About ACE

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 resilience.

ACE Community Colleges, established in 1972, is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO 90032) with services in an ever expanding footprint across the Northern Rivers NSW and Southeast QLD. Our colleges are located in Lismore, Murwillumbah and Burleigh Waters.

“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

Our Team

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.

Kerry Johnson
Chief Executive Officer - Lismore

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.

Erin Hutchinson
Operations Manager - Lismore

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 and human resource management, Erin came to ACE Community Colleges for a change of pace and enter the Not for Profit sector. She says the job is so rewarding. “Every-day I get to support the development and growth of the ACE business which empowers so many people to reach their full potential through education. I love using my numbers for good”.

When Erin is not crunching the numbers, you can find her at the training studio crunching her abs, trying to keep her physical condition as sharp as her finance mind! When she gets the opportunity, she also loves to explore new countries and the culture, food and experiences they have to offer.

Robyn Keenan
National RTO Manager - Burleigh

Robyn is a proud advocate of the power of quality education and the life changing opportunities it provides. As our National RTO Manager she is responsible for scheduling and implementation of training programs, business development initiatives, RTO regulatory compliance and funding contract requirements.

Prior to joining ACE Robyn worked in Vocational Education and Training for more than 15 years. She gained a Post Graduate Degree in Business from Melbourne University and holds a Diploma in Vocational Education and Training. When not working you can find Robyn in the shed restoring furniture, sofa so good! You guessed it she also likes a little fun.

Natalie Hannah
Community Programs Manager - LISMORE

Natalie has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the education sector, beginning her career in primary education and finding her passion in adult education. She has worked with ACE Colleges since 2009. Her number one goal is to help others discover their potential, wherever they may be in their learning journey. “There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a student have their ‘Aha moment’ when it all starts to come together.”

Natalie and her team regularly visit and work with Indigenous communities to engage with Elders and community members to meet their varying needs. A large focus of Community Programs is its award-winning Driver Education program which services the North Coast of NSW, helping thousands of students achieve a driver’s licence – now that’s something to be proud of.

Josh Livermore
College Manager - MURWILLUMBAH

After spending time in Productions Management, Manufacturing and Customer Service, Josh settled on a brilliant career in the not-for-profit RTO industry. More than nine years later, he is still absolutely loving it. As a true people-person his biggest motivation is to help people succeed and achieve their biggest goals – whether it be staff, students or strangers.

A caring and proactive leader, Josh has an open-door policy in his office. He may even introduce you to his bobble head lookalike and don’t worry, the Dad Jokes are free! Josh is a huge lover of Formula One, stand-up comedy, his family & friends and of course his dog Enzo. On weekends you can find him contemplating the gym but more likely working on restoring Floyd – his 1963 Mini.

Neil Caldow

Burleigh’s new resident foodie comes to ACE with 27 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. Neil made the switch to the RTO sector just under a decade ago, searching for a better work/life balance while still mentoring future chefs. He began as a commercial cookery trainer before moving onto management roles and is now looking forward to a new chapter with ACE.

Training has always been a passion, whether it be personal development, training apprentices in his kitchens or in college setting. “What excites me is delivering quality training to students, but more importantly the joy of them receiving a certificate after putting in the hard yards”. A proud Gold Coast resident for 18 years, Neil is thrilled to support the growth of the Burleigh campus and encourage the community to change their world one step at a time.

Andrew Tucker
Director - Lismore

Andrew has extensive experience in senior leadership roles across a range of corporate and community sectors. Born and raised in the Northern Rivers, he feels strongly about contributing back to the local community in which he lives, holding positions in various boards and committees including NSW Business Chamber, Northern Rivers Co-operatives Alliance, Lismore City Council, Northern Rivers Golf Club + more. “These experiences have enriched my understanding of the local region and how to serve the diverse needs of individuals within it.”

Allan Ellis
Director - Lismore

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.

Cheryl Amor
Director - Lismore

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.

You're in good hands

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.

03 / where we are

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Lismore, NSW | View map

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Burleigh Waters, QLD | View map

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Murwillumbah, NSW | View map

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