CCA Conference – 5 Takeaways and 1 highlight

Chemene in front of banner for CCA Conference

CCA Conference – 5 Takeaways and 1 highlight

Two days of outstanding presentations and discussions at Community Colleges Australia‘s national conference has left me feeling energised and optimistic about changes that are starting to happen in ACE and VET.  I was the conference MC and appreciated my front-row seat to all the insightful presentations and discussions.

The calibre of speakers was outstanding!

Speakers included Alister Henskens SC MPAustin WhiteheadGeorge LiacosHugh GuthrieRoss RaeburnSonia ClarkeDavid Collins PSMKira Clarke, Elle McLachlan, Nadine (Lex) Lutherborrow, Melissa Davis, Simone Casey , Jodi Schmidt, Professor Gabrielle Meagher, Steve Brady, Hugh S., Richard VinycombKerry JohnsonLidia MorawskaAdam GrahamKevin EkendahlKatrina HighamCraig RobertsonSaxon RiceBrendan O’ConnorRuss WoodAustin Whitehead (aka Alastair – inside joke), Clare SharpVanessa IlesJo Medlin and more.

Here are my key takeaways, and my biggest highlight.

My five key takeaways

1) State and Federal governments see skills and training as big priorities.  Many presenters emphasised the need to focus on foundation skills in training.

2) There is an appetite to (my words) ‘restore the heart of VET’ and ensure that we aim for ‘compliance and beyond’ with our programs (credit to Kay Schlesinger for the ‘compliance and beyond’ slogan).

3) To offer quality, impactful programs, we must first define our purpose – why we exist – then go from there.

4) We must prioritise upskilling the training workforce if we are to fill increasingly urgent workforce deficits, for example, in aged care.  To help make this happen, many presenters stressed the need to de-clutter qualifications and ensure they cover what is needed for work (and nothing else).

5) The adult and community education (ACE) sector is uniquely positioned to welcome and offer disadvantaged people accessible pathways back into education.  The trick is to use data and real-world stories to demonstrate the value that ACE providers offer.

My highlight

It was an honour to chat with Grahame Neville.  Grahame is one of nine students showcased in season 2 of SBS’s Lost for Words program.  In my opinion, his story gives us all the data we need to show why what we educators do, matters.

Lost for Words is essential viewing for all educators, no matter what sector you work in.  So set a date with your TV on 12 October 2022 when Lost for Words Season 2, episode 1, goes to air.

Congratulations to the CCA team – Don PerlgutGoodwin Evelyn, and Clare Harris.  They did an outstanding job organising and delivering a thought-provoking and productive conference.