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2021 QLD Schools VET Conference

6 Aug 2021


Cassandra Hoult

Communication Manager, AATIS

Cassandra Hoult is the Communication Manager AATIS and works closely with apprentices, trainees, employers, educators and industry insiders to share the everyday stories about the apprenticeship industry. 

Cass has a particular passion is sharing the stories the show that the right career pathway can lead to ‘more than just a job’ and supporting workplaces to create safe and diverse spaces.   

Chemene Sinson

Blackwater Projects

Chemène Sinson is a learning and performance specialist with 30+ years of experience working with diverse industry clients, both in Australia and internationally.  She draws on her experience as an Olympian, elite-level sport coach, school teacher and adult educator to help organisations develop and implement accredited or tailored learning experiences that build a culture of learning within organisations and improve personal performance.

Chemène has been actively involved in VET since 2000.  She is lead TAE trainer for numerous RTOs and has written TAE materials that more than 100 RTOs have used since their release in 2010.  She also supports experienced facilitators and assessors with their ongoing professional development and is a sought-after speaker at conferences and special events.

Chemène advocates for a strong focus on foundation skills in VET, knowing that these are key to meeting performance demands imposed by today’s world of work.

Craig Robertson

CEO, TAFE Directors Australia

Craig Robertson commenced as CEO of TAFE Directors Australia in April 2017. The organisation promotes nationally and internationally the critical role that TAFEs play in tertiary education in Australia. TAFEs are core providers of vocational training and further education as a pathway to higher level training and education, and partner with industry and business to develop their workforces and assist in implementing new production processes and services. On behalf of its members TDA also works with global multi-lateral organisations, and with overseas governments and their industry and provider representatives to assist in the deployment of training and workforce development to enhance economic capabilities.

Prior to joining TDA, Craig worked in the Victorian Government in 2015 and 2016 with responsibilities for the operation of vocational education and working with Victorian universities. During this time the Victorian Government implemented a new approach to vocational education and training with a priority on quality delivery with funding aligned with the expected costs of delivery. Central to the reform was dedicated public funding which recognised the unique role TAFEs play in tertiary education and workforce development across the state, as well as to support outreach to businesses and industry to support innovation and productivity improvements in their production models.

Craig also worked for over 30 years in the Australian Government with responsibilities in national policy and program delivery relating to employment services, funding for schools and most aspects of vocational education and training. Craig has represented the Australian Government in G20 meetings of labour and employment ministers and the OECD, and bi-laterally with a range of foreign governments. In Australia, Craig has led work at the federal level on joint Commonwealth-State policies and funding agreements, introducing income contingent loan arrangements for the VET sector, instigated apprenticeship reform and reformed regulation policy and VET qualifications. Craig was also an inaugural member of the Australian Qualifications Framework Council formed in 2011.

Craig holds an Executive Masters in Public Administration from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Education (Primary) from the University of Canberra.

Damian Noud

Head of Faculty/Department Manager

Damian is MRWED's Learner Success Team Leader and has championed the development of MRWED Online for TAE qualifications. He is passionate about helping trainers progress into delivering webinars and eLearning experiences that excite learners. Damian has more than 30 years of experience in training and assessing at universities and private colleges.

John Blake


With a unique industry skill set, John combines 30 years of work and teaching in Hospitality, EAL & Foundation Skills, and more recently, Educational delivery. Having worked in 20 countries in cross-dimensional environments teaching participants of all ages and walks of life in a variety of RTOs and businesses. 

John is passionate about the opportunity he has to inspire teachers and trainers to go beyond their PowerPoint and engage participants with multimedia learning platforms to build meaningful relationships. 

As teachers get excited at PD and seminars, they often take good ideas back in to their own classes and practice and re-invigorate their educational strategies and approaches.  

With his own company, and having worked for both large and private RTOs, universities and dozens of organisations and industry groups enhancing training, John enjoys re-inventing vocational education, helping to make theory interesting through creative delivery approaches, contextualising assessments for specific industry needs and making a difference for the transformation of more knowledgeable industry-ready learners.

John Dwyer


John Dwyer is a national VQF/AQTF trainer/assessor and consultant with experience in education and training spanning more than 60 years. He brings extensive Registered Training Organisation (RTO) experience and has a comprehensive history in developing and delivering a range of workshops and webinars on assessment, compliance, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), moderation and validation processes relating to VQF/AQTF compliance.

Mark Maddox - Manager, Vocational Education & Training Unit – QCAA

Matthew Dale

Matthew Dale is the Chief Operations Officer of Audit Express, Matthew is passionate about Australian training and education, specialising in organisational development, knowledge management, quality, compliance and internal audit. He has been a vocal and energetic campaigner for policy change and the reduction of regulation and red tape in the VET sector. Matthew was previously a senior policy advisor to the Victorian Minister for Skills and Training, and also publishes regularly on the topic of regulation and industry best practice. Matthew is a graduate of Monash University with his studies focussed on Adult Learning and Development, he has previously worked as an RTO Manager, and Compliance Manager for both an industry focussed not-for-profit organisation and a large national RTO which operated in all states and territories.

Melanie Alexandra

Vocational Education and Training Consultant and Resource Developer

Melanie has held a variety of roles in both the Academic and VET sector over the past 25 years, winning awards for practice excellence in teaching and learning and outstanding leadership. As a Trainer and Assessor, Head of Faculty and Program Manager Melanie has authored and developed curriculum , delivered nationally recognised and accredited programs in schools, colleges and universities, and provided professional development workshops, webinars and online learning programs to training professionals. As an RTO Manager, Melanie has lead RTO teams and businesses from a critically non-compliant status to successful re-registration and as Head of Quality Assurance and Lead Verifier, worked extensively with regulatory bodies to ensure high standards of quality and compliance. Melanie was Senior Lead Auditor for the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, conducting regulatory audits and registrations. She is now Velg Training's VET Consultant and Resource Developer.

Michelle Devitt

Chief Analytics and Technical Services Officer, QTAC

With 20 years’ experience in the tertiary education sector, Michelle Devitt is a self-professed data nerd and a strong advocate for tertiary study pathways. As Chief Analytics and Technical Services Officer, she is leading the introduction of ATAR at QTAC.

Nick McEwan-Hall

RTO/Compliance Manager

Nick has been a longstanding and robust contributor to the Australian Vocational Education & Training (VET) sector for over 17 years. A qualified VET practitioner, DISC facilitator, trainer, workplace and business coach, his knowledge of the training and education system is highly acclaimed Australia wide.

Starting his career in Secondary Schools and transitioning to VET, his breadth of experience spans training & assessment, operations, strategic management, client relationship management, quality, data management and instructional design. He has a comprehensive knowledge of the Victorian Training Guarantee and has led small to multi-national RTOs and NPOs through external audits.

Nick has a unique ability to break down the ever changing complexities within the VET sector in a practical way which enables organisations to ‘simply get on with their core activities’ with confidence and efficiency.

A committed advocate for equality and vocational opportunities, Nick has worked with many RTOs in the Non For Profit sector including the Brotherhood of St Laurence. His focus and determination for helping others achieve and flourish has resulted in many NFPs not only remaining operable, but commercially sustainable in their provision of training for the unemployed and marginalised.

Volunteering for many years on the Board of Governance at the Fitzroy Learning Network, Nick was a key driver of new program initiatives and fundraising activities to alleviate major learning gaps and lack of opportunities to disadvantaged residents.

In 2012 Nick was a recipient of the ‘Whitelion Chairperson's Award for Employment’. He led his team across a joint partnership with Telstra to deliver programs to unemployed youth which resulted in an unprecedented number of permanent job offers within Telstra call centres.

Nick currently manages an independent RTO, ‘The Open Door Coaching Group’, along with steering his own consulting and coaching practices, ‘Latitude Coaching’ and ‘AVETMESS’. An active presenter at conferences around Australia, he runs training workshops & coaching sessions to a broad range of education and business groups. He speaks on a variety of subjects including change management, workplace values, team building and a wide scope of VET related topics.

When not working, you will find Nick indulging his fascination with Asian art and artefacts, exploring art exhibitions, enjoying an espresso coffee with friends over a joke or two and getting out of the city to wind down and relax.

A fun and straightforward presenter Nick has a knack for striking the elusive balance between theory, practicality, humour and meaningful activity. Participants of Nick’s sessions will leave feeling relaxed and empowered to make a real difference.

Also speaking at:

Your Way: Mental Health Issues, and the VET Sector

Saxon Phipps

Director, Year13

Saxon Phipps - Founder and director of the Year 13, Australia's largest digital platform for high school leavers. Saxon is a passionate leader with determination and work ethic, he is unwaveringly committed to empowering the audience of Year 13. Saxon is a creative thinker and has a natural ability to assess what the Year13 audience desires through the use of data and insights. Saxon and the team at Year 13 have been able to apply this process to develop several youth engagement strategies for the likes of the Department of Employment, Westpac, and The Department of Education & Training. He regularly speaks at events about youth employment issues, using the data from the 2017 & 2018 reports known as 'After the ATAR and After the ATAR II : Understanding how Gen Z transition into further education and employment

Tony Kirton

Senior Instructional Designer & Facilitator, Engage Learning & Development

Tony Kirton is an instructional designer and workshop facilitator with more than ten years’ experience in learning and development. Founder and senior designer at resource design consultancy Engage Learning and Development (formerly DES Learning), which contracts to the public and private sector, Tony develops traditional learning programs as well as e-learning using Articulate Storyline. Tony has extensive experience in the application of learning design theory, having designed many training programs and hundreds of assessment resources.

Tony’s recent instructional projects include major programs for:

  • NSW Health - A six-module e-learning program for frontline managers
  • SafeWork NSW - Update of General Construction Induction (White Card) assessment materials and redesign of the five-day Health and Safety Representative Training, both mandated for use by SafeWork NSW
  • Australasia International School - Designing learning tools for Diplomas of Leadership and Management and Project Management, specifically for students with English as a second language.

Known for his engaging and evidence-based approach to workplace learning, Tony also facilitates training and assessment with some of Australia’s leading training providers including the Australian Institute of Management, NSW Health and SafeWork NSW.

Continuing to extend his expertise and keep up-to-date with the latest practices in learning and development, Tony recently completed a four-month leadership program with the University of Michigan. He is currently completing an Instructional Design and Technology MicroMasters program with the University of Maryland (USA).

Tracy Gamlin

Research Librarian, NCVER

Tracy Gamlin is a Research Librarian with the Knowledge Management Branch at the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). With more than 20 years’ experience in the Library sector across a range of settings, Tracy has extensive knowledge and expertise in information management. Tracy has worked on key projects to support the development and enhancement of the VOCEDplus repository during her 12 years at NCVER and is passionate about raising awareness of VOCEDplus.

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