National Convenor - Linda Simon

Contact Linda Simon

Linda Simon has been a teacher in schools, TAFE and now at university. She currently teaches in adult education at Charles Sturt University. She was Secretary of the TAFE Teachers Association for over fifteen years, and Federal TAFE President of the Australian Education Union for six years. She has served on the Board of NCVER and on BVET in NSW, and is an educationalist and researcher committed to equity and public education.

Secretary - Robyn Woolley

Contact Robyn Woolley

Robyn Woolley is from NSW, and is WAVE's secretary. Past WAVE positions include NSW Co-convenor, and National Co-convenor.

Equity for women and girls in the Australian VET system, especially in NSW has been a central focus for Robyn’s work. Robyn has designed and implemented educational programs for women and girls, managed and worked collaboratively on numerous funded research projects relating to girls and women, work and work related education and training. Robyn developed Digi-Girls a registered program within TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute, as a technical skills acceleration program for girls in middle and senior years of high school. This has been recognised as a best practice program.
Additionally Robyn has contributed to the management of numerous community and special interest women’s advocacy and service organisations [local, state and national and international].
Robyn’s service to education was noted in 2011 as a finalist of the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award.
Robyn co-runs a small holiday cottage business in the Hunter Region of NSW, and this, and efforts to support the environment, are now her main focus.

Treasurer - Annette Bonnici

Contact Annette Bonnici

Annette Bonnici has worked in TAFE NSW for almost 30 years as a teacher, manager and administrator. Having a background in Electronics Engineering and being the first female Computer Engineer in Australia for a multinational IT company, she is passionate about developing and supporting women and girls into non-traditional careers.

WAVE Ambassador - Elaine Butler

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Elaine Butler has worked as an academic, educator, researcher, consultant and activist in the field of gender equity and social inclusion (GESI) for over four decades. This work has been at local, national, local, regional and international levels, with an enduring focus on education and training, decent work and policy outcomes to enhance the wellbeing of women and girls and marginalised groups.

Policy discourses, provision and practices that impact access to affordable, relevant quality education and training for women and girls in the Australian VET system and elsewhere continue as long standing areas special interest to Elaine.

Elaine was a member of the Australian Government delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW55) in New York in 2011. As Ambassador for WAVE, Elaine is WAVE’s representative on Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), Australian Coalition for Education and Development (ACED), Adult Learning Australia (ALA) and TAFE SA’s Women’s Education Advisory Group (WEAG). She was Visiting Scholar 2013 – 2014 for the Erasmus Mundus European Masters of Lifelong Learning: Policy & Management (MA LLL) program.

Elaine is involved in research and advocacy relating to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2016 she completed a research based assignment for Asian Development Bank (ADB): Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and gender: Towards inclusive futures for women and girls. In 2018 she completed a GESI – CSE (civil society engagement) small scale project investigating the potential of linking marginalised groups through training to decent work in infrastructure projects in Indonesia. Elaine also attended UNESCO APMED 4 2018 meeting in Bangkok that focused on SDG 4 targets 4.3 & 4.4 – inclusive TVET.

Executive Member - Jan Edwards

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Dr Jan Edwards has over 35 years experience in education working across adult and vocational education and training, school counselling, educational research, distance education and special education. For the past 15 years she has worked as an international Gender Equality, Social Inclusion and Civil Society Engagement Specialist (GESI and CSE) in Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands, Laos, Vanuatu, Samoa, Kiribati, Timor Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Viet Nam, Philippines. She has worked with various development partners (Australian Aid, ILO, USAID, World Bank, EUD and ADB, PLAN International and Vision 2020). Jan works on issues of inclusion and her work addresses intersections of disadvantage (poverty, gender, disability, rurality, ethnicity, family violence and child protection). Jan has recently completed 2 major studies on TVET, the first in Vietnam for the ADB and a second for the World Bank in Indonesia.

Jan has expertise in gender analyses, assessments, audits, gender and inclusion indicators; capacity needs assessments; data analysis (qualitative and quantitative); literature reviews; policy analysis, development, and application of M & E tools. Jan utilises mixed methods approaches to M & E design and implementation. Her specialties and interests include: design of gender-sensitive programs, team leader, gender-responsive training, curriculum and materials development, gender and inclusion audit, strategies and indicators, evaluating gender outcomes, design and implementation of gender and inclusion strategies, monitoring and evaluation for gender and inclusion, policy analysis, education program design and evaluation, field-based needs assessment, impact evaluation, baseline studies, education policy/project/ best practice research and data analysis, economic empowerment of women, menstrual hygiene and management, violence against women programming, child protection, disability inclusive development, women's leadership across sectors including education, health, infrastructure and others.

Northern Territory

WAVE's Northern Territory Convenor is Raelke Grimmer.

Contact Raelke Grimmer


Raelke Grimmer

Raelke Grimmer has worked in adult education for more than five years, as a TESOL teacher and in higher education. She is currently an Academic Foundations Lecturer in the College of Education at Charles Darwin University's Casuarina campus and has a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Creative Writing), a Master of Arts (Applied Linguistics) and is close to submitting her PhD (Creative Writing). Raelke is one of two Northern Territory representatives on the committee of the Association for Academic Language and Learning and is a passionate advocate for equality and equity in vocational and higher education.


WAVE's Queensland Convenor is Jane Newton.

Contact Jane Newton


Jane Newton is the Research Manager at Jobs Queensland and WAVE’s Queensland Convenor. She has been involved in the vocational education and training industry for over 20 years in a variety of roles including as a trainer in Community services and nursing and also thoroughbred racing; curriculum design and resource development.
Prior to coming to Jobs Queensland, Jane was Research manager with Manufacturing Skills Australia (MSA), the national industry skills council for manufacturing. At MSA, she has managed various government-funded projects and served as the industry liaison for research projects such as the UNSW’s Future of Aircraft Maintenance in Australia as well as the Recognising the skill in jobs traditionally considered ‘unskilled’ (Federation University). She developed a Women in manufacturing background paper which resulted in her involvement with WAVE.
At Jobs Queensland, Jane has led the Advancing Manufacturing Skills Strategy project and the Future Work project, both of which have contributed to current Queensland government policy direction.
Jane is a passionate advocate for the transformative role that VET can play in the lives of women and girls.


WAVE’s co-convenors in Victoria are Kira Clarke and Demmi Paris.

KC Photo

Kira Clarke

Senior Research Fellow

Research & Policy Centre, Brotherhood of St Laurence

Contact Kira Clarke

Kira Clarke is a Senior Research Fellow in Youth in the Research and Policy Centre at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Kira has more than fifteen years of experience in academic research and teaching in the Australian university sector. Until December 2019, she was a Lecturer in Education Policy within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. As a national expert in vocational education and training policy, particularly as it relates to youth transitions and young people Kira lead the widely cited Entry to Vocations study of VET in Schools (2012-2014) for NCVER. She completed two research studies (2014-2015, 2015-2017), funded through the competitive National Vocational Education and Training Research (NVETR) program and in partnership with the Brotherhood of St. Laurence, examining the role of the vocational education for early school leavers.


Demmi Paris

Victorian Executive Officer

Freelance Senior tertiary education specialist

Contact Demmi Paris

Demmi Paris has built a  professional career comprising of  15 + years’ experience in  education and management, with the last 10 years as a Management professional, both in the national and international education arena.

Demmi is a Senior Executive with expertise in advocacy, stakeholder engagement, strategic management, business operations and business development capabilities that are demonstrated across national and international markets in both Vocational & Tertiary education

Western Australia

WAVE’s co-convenors in WA are Sarah Leftwich and Sue Thompson.

Sue Thompson

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Sue Thompson has worked in further education colleges in the UK and Australia since 1988, as a lecturer, as a program manager/director and in 2013, as a consultant, at the Western Australian Department of Education Aboriginal Education branch. Sue’s specialist knowledge and interests include lecturer development (her Masters thesis was about the history and development of lecturer education in the UK) and the use of technology in teaching and learning, (Sue was one of ANTA’s inaugural Flexible Learning Leaders in 2000). Sue is currently Learning Portfolio Manager for ESL & General Education at Central Institute of Technology in Perth. Her aim is to reinvent and reinvigorate the Community and Adult Education space, a topic which combines many aspects of her experience in the sector and is enabling her to examine the possibility of personalised learning, a key emerging theme in the delivery of public services, including education and training internationally. Sue is pursuing studies in a range of areas, including the role of Social Enterprise in skills development and employment for socially disadvantaged groups.

Sarah Leftwich

Contact Sarah Leftwich

Sarah was born and raised in London, England and completed a Bachelor of Education (Hons) Degree at Kingston University, Surrey, England. After leaving University she spent several years in the Aviation Industry before working as a Primary School teacher at inner city and rural schools in England. She moved to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia and subsequently Brunei Darussalam, where she worked at the International School for 7 years, teaching local and expatriate primary aged children the English Curriculum. In 2002 Sarah moved to Perth, Western Australia and joined Central Institute of Technology (now known as North Metropolitan TAFE) in 2003 as a lecturer in Education Support.

In 2017 Sarah completed a Double Diploma in VET and Training Design and Development and is currently completing a Diploma of Quality Auditing.

Sarah currently holds the position of Head of Programs for English and Languages. She has worked in acting roles as Principal Lecturer and Director of Portfolio. Sarah is a member of Literacy Alliance (Adult Literacy and Learning), State School Teachers Union of Western Australia and the Teachers Registration Board of WA. Within North Metropolitan TAFE, Sarah is an active member of working parties that contribute to the development of systems, compliance and reconciliation.


WAVE’s co-convenors in NSW are Cecilia Blackwell and Terri Quinlan.

Cecilia Blackwell

Contact Cecilia Blackwell

Cecilia is old enough to know better, but is currently working half time as a community services teacher with TAFE, and half time as a mental health counsellor with Centacare. In her spare time, she reads diverse books and potters around her farm, looking after poultry, sheep & very naughty goats. A born feminist, she is struggling to come to terms with what seems to be a social backslide in terms of girls’ and women’s rights.

Terri Quinlan

Contact Terri Quinlan

After graduating from high school, Terri completed her degree in Applied Science (Computing Science) and began her career as an Analyst Programmer where she worked in the electricity and television industries for a number of years. After taking time out to start her family, Terri enrolled at TAFE NSW to update her skills and return to work. There she discovered the value of a free, accessible and equitable public vocational education and training system. With one six month course under her belt, and having enrolled in another, she successfully applied to become a part time casual teacher in the Information Technology (IT) and Careers Pathways skills areas of TAFE NSW. Terri spent almost 24 years as a part time casual teacher with TAFE teaching on mainstream IT classes, TVET classes for Year 11 and 12 students and on equity programs for women, youth at risk and the mature unemployed. She has seen firsthand the important role that TAFE plays in the lives of so many women and girls and has experienced the difficulties and insecurity of long term casual work, something that inordinately affects women. She has campaigned for over 17 years for the public TAFE system, the rights of casuals in the workplace and the need for more permanent jobs and increased job security. After 24 years, Terri has finally secured a permanent full time position with in TAFE NSW in the Standards and Compliance Branch.


The WAVE convenor in the ACT is Marinda Burger.

Contact Marinda Burger


Marinda Burger

Chartered Accountant, Bachelor of Commerce & Accounting, Advanced Diploma of Adult Education, Diploma of Vocational Education and Training

Born and raised in South Africa, Marinda qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2000. In 2003 she joined the University of Pretoria in the position of senior lecturer. She has had a career in leadership and management with a strong focus on education and training for over 20 years with passion for students.

She is currently the CEO of a Private RTO, Australian Capital College. She has been an accountant, manager and educator for many years and joined the VET sector in 2013. According to the Tax Practitioners Board around 80% of bookkeepers are female, whereas around 47% of qualified CPA's today is female. This means that the VET Sector plays an important role in the building blocks for females in the bookkeeping industry.

South Australia

WAVE currently has no representative in SA. If you would be interested in taking on this role please contact


WAVE's convenor in Tasmania is Rebecca Gray.

Contact Rebecca Gray

Rebecca Gray commenced teaching in vocational education in 2009 and with TasTAFE in 2015 delivering hospitality and tourism qualifications to apprentices in industry. Working with distance learners to provide quality training and assessment is a core component of her teaching. Her thesis titled ‘Responding to barriers facing distance learning among vocational education learners’, explored the experience of distance learners and where and how positive and negative pedagogies impact on their motivation, engagement and progression. She plans to use the findings to contribute to an improved Canvas online learning management system (LMS) curriculum design and teaching and as a basis to work within TasTAFE to improve the recognition of prior learning process (RPL) and the distance learner experience as a whole.