Empowering First Nations people - higher education and VET

Empowering First Nations people - higher education and VET

Mar 14
Continuing the discussion on education, join CEDA’s panel of key spokespeople and stakeholders from across the country to explore university and non-university support programs for Indigenous students.
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Michelle Hoad, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, North Metropolitan TAFE
Dr Leanne Holt, President, NATSIHEC, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy, Macquarie University
Catriona Jackson, Chief Executive Officer, Universities Australia
Rodney Williams, Principal, Nous Group

Event Overview

It is well known that education is a critical factor for economic development and growth, and an essential component of an individual’s employability, physical and mental health, and earnings potential – benefits which flow on to families and communities.

For these reasons, education is a key focus of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. Target six of the Agreement is to increase the proportion of Indigenous Australians aged 25-34 who have completed a tertiary qualification to 70 per cent by 2031 (from the baseline level of 42 per cent in 2016), while target seven aims to increase the proportion of Indigenous youth who are in employment, education or training to 67 per cent by 2031.

This is the second education-focused session of CEDA’s Empowering First Nations people series. During the session we will discuss university and non-university programs which support Indigenous students to thrive and complete education, while exploring the ongoing hurdles and how industry, institutions and policy can address these.

Livestream start times:
SA: 12.30pm
NT: 11.30am
QLD: 12.00pm
WA: 10.00am

Please note all livestream events will be recorded and registered participants will receive exclusive access to the recording following the event, ahead of the general public. Substitutions for the livestream can be made at any time. Please forward details to the event coordinator.


Meet the speakers

Michelle Hoad
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, North Metropolitan TAFE

Michelle is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of North Metropolitan TAFE, the largest government training provider in Western Australia. Having worked with diverse client groups in regional and metropolitan areas, Michelle values the unique profile of our State and its economic development and community skills needs. Michelle is an inclusive and innovative leader, mobilising training capability to collaborate across government and the private sector to maximise industry outcomes. With a foundation in organisational psychology, Michelle is passionate about the role of training in strengthening business capability, and in supporting individuals to achieve their potential.

Dr Leanne Holt
President, NATSIHEC, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy, Macquarie University

A Worimi and Biripai woman from the mid north coast of NSW, Leanne is Director, Indigenous Strategy at Macquarie University, and Deputy Chairperson of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium. In 2017, Leanne led the development of a comprehensive government report on the implementation of a ‘Whole of University approach’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander higher education as a part of a broader Accelerating Higher Education report for the Department of Education.

Catriona Jackson
Chief Executive Officer, Universities Australia

Catriona is a highly experienced advocate for higher education and has extensive experience in the policy making process. Prior to her current appointment, she served as Universities Australia’s Deputy Chief Executive leading the policy team in developing sectoral policy. She was CEO of Science and Technology Australia; press secretary and senior advisor to a federal government cabinet minister; director of government relations and communication at the ANU; and a newspaper and radio journalist.

Meet the facilitator

Rodney Williams
Principal, Nous Group

Rodney has diverse industry experience across the private, public and community sectors; where he has held board, senior executive and management roles. He brings over 20 years’ experience in consulting, Indigenous economic development, banking and finance, employment services, and design. Rodney applies strategic thinking and well-developed commercial skills to solve challenging client problems across a broad range of sectors.
Additional participants to be confirmed.

Session themes and confirmed speakers

Supported by CEDA member

Livestream sponsor

Further sponsorship available:

Align your brand with CEDA and communicate with hard-to-reach business, government and policy leaders by sponsoring this event. Contact CEDA Programming Team on 03 9662 3544 or email
Public event advice – Coronavirus

At CEDA we are proud to regularly convene and engage speakers and audiences as an essential element of our efforts to broaden discussion and debate of the most important policy issues facing Australia. In doing so, our first priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our guests and staff.

CEDA is currently delivering a digital program of public events, podcasts and virtual Trustee roundtable discussions; hybrid events with both a livestream and audience in attendance; and face-face events, where there is member demand and they can be delivered in accordance with government health advice for a specific state.

For face-to-face gatherings, CEDA is working closely with our hosts and venues to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and facilities and equipment have been properly sanitised. Attendance numbers will strictly adhere to government guidelines for each state.In line with government advice we request people that are unwell with cough or fever or other respiratory symptoms do not attend CEDA events. We also ask that you follow government advice and maintain social distancing by refraining from shaking hands or exchanging physical greetings, and wherever possible, staying at least 1.5 metres away from others.

CEDA will continue to closely monitor government advice regarding public gatherings and will follow all relevant health advice from the Australian government in relation to COVID-19.

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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