The Apprentice Employment Network is pleased to confirm the following speakers for the 2021 Skills Conference.

Adam Boyton, National Skills Commissioner

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Mr Adam Boyton was appointed as the inaugural National Skills Commissioner in October 2020 for a five-year term.
As the statutory officer holder, under the National Skills Commissioner Act, Adam provides advice and leadership on Australia’s labour market and current, emerging and future workforce skills needs to Government and the Australian public.
The National Skills Commission’s work focuses on three long term outcomes: to make an enduring and relevant contribution to labour market information and quality, to contribute to a labour market that effectively aligns skills needs with education and training, and to improve the accessibility and relevance of Vocational Education and Training (VET).
With almost 25 years as an economist, Adam blends strong public and private sector experience. Adam was the Chief Economist at the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Chief Economist at Deutsche Bank prior to this current appointment. He was a member of the NSW Skills Board from 2013 to 2019 and was closely involved in the development of pricing, funding and costing models as well as the continuous review and assessment of VET in NSW. Adam has also held positions on the board of the NSW Rural Assistance Authority and as a Trustee of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust.

Steffen Faurby – Managing Director, TAFE NSW

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Steffen Faurby joined TAFE NSW as Managing Director in January 2020.
Prior to joining TAFE NSW, Steffen had a successful career in the public transport sector. Most recently he was CEO of State Transit Authority of NSW and before that CEO of Harbour City Ferries, the operator of Sydney Ferries in partnership with Transport for NSW. 
Steffen has 30 years of global experience in building high-performing teams and delivering complex projects in both the public and the private sector. Prior to moving to Australia Steffen held executive leadership roles in Europe and the USA. 
As Managing Director, Steffen is focused on strengthening TAFE NSW’s position as the leading provider of vocational education and training in Australia. This is will be achieved through working collaboratively with key stakeholders, maintaining a strong customer focus, and ensuring resources are prioritised for frontline teaching and delivery.

Josh Williams – Principal Consultant, Skills Consulting Group, New Zealand

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Josh is a Principal Consultant with Skills Consulting Group, an international vocational consultancy based in New Zealand.

Josh was previously Chief Executive of the Industry Training Federation of New Zealand, and a senior policy manager in the New Zealand Ministry of Education, where he led policy for foundational and vocational education, including workplace training and apprenticeships. 

Josh has been at the leading edge of developments in New Zealand’s schools and tertiary sectors for over 20 years. His career has focussed on qualifications and quality assurance careers education and pathways from education to employment. Josh was one of the architects of New Zealand’s system of Vocational Pathways, an organising framework for careers advice, education and employment pathways used in secondary schools, and the TVET sector.

The Hon Geoff Lee MP – NSW Minister for Skills & Tertiary Education

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Dr Geoff Lee MP is the Member for Parramatta and Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education and Acting Minister for Sports, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans.
He is committed to delivering world-class skills and education for New South Wales. He is a passionate advocate for Western Sydney and its diverse communities.
Minister Lee is also the driving force behind the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to Parramatta, with more than $5 billion committed to building vital infrastructure over the next 4 years – infrastructure that will greatly improve the lives of the people of Parramatta for generations to come.
He was first elected as the State Member for Parramatta in 2011 and returned in both 2015 and 2019, This is the first time in 60 years the State seat of Parramatta has been held by a Liberal Party member for three consecutive terms.
Minister Lee has both Australian and Chinese ancestry. His paternal grandfather originated from the providence of Zhongshan, Southern China and moved to Australia in the 1920s. His maternal ancestors are of English and Scottish descent arriving in Australia early in the 1800s.
Prior to entering politics, Minister Lee was an award-winning business owner, then TAFE teacher, lecturer and later the Associate Dean at the Western Sydney University. His research and publications cover small business, online learning and adult education.
As a past business owner, Minister Lee continues to champion small business as a key driver of innovation, economic growth and local jobs. His academic career has also reinforced his passion and strong advocacy for lifelong learning.
Minister Lee holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Horticulture) from Hawkesbury Agricultural College, a Master of Business Administration and a Doctor of Business Administration from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management.

Dr Peta Skujins – Director, AATIS

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Peta is the Director of the Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships Information Service (AATIS). She is involved in undertaking research projects and data analysis in the apprenticeships and traineeships sector, and authoring reports and web content. Peta has previously worked as a researcher focusing on pathways through education and employment and has a PhD in Psychology.

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Ashley Fell is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle. As a trends analyst and media commentator she understands how to effectively communicate across diverse audiences.

From her experience in managing media relations, social media platforms and content creation, Ashley advises on how to achieve cut through in message-saturated times. She is an expert in how to communicate across generational barriers.

In addition to delivering keynote presentations at conferences, Ashley is booked to conduct training days for corporate and not-for-profit clients, facilitate panels across an array of industries and deliver workshops across diverse generations. From generational change to responding to technological disruption, from key demographic transformations to social shifts, Ashley delivers research-based presentations dealing with global and national trends.

With academic qualifications in communications, an ongoing role in managing the deployment and visualisation of national research studies, and with her position leading the communications strategy at McCrindle, Ashley brings robust, research-based and experienced content to her engaging presentations and consulting


Ashley Fell – Head of Advisory, McCrindle

Jason Sultana – Executive Officer, Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT 


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Jason is the Executive Officer of the Apprentice Employment Network NSW ACT since 2015. Jason has worked in the Group Training Industry for 8 years in various roles. Jason has 20 years experience in the VET industry and is actively involved in various working parties within the VET industry.


Chris Steel MLA – ACT Minister for Skills

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Chris Steel has been a Member for Murrumbidgee in the ACT Legislative Assembly since 2016 and currently represents the districts of the Woden Valley, Weston Creek, the Molonglo Valley as well as the suburbs of Deakin, Yarralumla and Kambah.
Since August 2018 Chris has also served as a Cabinet Minister in the ACT Government and is currently responsible for the following portfolios:
Minister for Transport and City Services
Minister for Skills
Special Minister of State
Prior to entering politics, Chris was an education advocate at peak body Early Childhood Australia and has previously worked in both the Australian Government and ACT Government focusing on a range of social policy areas.
He has worked extensively in the area of early childhood reform including the introduction of the National Quality Agenda, and universal access to early childhood education. Chris has completed undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts (majoring in Political Science) at the Australian National University (ANU).

Brad Kilpatrick – Deputy Commandant, Australian Defence Force Academy 

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Brad Kilpatrick joined the Australian Army in 1990 and graduated from Royal Military College-Duntroon in 1993. Throughout his military career, Brad has had a wide variety of leadership and planning appointments within Cavalry Regiments and has had operational deployments to East Timor, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently holding the rank of Colonel, his recent experience includes readiness and sustainability planning for the Australian Defence Force, and concept development and futures analysis for the Army. He is currently the Deputy Commandant of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).
Brad has analysed research on adolescent brain development, cognitive function and educational psychology to design a unique training strategy specifically aimed at a 15-25-year-old youth demographic. Brad’s adolescent learning strategies maximise the positive aspects of adolescent brain function, whilst accepting the realities of certain cognitive limitations. Through the period of implementation at ADFA from 2011-2013, Brad’s strategies resulted in statistically significant reductions in unacceptable behaviour. Significant improvements were also achieved in student motivation, satisfaction and performance across a population size of 1050 in a mixed-gender residential environment of 17-21-year-olds.
In 2014 Brad was awarded a Conspicuous Service Cross for his achievements as the Commanding Officer of ADFA. In 2017 Brad was awarded a Masters in Philosophy from the University of New South Wales for the ‘Design and implementation of adolescent learning strategies’.

Robyn Pemberton, Leader, Vocational Education – Pathways and Transitions, NSW Department of Education

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Robyn has worked in public education for over 25 years in NSW as a secondary teacher and VET Head Teacher, before moving into VET in Schools policy and curriculum development roles with the NSW Department of Education. Robyn now leads the VET Programs for Secondary Students team in the Pathways and Transitions unit, which includes responsibility for school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, the Educational Pathways Pilot Project (EPPP) and the Vocational Schools Pilot election commitment. Robyn has a deep commitment to supporting and promoting VET pathways for young people as a key strategy to ensure successful post-school transitions.

Amber Rabinov, Senior Manager, Macro Research, AustralianSuper

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Amber Rabinov is the Senior Manager, Macro Research at AustralianSuper. She leads the Fund’s macro research effort for both Asset Allocation and the Fund’s broad Investment Strategy, with her team conducting cyclical, secular and longer-term thematic economic research. Amber has over fifteen years of professional experience. Prior to joining AustralianSuper, Amber worked for Aviva Investors in London as a Senior Investment Strategist for the AIMS funds, and for ANZ as a Senior Economist and Strategist in both London and Melbourne. Amber holds a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) with First Class Honours and Master of Commerce (Economics), all from the University of Melbourne.

Melissa Pinney, Director, Vocational Education in Secondary Schools, ACT Education Directorate

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Melissa (Mel) Pinney is currently Director of Vocational Education in Secondary Schools at the ACT Education Directorate. Mel has over 20 years’ experience working in the employment and training sectors across NSW and the ACT and was previously the Director of Projects at Skills Canberra. Prior to joining the ACT Government Mel held roles with employment services providers and Australian Apprenticeship Providers and has also worked collaboratively with GTOs and private and public registered training organisations on a range of projects. This breadth of experience gives Mel a deep understanding of the VET ecosystem and inspires her to improve connections between industry, government and service providers, which results in mutually beneficial outcomes for all.

Vik Naidoo, Leader, Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer – TAFE NSW

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As Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, Vik ensures TAFE NSW is positioned to respond to emerging market opportunities by fostering strong partnerships with industry and developing strategies for growth.
Prior to joining TAFE NSW, Vik was a senior tertiary education leader. He has more than 15 years of expertise in delivering strategic plans and business performance outcomes across metropolitan and regional education centres.
Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer of the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. In this role, he was responsible for steering the university’s engagement with the United States.
His global career has seen him lead multi-million dollar programs for large teams of more than 500 people, as well as smaller scale projects across academic and professional portfolios.

Kirsty Hosea, Chief Delivery Officer – TAFE NSW

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Kirsty Hosea joined TAFE NSW as the Chief Delivery Officer in November 2020.
As the Chief Delivery Officer with TAFE NSW Kirsty has responsibility for the team overseeing end-to-end accountability for students from enrolment to graduation. Most recently Kirsty was a partner with Deloitte Digital’s Customer Strategy and Experience Design practice. She has extensive experience in the Australian and US university sectors, including with the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, as well as Georgetown University, and Temple University.
As the Executive Director at Georgetown University, Kirsty built a custom education program attracting national and international clients facing rapidly evolving business environments.
Kirsty has led several large-scale customer transformations in the US government. She is known as a pioneer in experience management and trust, where she has spoken on national stages.

Liz Nair, Commercial Director – Master Builders Association of the ACT

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Liz Nair’s purpose is, ‘to inspire people to win’. Liz is passionate about helping businesses and their people to thrive, transforming them from the inside out.
Liz is currently the Commercial Director of Master Builders ACT and the founder of Attivo Consulting. Liz’s experience in the VET sector extends over 20 years, working for both public and independent providers. She has studied in VET, trained in VET and transformed organisations delivering VET. with over 15 years’ experience in the sector. She is an experienced leader, innovator, facilitator, small business owner and coach. Her strengths include leading large teams through transformation and change, and developing new business models that work today. She is passionate about unlocking the potential of young aspiring leaders to be their best, achieve their career goals when feeling stuck, provide clarity when directionless, and inspire young talent to unleash their brilliance.

Craig Randazzo, Chairperson – Apprentice Employment Network NSW & ACT / CEO – Skillset

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Craig has worked for over 30 years in the vocational education, apprenticeship, disability, secondary education and employment services industries, the last 20 of which has been in the Central West and Western Regions of NSW. Craig brought his experience to Skillset in 2013 as CEO, and in 2015 his passion for the life-changing power of education and skills development was instrumental in the opening of the first Skillset Senior College campus in Bathurst, and the re-invention of the Skillset GTO as an end to end employment and skills service now branded Skillset Workforce. Craig is degree qualified from the University of Sydney with majors in Education and Psychology. He also has an Advanced Diploma of Management, is a Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders, and Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

We would like to thank the following 2021 Sponsors and Exhibitors: