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2023 Fellows

VSA Vocational Education & Training Fellowship

Paul Gouldie

Paul Goudie

Cybersecurity rapidly evolves and requires graduates, professionals and industry to stay current on the latest threats and technologies.

Paul’s Fellowship is to research and analyse how training providers can partner with industry and government to co-design an approach that combines the best technical, academic and human skills to achieve Australia's vision of being the world's most cyber-secure country by 2030. Paul aims to develop a comprehensive framework that helps training providers tailor curricula to meet the emerging technical skills employers and industries require to fast-track students' cybersecurity careers.

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Tammy Casselson

The aim of Tammy’s Fellowship is to share, learn and build connections to discover possibilities to implement mindfulness into the Australian Vocational and Dual-education sectors for wellbeing and success. She will engage with experts from over 50 countries, about Mindfulness and Flourishing, at the IPPA (International Positive Psychology Association) Congress in Vancouver. Mindfulness is recognised as both a competency and a state of being. It is the deliberate act of paying attention, while remaining non-critical and open minded. It allows the user to stay on task, focused and motivated. Research shows mindfulness improves mental health, performance, and attrition rates. Tammy’s Fellowship will investigate how these results could be gained in the Australian Vocational and Dual-education sectors.

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Rahman Abarin

Rahman’s Fellowship intends to investigate best practice pedagogies and technologies employed by some of the world’s leading digital education and EdTech solution providers in Europe, in implementing synchronous hybrid teaching known as “Hybrid Concurrent”. The aim is to acquire as much knowledge as possible about hybrid teaching models, hybrid interactions, communication and collaboration spaces, technologies, and hybrid classroom set-up to come up with a VET contextualised hybrid concurrent model to deliver EAL courses to CALD learners. Eventually, to help facilitate the implementation of the proposed model for VET training providers to meet their cohorts’ needs, EAL courses, and the industry.

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Tyler Payne

Tyler's Fellowship research investigates how AI tools can be implemented into vocational education with creative practice research to enhance digital literacy for disadvantaged VET learners. This research has been inspired by her years of teaching mature-aged students, digital art practices, and technologies at RMIT University (as part of the College of Vocational Education.) The focus of Tyler's CPR relates to improving the equity, access, and potential workplace outcomes for disadvantaged mature-aged students in a fast-paced moving digital landscape that will impact employment.

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Warren Guest

Warren’s Fellowship will make a contribution towards solving the problem of apprenticeship non-completion. The research will examine European models of apprenticeship curriculum and their ability to build a sense of identity and belonging. Warren hopes to use the findings to influence VET curriculum design at a national and institutional level.

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Emma O’Donovan

Emma O’Donovan, Environmental Strategic Project Lead at Wodonga TAFE is committed to and passionate about embedding education and training that supports the ‘green skills’ needed for a clean economy workforce within all industry areas of VET delivery. 

Conscious that current conversation highlights the need to grow our future workforce in clean energy skills, Emma plans to focus her project on the evolution of existing qualifications, and more specifically the opportunity to embed circular economy principals into all VET training practices. 

Through her Fellowship experience, Emma will explore opportunities to make the clean economy journey available to all VET educators, using their own expertise, industry, and global innovations. 


Ross Digby

The purpose of Ross's project is to gain a deep understanding of how education and training organisations collaborate with infrastructure mega projects.  On these projects there may be one or more companies who have entered a joint venture who have a wide range of education and training demands.  To gain this understanding it is intended to visit tunnelling education & training organisations to gain an understanding of how they collaborate for mega projects. It is also intended to present how the Victorian Tunnelling Centre has collaborated on Victoria’s Big Build Projects, to gain feedback and input on developing a collaborative model that works within Australia’s education and training frameworks.


Shae McGregor

Supporting successful progression and completion in education and training has positive impacts for individuals, communities, labour and skill shortages and the overall population.  Through individually lead responses by TAFE providers and sector initiatives, TAFEs are experiencing an increase in engagement of students from underrepresented groups however outcomes data reports lower rates of successful completion.

Shae's aim is to investigate approaches by International Community Colleges to support successful progression and completion of learners who identify within groups such as those who are Indigenous, low socioeconomic status, experiencing family violence, early school leavers or are from communities experiencing disadvantage.


Richard Scarf

Richard's Fellowship involves researching the latest agricultural methods and best practices of cacao farming. He will visit two cacao farms to obtain a comprehensive understanding of all processes on the farm. The research will include terroir, sustainability, biodiversity, harvesting, fermenting and drying and how it impacts the final flavour and nuances of the chocolate. The most efficient methods of roasting and processing the beans to showcase them at their best will be investigated, thus covering the full cycle from seed to bar. Upon completion of the Fellowship a comprehensive ‘Bean to Bar’ chocolate short course will be developed at William Angliss Institute.


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Jennifer Brooker

Dr Jennifer Brooker’s Fellowship initiates an ongoing research project by commencing an international comparison (e.g. Austria, Canada, New Zealand, Tonga, UK, USA) that considers how Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) workers are prepared for their roles of working with traumatised children and young people living in statutory care.  Identifying the initial training provided to this vital workforce, it includes the issues workers face, and the similarities and differences experienced in OOHC settings worldwide.  A topic yet to be researched in depth, it is anticipated the findings will inform future training approaches to create positive, sustainable outcomes for the sector’s many workers.   


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Jo Wallwork

Jo's Fellowship focuses on developing teaching practices which fully engage First Nation learners in a reciprocal learning relationship where learners can bring their own knowledge, wisdom, and ways of learning to the vocational education space.

Focusing on the idea of the Cultural Interface and the possibilities indicated by ongoing cross-cultural dialogue, this Fellowship proposes a contextualisation of an Aboriginal pedagogical approach to the vocational education space. This is as a non-Indigenous teacher in the spirit of relational responsiveness, wanting to reflect and attend to my teaching practice, relating and responding holistically to people, land, culture, language, spirit, and the relationships between these with integrity and care.


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Ann Baxter

Victoria’s workforce, needs to improve trade apprenticeship training retention and completion rates. Ann will explore international exemplars of trade apprenticeship interventions, seeking new ideas to enhance the current support already provided by Victorian TAFE’s. Starting with the 2024 apprenticeship conference in Bermingham, for foundational knowledge and context, Ann will then proceed to Bonn Germany, to consider their ”VerA initiative”.  In Offenbach Ann will explore their “QuABB” intervention program then finalise her journey in Switzerland, focusing on interventions within their dual iVET system.  All learnings, contextualised to Victorian apprenticeship cultural perspectives, will be shared via conferences and with multiple Victorian TAFE’s.

Australian VET Sustainability Fellowship

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Peter Schreiner

Peter will research workforce development practices in energy storage technologies including lithium-ion and flow batteries. The intention is to learn from leading European cell manufacturing facilities and gain an understanding of the various occupational roles within these organisations to determine skills and knowledge required to support future production and storage of renewable energy in Australia. This Fellowship also proposes to acquire knowledge of the battery manufacturing supply chain.


The Sustainability Fellowship outcomes will inform VET practice to support the mobilisation of future battery manufacturing industries in Australia. Knowledge gained by this Fellowship will enable VET program developers to align units of competency with emerging green energy technologies in Australia.

George Alexander Foundation Fellowship

Drew Bennett

Consumers are demanding sustainability in products and business practices, however Australia has been slow to adopt these and has a way to go on its push towards net zero. This Fellowship proposal seeks to investigate best-practice methodologies to reduce the environmental impact of telecommunications and data centre equipment, which has a disproportionate impact on Australia’s overall carbon emissions. The research will explore innovative ways to reduce overall power needed to run a data centre, and methodologies to ensure equipment is sustainably sourced, focusing on practices in the United States, as world leaders in the design of electronic products.

Drew Bennett

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Jessie French

This Fellowship will focus on the developing sustainable materials industry, specialised in biopolymers that are made from renewable ingredients and can be recycled as part of a closed-loop system. As governments and organisations increase actions to reduce waste and use resources wisely, there is still a large gap in availability of viable materials that can eliminate waste and environmental impact. Australia’s strength in this area is growing, but the industry is immature, dispersed and highly-specialised in non-translatable areas of innovation. Jessie French, proposes a Fellowship that will see her visit and forge connections with a global community of leaders in and around the industry. This will enable her to identify best-practice for developing, launching and scaling innovation in the sector as well as advancing knowledge in research and production of sustainable biopolymers.


Chris Hagen

Chris Hagen is pursuing skills enrichment in fine art hand-printmaking, specifically stone and plate lithography and intaglio etching techniques. Distinct from the commercial printing field in this era, hand-printing pairs traditional methods with innovative approaches to make "original prints" in favor of reproducing existing artworks. Despite having dedicated the past fifteen years to study and practice in these art forms, there are lifetimes of knowledge in the field, and most centres of training are overseas. He is arranging intensive apprenticeship/residency opportunities in America and/or Europe in studios with technical programs or in direct mentorship with established practitioners.

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Lee May

Lee May runs a boutique workshop on the Mornington Peninsula specialising in making bespoke denim jeans, jackets, and small batches of ready-to-wear garments. Lee’s Fellowship involves a three-week trip to Japan exploring small-scale denim manufacturers and mills, focusing on traditional techniques, machinery and materials used to make denim garments. The trip will involve spending time in denim workshops and factories before visiting denim mills and dye houses in Okayama. This will allow Lee an in-depth understanding on how selvedge denim is traditionally made including knowledge on how cotton is spun and how to weave denim on vintage looms.

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Mei Wilkinson

Mei's Fellowship will focus on time-based media conservation, particularly software conservation. It involves working with museums in Asia to gain specialised knowledge and skills in software-based media conservation which will include a research project, training in preservation approaches, and practical application of methods for conservation of software-based artworks. The goal is to develop valuable skills, foster international collaboration, and share knowledge benefiting Australia's emerging time-based media conservation community.‘ 


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Alex Miller

Alex will inquire into a regenerative approach to our food systems and ways this approach extends beyond environmental sustainability and actively encourages food citizenship. The concept of food citizenship affirms that we are not just consumers at the end of the food chain, but participants in the food system as a whole — changemakers, collaborators, and advocates for socio-ecological systems. Through connecting with international leaders in the field, Alex will investigate landcare practices such as market gardening, ecological gardening, and traditional skills including seed saving, and how these practices can re-connect us and deepen our relationships with place, community, and food.

Innovation in Ageing

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Tanya Davison

Tanya Davison's Fellowship will identify innovative approaches to address the growing mental health needs of home care recipients in Australia. Up to one half of older people who receive care at home experience significant symptoms of depression. There is an opportunity for the Australian aged care sector to facilitate early access to evidence-based psychological treatments for depression. The Fellow will target gaps in knowledge and practice of how to deliver optimal mental health support within home care by engaging with leading international experts and identifying effective approaches suitable for the Australian setting. Learnings will help shape future models of care in Australia.

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Jacqueline Quirke

This Fellowship will aim to investigate innovative models of staffing that are used within the small-scale domestic models of housing for the care of older people internationally which enables high levels of engagement in non-care related activities such as leisure, recreation, exercise, spiritual and cultural programs, the arts, community participation and other life enrichment programs.  In addition, staff education and the process of cultural change would be explored along with the role that environmental design, both indoors and outdoors, and technology influences the older persons ability to engage in enjoyable, meaningful and purposeful pursuits.

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Sarah Henry

Sarah is very grateful to have the opportunity to be awarded the Hugh DT Williamson Fellowship to discover best practice of non-clinical hospital avoidance approaches internationally. Sarah’s interest is in response to Australia’s increasing challenge of an aging population, lack of clinicians to meet community health demand and strain on our health care system. It aims to look at international integrated care models that are creating impactful outcomes and evidence how non-clinicians can motivate older vulnerable people to be in control of their health and wellbeing, thrive at home and not enter acute care unnecessarily or prematurely. Her objective is to test my findings here in Australia in the hope that she can develop a model that can positively influence at scale by seeking to upskill our existing national non-clinical assessment workforce.

Mason Family Trust

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Daphne Mohajer va Pesaran

Daphne, an academic, designer, and expert in sustainable fashion practices and paper, proposes to travel to Europe to acquire skills in the art of rag papermaking. With these new skills, Daphne aims to create a positive impact on both the Australian papermaking and wider community and address the problem of overconsumption in the Australian fashion industry. The traditional methods of rag papermaking are disappearing in Australia, making it important to preserve the art and promote its sustainable usage. 


Daphne will collaborate with local papermaking communities in Australia to share her newly acquired skills and foster innovation. She aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fashion overconsumption and promote sustainable practices by offering paper made using traditional methods as an eco-friendly and biodegradable alternative. 

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Luke Price

Luke Price is the Director of a bespoke mirror manufacturing studio, specialising in the application and controlled manipulation of silver on glass. As one of the only Silverers in Australia Luke has worked for over a decade to study, practice and develop the lost art of Silvering - hand poured application of silver to glass. Throughout his Fellowship, Luke will tour major historical mirror and glass manufacturing sites, concentrating on the ‘isle of glass’; Murano, Italy. He will visit mirror artisans and silverers, as well as galleries and museums to study true historical mirror examples. Through the Fellowship, Luke aims to raise the visibility of silvering and mirror manufacturing in Australia, in turn enhancing the possibilities for collaboration with other Australian artisans.

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Thomas Lentini

Thomas Lentini is a bespoke furniture maker and designer specialising in solid timber dining tables. Thomas will travel to Italy and gain first hand experience from master makers to enhance and diversify his practice in timber. He will engage with specialist woodcarvers and furniture makers from the Lombardy and Tuscany regions. He will incorporate these skills within his practice and apply them to custom design pieces for clients, architects and designers. The Fellowship will also provide Thomas the opportunity to engage with the master marble workers of the Carrara region, and consider its applications within his furniture practice. 


Laura Galati

Laura will undertake an immersive research trip to delve into the rich heritage of Italian knitwear design and production. The fellowship will provide her with the opportunity to visit leading knitwear design studios and manufacturers that are at the forefront of addressing critical fashion system issues. Through exploring traditional Italian craftsmanship, circular and material-driven design approaches and minimal waste production techniques she aims to enhance her local practice as a designer and maker. Laura intends to share her knowledge and engage the wider fashion community through collaboration, exhibitions, and education, with the ultimate aim of revitalising local industry practices.

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Katia Punaro

Katia is a librarian that teaches people how to trace their Italian ancestry. This Fellowship will allow her to connect with archivists, memory keepers and genealogists in Italy in order to better understand Italian vital record keeping and relay this information to the participants in her Italian family history workshops. 
She says “people driven to family history research are often seeking revelations about the self by understanding the lives/connections to those that came before them. When Italian Australians embark on this journey, it also sparks a re-connection with language, with history, with culture, and with family – hopefully leading towards an enlightened understanding of the self and their place in the world”. 

Italian Australian Fellowship

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