AEN State Conference Wrap-up


Minister-Steve-Herbert-and-John-AcklandThe AEN held its Mid-year State Conference on the 16th and 17th of June at the Mercure in Ballarat.

With a turn-out representing the greater majority of members, a range of Government officials and industry experts, the event proved to be a great success.

The event’s proceedings were kicked off by the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon. Steve Herbert who announced an additional $3.7 million in funding.

From the funding $2.7 million will be used to extend the Apprenticeship Support Officer (ASO) program for another year and $1 million for Government to work with GTO’s, TAFEs and employers to identify ways to help apprentices complete their training.

Minister Steve Herbert also acknowledged retiring Skillinvest CEO John Ackland for his hard work and dedication during his 30 year career – dubbing him a “True Hero” of Group Training.

Our guest speakers also included the Victorian Skills Commissioner Neil Coulson, Andrew Hosken from the State Revenue Office, Carl Walsh from the Department of Education and Training and Chris Ingham from the VRQA who gave us valuable updates from the Victorian State Government.

We would like to thank our guest speakers for their attendance and contribution to the conference.

We would also like to thank the workshop presenters James Nash from Nash Training, Maria Alibrando and Melissa Kalemis from Alibrando Consulting, Marcus Lens and Richard Hogg from AEN (GTPaC) and Malcolm White from Communicat.

At the conference dinner – AEN Chair Dean Luciani celebrated the retirement of John Ackland, CEO at Skillinvest and AEN Life Member, later this year.

Amongst the jestful banter, many kind words were shared about John’s 30-year career in the group training network by Geoff Carson and Sue Kent – fellow Life Members.

A small snapshot of contributions John has made to the group training industry include;

  • GTAV’s longest standing board member with 17 years on the board
  • GTAV Life membership in 2008
  • GTAN board member for 5 years
  • GTAN Life membership in 2011
  • Numerous regional, state and commonwealth steering committees / working groups – too many to name

John has been a great supporter of group training and has always made himself available to the wider network to assist with any questions or issues.

Congratulations to John on a wonderful career – and we look forward to seeing him at future industry events.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and look forward to seeing you all at future events.



Members can access all the presentations from the Conference Presentations section in the Members Area