Hon. Alan Brown AM started his working career in a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship which he credits as pivotal to his success in business and in public life. After a lengthy stint in public life he joined (IntoWork Australia) INGT Ltd in the year 2000 as its Chairman. Prior to Brown joining the board, IntoWork Australia which originated in the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne, operated only in Melbourne and employed a total of 391 apprentices and trainees. Under Mr Brown’s leadership, by the end of FY2018, IntoWork operated through 11 companies across the Country, employing over 1,500 apprentices and trainees.
Alan Brown refocused the company and its management to prioritise increasing the services it provides, diversifying its service provision, resulting in building a long term sustainable platform for the company. He also led the company to recognize that due to many changes in the external environment there was an opportunity to partner with other GTO’s to ensure the long term sustainability not just of IntoWork but of others in the sector.
To that end discussions were held with Work & Training in Tasmania in 2004, which was and is the largest GTO in the State and the largest employer of young people in the State, however it was struggling financially and governance wise. IntoWork made a decision to support the company through improving its corporate governance and management, and providing a substantial loan to ensure its long term viability. Work & Training has since grown, has increased its services, owns substantial real estate and generates surpluses annually.
This model was then built on, inviting other GTO’s to join a Group structure, receiving effective corporate shared services and other strategic support as required, whilst those businesses could and did retain their own governance, branding, services and finances. Under Alan Brown’s leadership, the O Group in Tasmania joined the Group in 2014, followed by Capricornia Training Company from Queensland in 2015 and MRAEL, also from Queensland, in 2016.
AGA, based in Victoria, joined the Group in 2014 – AGA is a highly successful GTO/RTO/AASN in Victoria which started in Gippsland and then spread initially to Melbourne and then throughout Victoria and South Australia. AGA merged with IntoWork in order to position itself for the AASN tender and open up other broader strategic opportunities for the company. Mr Brown was the Chair of IntoWork during the merger process and became Chair of AGA since merging and during his Chairmanship the company has turned from a series of losses over consecutive years to consistent surpluses since the merger.
Alan Brown also initiated the development of the Inner North Community Foundation (INCF) in 2007. Since inception IntoWork has funded the operations of INCF and has contributed $4.1 million to its corpus for Pathways to Employment initiatives run by charities in the inner north of Melbourne. In the 11 years since inception, INCF has re-invested more than $3.1 million with grants to 140 community organisations running innovative employment related programs for disadvantaged local people.
Collectively under Alan Brown’s leadership, this has now resulted in a Group of 11 companies (predominantly GTO’s) operating nationally under IntoWork Australia with 700 staff, around 2000 apprentices, trainees and short term placements, and 50,000 students trained annually.
Hon. Alan Brown has actively participated in strategic forums and discussions in Victoria and nationally, attending Group Training and other similar events where he has shared his knowledge and insights for the benefit of the sector.
IntoWork also has 4 RTO’s providing training across the nation. Mr Brown’s guidance as Chair of IntoWork has enabled each of the companies in the group delivering training to remain focused on highest quality and effective training being delivered.
Alan Brown’s foresight, strategic approach and focus on collaboration has enabled 5 GTO’s nationally (including 2 in Victoria) to expand and thrive in what has often been quite challenging circumstances for this sector.