Who we are
ACE is a community college redefining careers, changing outlooks and empowering positive futures.
Our mission is to help you get to where you want to go – it’s your success we care about.
We work on this every day, designing and delivering nationally recognised qualifications and skill set courses in areas of high industry demand which are pathways to employment and career advancement. Along the way ACE has developed strong industry networks and partnerships in our signature specialisations of early childhood education and care, community care, business administration and life skills.
We also invest in building community resilience and social capacity through a truly unique range of leisure and lifestyle workshops, from the artistic and creative to the practical and informative.
Award winning outreach programmes popping up in townships and Indigenous communities across country NSW are an important component of our annual program, and underscore our commitment to regional sustainability.
ACE Community Colleges, established in 1972, is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO 90032) with services in an ever expanding footprint across Northern NSW and Southeast QLD. Our colleges are located in Lismore, Burleigh Waters and Southport, with a training centre at Kirra Hill.
“At our core we believe in the life changing significance of choice, that everyone can achieve, that we each learn differently; and that there are many powerful alternative pathways to career development. Your success is what we care about.”Principal / Kerry Johnson
Endlessly positive and intensely energetic the ACE team of professional trainers, community board, executive group and customer care crew share a belief in the power of you and your life resolutions. Can't wait to say hello.
From the age of nine, Amanda knew that Community Care was her calling. Having witnessed first-hand just how rewarding, helpful and influential home care was for her elderly family members, she devoted her career to the field. Her goal is to ensure people enjoy their senior years feeling valued and loved. Teaching is a great avenue to share her passion and expertise with new and upcoming carers.
Ash has a huge repertoire of skills and knowledge including Community Services, Engineering, Mathematics and physics, Hospitality and Management – wow! He balances work as a part-time chef, leader for the Afghan community and youth mentor along with ACE. “Watching people change their attitudes, their lives, and accomplish big things through training is the most rewarding part of being a teacher”. In his spare time, he plays and follows all kinds of sports including soccer and NRL.
Adventure-driven Belinda joins the team and comes from a background of Youth Work and Career Development. Her speciality is helping young people find their feet in today’s ever-changing modern environment. “If you believe in yourself and are given the right tools, education is power and knowledge to make good choices in life.” Outside of teaching, she is completing her own qualifications in Mental Health and AOD and enjoys the great outdoors – you’ll find her out sailing, camping or four-wheel driving.
Teaching for 10 years has only strengthened my passion for education and the benefits it can provide to everyone who starts out and completes. I believe in demonstrating course theory with real life case studies and in making concepts brilliantly relevant to students. A Northern Rivers local of about 30 years means I know a lot about regional business plus a thing or two about juggling children, family, work and study. My mantra is be positive.
A true go-getter with a vivacious attitude, Deb is devoted to assisting students achieve their goals and dreams in Early Childhood. Her approach to be actively involved in a child’s journey and development has guided her teaching practice, inspiring and motivating students to maintain the same ideology whilst in the field.
Currently employed in the Early Childhood sector, Dee brings a wealth of understanding and experience to her teaching. Equipped with knowledge and enthusiasm for the industry, she provides dedication to each and every student.
Julene comes to ACE as a former ECEC centre manager on the GC, with 30 years experience under her belt. Training with us is an opportunity to share with students her abundant knowledge and skills. “Watching the students in my class gain employment in Early Childhood who I know will have a positive impact on the lives of young children is the greatest reward.”
Sharing her 12 years of experience in this sector with students is a real inspiration for Karen. Her professional background is dynamic, she has achieved success in providing direct clinical care to high needs patients in the community through to individual Case Management. Karen joins the team in Lismore and is super excited to be able to help others grow their skills to deliver exceptional quality care. Plus Karen see’s the big picture – there are always new experiences to make your care career interesting and challenging is her mantra.
Kat is hugely passionate about helping others love their life and feel fulfilled each day. Over the last 15 years, she has worked with people to help them transform their lives to achieve greater happiness. Her forte is finding solutions to managing stress, doubts and limiting beliefs through Mindset Coaching.
Leeann is one of ACE’s most esteemed trainers in Community Care. While expertly juggling her multi-skilled role, her compassionate nature is evident – providing students with an admirable example. “I believe every human being deserves to be cared for in a kind and respectful way”.
After spending many years as a jack of all trades moving between various industries (hospitality, high school teaching and the corporate world), Malise discovered her calling in neuro linguistic programming – helping young adults dream big and achieve their personal and professional goals. Sharing the knowledge and skills that give her focus, drive and love for life has inspired students to follow in her footsteps and set a positive outlook. She encourages all to keep learning, keep exploring, have fun and keep mastering your mind. When not teaching, Malise is a speaking ambassador for Beyond Blue.
Maria is a Business and Corporate professional with 13 years of experience in business support, marketing, HR and training. Maria is dynamic, with a motivating and energetic style of communicating. “I am passionate about people, assisting everyone to tap into their own potential to achieve their very best in life”. In her spare time, she loves exercising, reading lots of self-development and motivational books, and boating.
Mel is committed to providing overall well-being to others out in the field and is passionate about teaching her students to value individual strengths. As a previous employee of 13 years in the leisure and health sector, Mel is highly regarded for her holistic approach.
Back in the day I became a journalist thinking I could change the world. The reality was far different from my perception. This led to some deep soul searching. I tried something completely different and started working in the aged and community care sector and found that I truly loved it. Finally I felt I was making that difference I always hoped for. Now, teaching others all that I’ve learnt connects me back to what I aimed for when I was younger. It truly is the best job ever.
Prue’s approach focuses on maximising achievement, from the inside out. Her training is innovative, supporting students to move forward with fresh perspective. “External success is a direct reflection of our internal state of being and skills. Armed with the right internal tools, we can achieve anything”.
Sharon has an impressive 25 years teaching and coaching experience in several industries including dance, performing arts, personal development and business. She connects with students through passion for human potential, humour, and flexible training methods to suit individual needs. Her aim is for students to leave the course with greater self-belief and motivation than when they arrived.
Steve’s ability to connect with people through quality training, genuine care and unmistakable humour is an brilliant asset. His background is teaching English to speakers of other languages, Leadership and Management, Business and Digital Media. Most recently Steve is focused on Foundation Skills training. “Teaching is a very surprising, addictive and fulfilling career. We are forever learning, so you might as well make a solid foundation to stack all that knowledge on top of!”
Angela has been working in Education Sector for the last seven years as an online academic in the digital platform. She loves her work. “My real joy is seeing students thrive; reaching out to their goals and chasing down their dreams – it’s a pretty amazing space to work in. I’m very lucky”. She is beyond excited with her new College Manager role and has brilliant fresh strategies ready for launch. When not working she is enjoying the northern rivers surf, yep a super keen surfer.
After working in public practice as a company auditor for 6 years, plus time spent in Western Sydney with a major construction company in finance & HR management roles Erin arrived at ACE for a change of pace & to be part of the Not for Profit sector. She says the job is so rewarding. “Every-day I get to support the development & growth of the ACE business which empowers so many people to reach their full potential through education”.
When Erin is not crunching the numbers, you can find her down at Cherry Street Sports in Ballina raffling meat trays or volunteering at events as part of her role as Director of the Club, or out and about exploring the local food and wine scene. When she gets the opportunity, she also loves to explore new countries and the culture, food and experiences they have to offer.
A career in primary school teaching went on-hold to follow a big sporting dream. Kerry represented Australia at two Olympic Games in track and field and loved every second of it. Life after sport saw her reconnect with education, whilst deciding not to return to the classroom every job since has had an education component. Kerry says “education can change your world and I have lived that through each of my jobs and I’ve seen it through my years of travelling”.
Working for ACE is her best ever job – She gets to be part of life changing moments for students who perhaps haven’t had good experiences with education in their early years but overcome their fears to take on studying for a qualification. Kerry has recently developed what is best described as a healthy devotion to mosaics and photography – you’ll see her at ACE short courses.
Teaching is the most rewarding thing I’ve done, besides being a mother. I get such a thrill when students achieve their goals no matter how big or small and I feel that I learn as much from my students as they take from my classes. Language, literacy and numeracy encompass every aspect of our lives so my learners bring a wealth of experience which is integrated into the learning along with games and practical activities wherever possible to make it fun and engaging for all of us.
Robyn is a proud advocate of the power of quality education and the opportunities it provides. An ideas woman who is incredibly resourceful and fun, Robyn also sees herself as a foodie extraordinaire. When not managing the team in Burleigh she can be found putting her other talent into practice – quoting lines from ‘The Castle’. She can do that better than most.
Being a Director on the College Board is a way I have been able to contribute to the ongoing development and sustainability of adult education provision in this region. ACE Community Colleges, like many other adult education providers, is a Not for Profit organisation and relies on the voluntary input of appropriately skilled community members for high level oversight and strategic direction. With Colleges often relying on income from fee paying vocational education and training programs to help support their general class programs the need for sound management is vital.
A passionate advocate for life-long learning, that’s me. A teacher in fashion for over 35 years at TAFE and involved in the delivering of accredited and non-accredited training over this period across our region and on Norfolk Island. Volunteering is my other love, I’m a keen supporter of Lismore Basketball and have been on the Management Committee there since 1985.
I donate/volunteer time to ACE because it’s important to me to be able to give back to my community if I can and education is where I think I can make a contribution. It’s a trending topic across levels of government, but it is at ACE that training really comes to fruition for many people who may be returning to learning or challenging themselves with something new. We give each student the access and opportunity they need to move forward. What you do will never leave you but may lead you to something new. I use a phrase I heard many years ago… ‘What you see is what you will be’ so see yourself at ACE.
I have a long-term interest in the delivery of adult education, being involved in the delivery of courses in the early days of the Adult Evening College – a precursor to ACE Community Colleges. Thrilled to have now joined the Board.
Training delivered by ACE Community Colleges meets the requirements set by the Australian National Regulator; Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF); the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.