AVETRA 2016 Conference Key Note Speakers

We have a great line-up of keynote speakers for our 19th annual conference!

  • Professor Joe Lo Bianco – ‘Collective writing of language and literacy policy, initiatives in peace building in SE Asia’
  • Associate Professor Ruth Schubert – ‘Putting a stake in the ground: Quality Teaching in VET’
  • Chris Robinson – ‘Quality in the VET sector’
  • Dr Damian Oliver – ‘Employers understanding of the role of qualifications: the search for evidence’
  • Peter Noonan – ‘Investment in VET – the past, the present and the future’

The conference will close with an expert panel addressing the conference question around research: Putting VET research to work: motives, means and opportunities? chaired by Hugh Guthrie.

This is on top of the presentations from many passionate VET researchers and workshops dealing with some of the ‘difficult’ research issues.


JLBProfessor Joe Lo Bianco

Joseph Lo Bianco is Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and serves as Immediate Past President of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (the first educator elected to this role). In 2012 he was appointed Research Director of the UNICEF Language and Peacebuilding initiative in Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand. Since 2011 he has served as senior research advisor for LUCIDE, a European Commission project on Languages in Urban Communities – Integration and Diversity for Europe, conducting large scale 4 year research on multilingualism at the municipal level in 12 European cities.

In January 2014 he commenced in an academic advisory role with the National Research Centre for Foreign Language Education at Beijing Foreign Studies University providing advice to the State Language Commission and supporting academic research initiatives.

Professor Lo Bianco wrote Australia’s National Policy on Languages in 1987, the first multilingual national language policy in an English speaking country and was Chief Executive of the National Languages and Literacy Institute of Australia until 2002. The National Policy on Languages was adopted by the Australian government as a comprehensive national plan to cover all of Australia’s language needs and interests (English and English literacy, and English as a second and foreign language and languages other than English (including Indigenous language rights, immigrant and foreign languages) as well as language services (research, translating and interpreting, public media).




ruth_schubert_5_webAssociate Professor & Associate Director, LH Martin Institute Ruth Schubert

Ruth Schubert joined the LH Martin Institute in 2014 as the Program Director, VET and has since been appointed Associate Director. Ruth was previously the Director, Business Transformation with TAFE SA. Ruth has experience in private RTOs, the schooling sector, universities, and most recently 15 years in executive positions in TAFE Institutes. Ruth has had several stints as A/Managing Director, TAFE SA Regional. Ruth was instrumental in the process of TAFE SA Regional winning the State and National 2011 Large Training Provider of the year. Ruth’s considerable expertise in the Vocational and Training Sector includes executive education and corporate roles.

Ruth served as a member, then Deputy Chair and Chair for the Limestone Coast RDA Board for 5 years. Ruth has been a Director of the Stand like Stone Foundation since 2004, and now serves as Deputy Chair of the foundation.  Ruth is an inaugural member of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation, graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was awarded a Premier’s Award for Postgraduate Research into Lifelong Learning 2001.




Image C RobinsonChief Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Chris Robinson

Mr Chris Robinson has held a number of senior government positions in education, training and related fields, including Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Education and Children’s Services, South Australia; Deputy Director-General of the Department of Employment and Training, Queensland; and Managing Director of the National Centre for Vocational Education and Training Research.

Mr Robinson also held numerous senior executive roles in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and in the Australian Government departments responsible for education and training, and the Department of Employment and Training in the United Kingdom.

Mr Robinson has held the role of Acting Chief Commissioner of ASQA from 1 July 2011, and was appointed as Chief Commissioner from 1 October 2011 for a period of five years.





Damian OliverDr Damian Oliver

Dr Damian Oliver is currently Deputy Director of the Centre for Management and Organisation Studies at UTS. He is an applied researcher who is interested in the world of work, especially how it intersects with education and training. Prior to joining UTS, he was Leading Research Analyst and Acting Director at the Workplace Research Centre. His research career also includes time spent at Griffith University, the University of Duisburg-Essen in Germany, and three years at the National Centre for Vocational Education Research. He is currently Chief Investigator on a project for the Department of Employment looking at the extent and impact of unpaid work experience in Australia.






Peter NoonanPeter Noonan

Peter is a Professorial Fellow in the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University.

Peter has played a major role in shaping policy in Australia’s tertiary education and training systems over the past two decades as a policy adviser, senior executive in and consultant to federal and state governments, universities, higher education providers, and TAFE institutes. Peter’s major areas of expertise are in tertiary education policy, funding and regulation. Peter has held a number of senior appointments in education and training portfolios at both state and national levels. He was a member of the Expert Panel for the Review of Australian Higher Education (Bradley Review).

Since taking on his role at the Mitchell Institute in 2014  Peter has led the development of several major and influential reports on tertiary education financing and reform options. Peter is also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne.