WAVE National Forum 2022

The role of adult and vocational education in empowering women and supporting gender equality.

21 October 2022

Register at 9.15am for a 9.30am start, to conclude by 4.30pm.
Followed by WAVE 2022 AGM (5pm-5.30pm).

VET Development Centre (VDC)
Level 8, 379 Collins Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Cost for the day including lunch and refreshments:
$70 which includes membership of WAVE for the year
$30 for those who are already WAVE members.

Speaker List

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Kit McMahon

CEO – WHISE, Victoria


Kit is CEO of Women’s Health in the South East – a Women’s Health Service in Southern Metropolitan Melbourne that through primary prevention, health promotion and gender equity improves health and of women. She has implemented gender equality plans in TAFE, local government, tourism and skills policy. She has over 20 years’ experience in not for profits and background in skills and training policy. Kit is currently Deputy Chair of Volunteering Australia, Deputy Chair of Tradeswomen Australia Group and Chair of Women’s Spirit Project.

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Dr Don Perlgut

CEO, Community Colleges Australia


As the CEO of Community Colleges Australia (CCA), Dr Don Perlgut has worked to strengthen CCA’s research, communications and advocacy activities. Prior to his commencement as CCA CEO in 2015, he worked as the CEO of three other organisations, including the Rural Health Education Foundation and the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC).

Don has committed much of his professional career to advancing social and economic justice through adult, community and post-secondary education. He has been nominated three years in a row – 2019, 2020 and 2021 – for the Pro Bono Australia “Impact 25” social sector awards. Don holds a PhD in media/communications from Macquarie University and a Master of City Planning (MCP) from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a former professional film critic.

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Kira Clarke

Senior Research Fellow, Brotherhood of St Laurence


Kira Clarke has more than fifteen years of experience in research and teaching in the Australian university sector. Until December 2019, she held a continuing role as a Lecturer in Education Policy within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. During her time as a university researcher, she has completed more than 35 grant-funded and commissioned research projects, focused on educational inequality, post-compulsory education and training, and Vocational Education and Training (VET).

As a national expert in vocational education and training policy, particularly as it relates to youth transitions and young people, Kira led the widely cited, Entry to vocations study of VET in Schools as part of a three-year category one funded project for the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Kira's work has included contributions to the Victorian Qualifications Authority (VQA) October Scanning Paper (2005), the Next Step survey for the Queensland Department of Education (2005, 2006), the Victorian On Track survey (2005-07), Review of Critical Skills for OTTE (2008), an examination of post-compulsory provision in Melbourne (2008-2009), and a national study examining the Provision of Pastoral Care in Apprenticeships for the Victorian Joint DEECD/DIIRD Policy Unit on Youth Transitions. Kira is the higher education representative to the VCAA's Vocational Education Reference Group, President of the Australasian Vocational Education and Training Research Association (AVETRA) and a Victorian Co-convener of Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE).

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Helen Dalley-Fisher

Manager, Equality Rights Alliance (ERA)


Helen came to ERA from the community legal sector, where she spent 10 years as a solicitor specialising in disability discrimination law, tenancy law and social security law. Helen has experience working in both front line legal service provision and law reform advocacy. She also worked on the NSW Law Reform Commission’s report into the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 as a paralegal and represented the National Association of Community Legal Centres in negotiations regarding the drafting of the Disability Rights Convention at the United Nations in Bangkok and New York in 2003.

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Sally Thompson

WAVE co-convenor Victoria, Monash University


Sally Thompson is an education researcher, analyst and leader with a background in adult literacy and Vocational Education and Training. She has worked in leadership roles in TAFE, Higher Education, an education union and in the not for profit Adult and Community Education sectors. Her current professional interests focus around entry level training particularly in feminised industries, and the ways that networks support people with low literacy skills. She has served on a number of Boards including Domestic Violence Victoria and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre, Victoria, (now Safe and Equal), Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council and the Victorian Adult Community and Further Education Board.

Jane Newton

Research manager, Jobs Queensland and WAVE State co-convenor – QLD


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.

Michelle Circelli

Team Leader, Research at National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)


Michelle is the Team Leader Research within the Research Operations branch at NCVER. She is an experienced researcher and research project manager in the VET space, having particular experience and interest in research relating to adult language, literacy and numeracy, education outcomes for women and young people, and digital skills.

Karen Hall

Lecturer Swinburne University of Technology

WAVE’s 2022 recipient of the WAVE/Sue Salthouse Grant


Karen Hall is a Mental Health Nurse with over 30 years’ experience in nursing and 10 years’ experience in teaching nursing in the VET and HE sector. She has worked in General wards, Psychiatric Inpatient wards, Community Teams, Mental Health Triage and Crisis Teams. In teaching she has been a Clinical Educator for Eastern Health and has taught at Holmesglen, Swinburne and ACU. She is currently employed as a lecturer in the Bachelor of Nursing. Karen holds a Masters in Mental Health Nursing and is completing her PhD in Psychology. Her passion is in VR and SP simulation.

Linda Simon

WAVE National Convenor

Linda 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 in NSW for over fifteen years, and Federal TAFE President of the Australian Education Union for six years. She is National Convenor for Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE), Vice-President of AVETRA and a spokesperson for the TAFE Community Alliance. She has served on the Boards of NCVER and BVET in NSW, and is an educationalist and researcher committed to equity and public education.

Annette Bonnici

WAVE National Treasurer

Annette Bonnici worked in TAFE NSW for over 30 years as a teacher, educational 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 but also, being a teacher and mother of a nurse, recognises that those who choose traditionally female careers should be equitably recompensed for their work.

Annette has been active in WAVE for nearly two decades firstly as NSW convenor, then Treasurer since 2009.

Our Sponsor

VET Development Centre

The VET Development Centre (VDC) specialises in providing continuing professional learning for the Vocational Education & Training (VET) workforce as well as strategic support services for all VET providers in Australia. The VDC has a diverse range of VET Professional Development with a particular focus on trainers and educators. VDC offers customised training consultancy for training providers. VDC is based in the heart of the Melbourne CBD with revolutionary video conferencing technology and training facilities that are also available for hire to external clients.

For further information, visit the VDC website or email info@vdc.edu.au

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