attention to learners. But “young people will struggle with the side effects of the COVID-19 recession on the jobs market for years despite the nation’s rapid fall in unemployment,” because “young workers were less likely to transition to employment during COVID-19, partly due to the closure of sectors such as hospitality, the arts and recreational services.” How can Australia’s ACE providers work to address the special challenges which young people face now?

First Nations Australians, training providers and communities, given worse literacy outcomes and the continued inability of Australia to “close the gap” on Indigenous education, employment and health disadvantage. How can Australia’s for-purpose community education sector respond? CCA welcomes two new First Nations training organisations to its membership, and looks forward to a vigorous dialogue with communities, education and training providers, governments and leaders as to priorities, focussed on the question “What can we do to close the gap?”

Re-engagement of learners in training – Frequent natural disasters have combined with the “long tail” of COVID to impact the ability and willingness of disadvantaged vulnerable learners and groups to engage in training. How do we implement outreach programs and support these learners?

Governing the not-for-profit community-based organisation – Conference workshops will provide participants with new skills in strategic planning, new business models, leading high-performance teams, coaching and mentoring and strategic finance, as well as responding to adversity, managing risk and change management. New skills are needed to assist ACE organisations that face unprecedented levels of “disruption, rising volatility and ensuing chaos [that] is the new reality … board directors and executive leaders … need to demonstrate patience and the ability to tolerate the frustration, tension, paradox and anxiety associated with uncertainty.”

Recognition of community development as an important part of training and skills is ingrained in the mission of for-purpose community providers: the needs of the “community” are not equivalent to those of the “economy” and employers and cannot be separated. While place-based learning constitutes the core business of ACE providers, their activities extend well beyond the classroom. How can best practice community and regional development point the way to training that works for communities and learners?

Aged care, disability care and childcare workforce training – ACE providers “punch above their weight” to deliver care training, so the Conference will concentrate on building this capacity, focussing on innovation and sharing of insights from industry researchers and service providers, trainer recruitment and mentoring, with practical strategies that add depth and breadth to the aged care, disability and childcare workforces.


“Great content and great networking”.
“Quality of speakers exceeded my expectations.”
“Staging another excellent conference even after being absent for a couple of years due to COVID.”
“The organisation of the whole event was seamless to me as a participant, I felt informed and welcomed.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the conference; it was great to meet everyone in person and the workshops were extremely useful.”
“Overall, the conference was a 10/10.”
“The networking events were fantastic. The MC was great, I thought it was brilliant how she summarised each session and had questions at the ready in the event that others didn’t have any and kept everyone engaged.”
“Wide range of sessions, practical, theoretical and policy based.”
“Range of relevant topics and quality presentations.”
“I found the energy in the room (vibe) to be positive, engaging and collaborative. The CCA team were outstanding, keeping everyone informed and on track.”
“Being able to connect with bureaucrats and academics with ease and progress advocacy.”
“Variety of useful sessions and breadth of knowledge in all.”
“Range of topics and information offered was good.”
“Foundation skills afternoon session on last day – Lost for Words and Neville was fantastic I loved the workshop sessions with BSL and Huber Social.”
“Gala dinner was an excellent opportunity to showcase CCA talent.”
“The networking is always valuable.”
“The quality of the presentations was outstanding- relevant, inspiring and useful. The Day 2 block on Foundational Skills was one of the best parts for us. I also found the ASQA sessions, ACOSS sessions very useful.”
“Great variety of content and relevant!”
“The speakers were outstanding as well as of course the ability to choose your own stream.”
“I loved the panels and how the MC summarised each session. I valued the breakout sessions.”
“The mix of speakers and topics and the impressive line-up of speakers – well done CCA!”
“The Gala awards night was great – the nod to CEOs past and the Trainer of the Year stories were very good.”
“Congratulations to all who was involved in the preparation of the conference; it was fabulous few days, my takeaways formed our 3-year strategic team planning day.”
“I absolutely loved it. I would love to bring more of our team next time provided topics relate to their work roles e.g. Course Coordinators, Compliance Officer, Admin Team Leader.”
“All sessions in themselves were good – well done.”
“Thank you it was very interesting and thought provoking.”
“Amazing job overall. The MC, Chemene Sinson, was fantastic, positive outlook, great at summarising the content and take home of each speaker, sensitive.”
“Congratulations CCA on staging a wonderful conference.”


CCA has a reputation of running excellent conferences. Read about our recent conferences held in Sydney (2022), Brisbane (2019), Sydney (2018) and Melbourne (2017) as well as our 2022 and 2021 National Online Summits.


Use the Conference tag #CCASydney2023


Early Bird registration is open from 1 June to 31 July 2023.

Ticket Information

Early Bird All Conference Events Tickets
CCA Members $800.00, save $75.00. (Full price is $875.00)

Non-Members $930.00, save $55.00. (Full price is $985.00)
Early Bird rate applies from 1 June – 31 July 2023

All Conference Events registration includes:
– entry to all conference sessions on 10 and 11 October 2023
– lunch and refreshments on both days of the conference
– attendance at Welcome Drinks on evening of 9 October 2023
– attendance at the Gala Dinner on evening of 10 October 2023
– access and use of the new dedicated event app vFairs
– conference delegate bag

One Day Registration Tickets – CCA Members $485.00, Non-Members $565.00
(No Early Bird pricing applies)

One Day Conference registration includes:
– entry to all conference sessions on Tuesday 10 or Wednesday 11 October 2023
– lunch and refreshments on day of attendance
– access and use of the new dedicated event app vFairs
– conference delegate bag
It does not include attendance at the Welcome Drinks or Gala Dinner.

Welcome Drinks – CCA Members $80.00, Non-Members $100.00
(No Early Bird pricing applies)

Entry to the harbourside Welcome Drinks event on the evening of Monday 9 October 2023. Includes drinks and canapes.

Gala Dinner – CCA Members $155.00, Non-Members $175.00
(No Early Bird pricing applies)

Entry to the Gala Dinner on the evening of Tuesday 10 October 2023. Includes a 3-course meal and drinks at the Hotel Amora Jamison Sydney. The presentation of the Trainer of the Year Awards will take place at this event.


We have confirmed the following speakers for the Conference, with more to come soon.

Michelle Circelli
Senior Member of the Research and Data Analytics Branch at the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

Please click here for biographical and other information.

Jo Medlin
President, Australian Council for Adult Literacy

Please click here for biographical and other information.

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Federal Minister for Skills and Training, Member for Gorton
Please click here for biographical and other information

Joanna Quilty
Chief Executive Officer, NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS)

Please click here for biographical  and other information.

Ross Raeburn
Chief Customer Officer, Digital Skills Organisation

Please click here for biographical  and other information.

Saxon Rice
CEO, Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)

Please click here for biographical and other information

Carmen Saunders
Assistant Secretary, Foundation and Transition Programs
Australian Government Department of Employment and Workplace Relations


Dave Tout
Senior Research Fellow, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER)

Please click here for biographical and other information.

Dr Daniella Trimboli
Researcher at the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and Honorary Research Fellow at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University

Please click here for biographical and other information.

David Turvey
First Assistant Secretary, Jobs and Skills Australia

Please click here for biographical and other information

Chemène Sinson
Learning Specialist & Conference Chair, Blackwater Projects

Please click here for biographical and other information.


Do you want to speak at the Community Colleges Australia Annual Conference in October?

Community Colleges Australia (CCA) is preparing its 2023 Conference program.

  • Do you have any ideas worth sharing with Australia’s most accomplished adult and community educators?
  • Have you recently completed educational research worthy of wide dissemination?
  • Have you developed or implemented any innovative approaches to training, post-secondary education or community services?
  • Have you watched and monitored Australia’s educational landscape and come to conclusions that others should hear about?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, we would like to hear from you. Download this Word document and email it to us at admin@cca.edu.au by 28 July 2023.

We are looking for engaging, educative and inspiring presentations and ideas that will engage our conference participants, who come from all around Australia and overseas.

We are particularly interested in presentations that deal with the conference theme Building ACE Futures: Adult and Community Education Reimagined. All presentation proposals will be considered if they are suitable for our audience of adult and community education (ACE) leaders, government policy makers, consultants, researchers and other VET leaders. We seek presentations that:

  • complement or support the conference strands
  • present new, unique and challenging perspectives on skills development and VET
  • provide valuable historical, political, policy, economic or social context to the “current moment” of post-secondary education and how to reimagine our sector’s future
  • present case studies of “things that work” in community education, skills or not-for-profit community services
  • could be presented in a “workshop” format that allows participants to develop new skills, insights and understandings
  • provide unique and stimulating perspectives on current issues
  • encourage engagement and fun

The CCA Conference is not bound by academic or other “rules” of what a conference presentation or workshop should look or feel like. We do, however, seek quality presentations from strong presenters with good communications skills.

If this is you, let us know. Download and fill in the Call for Papers template (Word) and send it back to us by 28 July 2023.


Conference Venue

The Hotel Amora Jamison Sydney is located in the heart of Sydney’s CBD and is an easy walk from Circular Quay, The Rocks, Botanical Gardens, Barangaroo, and only a few minutes from Wynyard train and light-rail stations.

This five-star hotel offers over 400 spacious guest rooms, along with a service that sets the standard for Sydney hospitality. The hotel facilities include a contemporary restaurant and bar, heated swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room and day spa.

The hotel event spaces are located on level 2, where the CCA 2023 Conference will take place. The conference session rooms and foyer boast high ceilings, elegant design and natural light.

Welcome Drinks Venue

The Welcome Drinks on Monday evening, 9 October, will take place at The Theatre Bar at the End of the Wharf in Hickson Road, Dawes Point. This spectacular location at the end of Pier 4 boasts views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and is a 17-minute walk from the Conference venue Amora Hotel Jamison.





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

Our program of inspirational speakers, education and training experts, facilitated workshops and networking provides an unparalleled business opportunity for sponsors and supporters to reach Australia’s dynamic ACE providers through an interactive exhibition and social events.

View the 2023 CCA Annual Conference Sponsorship Prospectus (pdf).

Please contact CCA with any queries about sponsorship at operations@cca.edu.au. We welcome the opportunity to work with your organisation to make this another successful CCA Conference event in 2023.

Sponsor benefits

The CCA Annual Conference provides a unique opportunity for you to connect personally with Australia’s not-for-profit community education providers and promote your brand within our sector.

Sponsor acknowledgement prior to, during and after the Conference through marketing materials, the conference app, CCA’s website and and email announcements.

Deeper relationship building with delegates through in-depth discussions, made possible by the smaller, more intimate nature of a CCA Conference.

Extended contact with delegates at the social events and throughout the conference at every morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea time times.

What sponsors say about CCA Conferences

“The people were so welcoming. The event itself was well organised. The venue was exceptional, as was the food.”

“Great location. I liked that the sponsor tables were all spread out and everyone had an opportunity to be next to the crowd with the morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea moved around.”

“A great range of speakers, the foyer was well set up for displays.”

“Great speakers, loads of interested attendees to talk to. Got some great leads.”

“Interesting speakers and good range of providers.”

“Harbour drinks were great – but the calibre of speakers for the event was amazing.”

“It was a great opportunity to network and identify future business leads.”


NCVER report details significant impacts of COVID-19 on Australian VET

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) new report Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on VET details numerous ways that the pandemic has affected VET providers, teaching and students. The report quotes CCA’s research at length, and will also feature at CCA’s October Conference, during which Dr Daniella Trimboli, NCVER Researcher will speak about the report, highlighting its conclusions. Continue Reading

CCA calls for expressions of interest to present at the 2023 October Conference

Do you want to speak at the Community Colleges Australia (CCA) Annual Conference in October 2023? We have commenced preparation of the Conference program. Do you have any ideas worth sharing with Australia’s most accomplished adult and community education (ACE) leaders? Have you recently completed educational research worthy of wide dissemination? Have you developed or implemented any innovative approaches to Continue Reading