Keynote Speakers



Peter Noonan

Peter is a Professorial Fellow in the Mitchell Institute at Victoria University and 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. His 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. Peter was also appointed to the Commonwealth Governments Higher Education Expert Panel in 2016.


John Polesel

Professor John Polesel is Associate Dean International and Director of the Centre for Vocational and Educational Policy, in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.  He manages a range of research projects focussing on upper secondary education, transitions from school and vocational education. His research interests include issues of inequality, the relationship between schools and vocational training, models of education and training and youth transitions in Australia and internationally. He recently completed a national ARC study of the partnerships schools form to deliver VET programs, in conjunction with Deakin University, the Catholic Education Offices and Departments of Education in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia and the Association of Independent Schools NSW.  He recently led a destinations survey of secondary school students for the NSW government. He has played a leading role in winning and conducting over sixty major educational research grants and consultancies, and is part of the recently awarded ENLIVEN Horizon 2020 project. He established a Masters program focussing on Australian and European approaches to education and training, the Master of Education Policy International, which has been running successfully for 12 years. He has written or co-written over 100 journal articles, book chapters and commissioned reports, mostly as first author, including in some of the most prestigious international journals including: Oxford Review of Education, Comparative Education; Journal of Education Policy; Australian Journal of Education; and European Journal of Vocational Training, and chapters in major Springer books.


Tim Rawlings

Tim Rawlings is the Head of Training Product Development for PwC’s Skills for Australia. His experience includes assisting Registered Training Organisations with quality, student experience and compliance matters. He has also worked in the Queensland Government as Senior Policy Adviser to the Minister for Education, Training and Employment. In Tim’s Government work, he was responsible for the whole of sector review of VET in Queensland (Skills and Training Taskforce) and the implementation of the Taskforce’s recommendations (including the transition to an industry led advisory commission and the transition of TAFE to a statutory body). His international experience includes projects in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates related to economic analysis, public policy and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public sector entities.