Professionalism Researcher Strengthens ACoP’s Thought Leadership

As we look into further strengthening our thought leadership in 2021, the Australian Council of Professions have engaged a key resource to help us deliver additional services to our members.

We would like to introduce you to Ruth Ferraro PhD Fellow ARPI GAICD who has joined our Office of the CEO.

Ruth’s interest in the phenomenon of professions and professionalism was sparked in the early 2000s where she undertook a “Can we Educate for Professionalism?” project for the emergent financial planning profession. Ruth then undertook PhD research at the Work-based Learning Institute, Middlesex University UK entitled “From the intransitive to the transitive – emerging the Australian tax profession as a profession in its own right” which she intends to utilise in a number of our projects. “With over 25 years in executive roles in education with 20 of those years spent in membership bodies for a wide range of professions: medical sub-specialisation, law, accounting, financial planning I have gained a deep insight into the life-cycle and maturity of professions.” says Ruth.

One of Ruth’s first activities will be to lead the Emerging Professions initiative, which we have created following conversations with existing and prospective members. This input has highlighted that new professions and professionals moving into new areas of practice have created interesting challenges. Ruth’s other activities will be to create and action high-level communications in the domain of professionalism as well as assisting ACoP in its thought leadership and engagement with high-level individuals and organisations.

I am delighted that Ruth has joined us at a time where the purpose, value and maturity of professions has very much moved into the public eye. The emergence of the concepts of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ as well as the healthcare and climate challenges in the last 12 months make the public’s clear understanding of the role and value of professionals, their ethics and professionalism to Australians in difficult time all the more important” said President Klaus Veil.

Read more about Ruth’s background at www.linkedin.com/in/dr-ruth-ferraro-gaicd-aarpi-1074408/

Welcome Ruth!

Geoscience Professionals join Council of Professions

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to welcome the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) as a professional association member, further broadening and strengthening our membership and reach.

The AIG is a dynamic, member-focussed professional institute that represents more than 2,500 professional geoscientists: geologists, geophysicists and other Earth scientists working in industry, government, education and research across Australia.

AIG President Mr Andrew Waltho welcomes AIG being accepted as a member of ACoP.  “The AIG board recognises that geoscience in Australia is not alone in facing a number of challenges in areas including professional accreditation and recognition, maintenance of educational standards both through formal university studies and continued professional development and education (CPD/CPE) and enhancing public confidence in professionals through enforceable standards of professional practice and ethics.” Mr Waltho also said that by joining ACoP, AIG seeks to both bring in an understanding of the professional issues facing Australian geoscience and learn from the experience of other ACoP members in their respective fields of practice.  “Many professional issues facing AIG are not unique to geoscience” Mr Waltho said.

We welcome the geoscience profession to our community of professional associations, they will further broaden the scope of professions that we represent.  Working in the resources sector, geoscientists are an important part of our exporting industries and will play a vital role in Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

Mr Waltho also noted that the current ACoP policy areas of education, accreditation and employability, professionalism and ethics and diversity and inclusion are directly relevant to AIG’s members and central to the future of the geoscience professions in Australia. “We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial and productive relationship through being able to share ideas and experiences with other ACoP members” he said.

Welcome Australian Institute of Geoscientists!

ACoP Appoints new Director

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has appointed Dr Julie Strous as a Director of the Australian Council of Professions. A veterinarian and executive director of the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council, Julie fills the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Catherine Garvey in April.

Prior to her twenty years with the AVBC, Julie worked in veterinary practice and also pursued her interest in natural and agricultural environments by establishing the Methodist Ladies College wilderness campus near Mallacoota.

Julie has been a co-chair of our Professionalism and Ethics Portfolio Committee since 2018.  As a plenary speaker on ethics at the World Organisation for Animal Health 2016 conference in Thailand, Julie outlined the emerging pressures on professionals to put business interests before public interest.  As such, her focus and passion for the ethical conduct of professionals is on-going and will be a well-regarded voice on the ACoP Board. “I am delighted that Julie is joining the Board – in a time of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ our focus and advocacy of evidence-based policy-making has become vital to ensure that Australians survive challenges such as the disastrous bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

A graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Dr Strous has several career strands that come together for her role on the ACoP board: governance, professionalism and achieving change through managing people. “I believe that culture is core in ensuring a board maintains its integrity.  Board members need the curiosity and courage to delve into issues and ask questions whilst maintaining a collaborative team environment.” says Julie, “And in a rapidly changing environment, this enables a Board to effectively respond to the challenges facing professionals and their professionalism.”  Julie’s term runs through to the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

Welcome Julie!

Accreditation Expert joins ACoP Leadership

We are delighted that a further well-regarded leader of a professional accreditation body has joined us in taking our organisation forward in a time when higher education and the accreditation of professional courses is facing ongoing COVID-19 pandemic-related challenges.

We welcome Michael Carpenter BEng(hons) MBA GAICD, CEO of the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, who joins Lynette Harris M.Ed (Director – Navitas Professional), Dr Ash Jones (Head – ACoP Education & Accreditation Portfolio), Dr Nick Tate FACS CP CEng (Chair – ACoP Strategic Advisory Council) and Mark Lowy M.Sc MPM MBA (Imm. Past President – Project Management Institute, Melbourne) as co-opted members of our leadership team, separate to our elected Directors.

Michael joined APAC as its CEO in September 2017.  Prior to that he was the Director of Accreditation at the Australian Dental Council and the Director of Regulation and Review at TEQSA, the Federal Government’s Higher Education Regulator.  He has also worked at the British Psychological Society, in international leadership development and management consulting.

Michael’s valuable expertise will assist the Australian Council of Professions in achieving the strategic goals and projects that our Member organisations have recently re-affirmed us to focus on:


Welcome Michael!

Higher-Education Sector Response to COVID-19

The Australian higher education sector has agreed to take a joint approach to effectively and successfully manage the coronavirus pandemic. In a Joint Statement published today, the sector’s peak bodies outline the principles they believe will meet community expectations for public health and safety while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on higher education teaching, learning, assessment, placement and graduate mobility.

The shared concern of the Australian higher-education sector that effectively managing during the COVID-19 pandemic is key to the well-being of a fair, equitable and prosperous Australia led to the Joint Statement outlining consensus-based principles for adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic in the following areas:

  1. Accreditation Flexibility and maintaining Course Quality
  2. Maintaining Quality during changed Teaching and Learning
  3. Supporting Online Assessments while maintaining Rigour
  4. Mitigating a reduced availability of Professional Placements
  5. Flexibility on (Re-)Registration/Accreditation of Professionals
  6. Maintaining International Accords for Professionals’ Mobility

The Joint Statement authors were also mindful that in managing the post-COVID-19 pandemic situation, the learnings from the many innovative approaches taken should not be lost so that the sector can effectively benefit from the rich substrate of experiences gained during the pandemic.

The following peak bodies are signatories to the Joint Statement:

The Australian Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) was directly engaged with the creation of the Joint Statement. The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) welcomes and supports the creation of a joint statement of principles to guide professional accreditation during the COVID-19 pandemic and will refer to the statement in its own course accreditation activities.

Minister for Education, Skills and Employability Tehan has welcomed our initiative to develop a Joint Statement, in particular at a time when it is important to maximise flexibility and reduce regulatory burden wherever possible. Writing to ACoP, the Minister notes that it is pleasing that we also covered the impact on students regarding the availability of placements, practicums and/or work experience opportunities. The Minister also invites updates and feedback from ACoP on the implementation of the Joint Statement including how Government might be able to assist or address any particular matters of concern.

We understand that Minister Tehan has also written to ~100 accreditation bodies noting our initiative, encouraging adoption of the principles outlined in the Joint Statement and referring to our web site.

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to have found sector-wide support for our initiative to develop the Higher Education COVID-19 Joint Statement” said ACoP President Klaus Veil. “This broad consensus ensures that the education, work experience, graduation, registration and mobility of Australian Professionals is maintained in these difficult times.

The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) is pleased to support this Joint Statement as it highlights the impact of the COVID pandemic on work integrated learning (WIL) and particularly the reduced availability of professional placements” said ACEN President Franziska Trede when announcing their support. “The new solutions emerging due to the pandemic are already evidence of stronger collaborative partnerships between universities, industry and professional accreditation bodies and the advancement of WIL”.

We agree to work in partnership with each other and with government to adapt higher education courses and registration/accreditation to mitigate and minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic while upholding the continuity, integrity and reputation of Australian higher education and recognising its indispensable contribution to Australia’s well-being and prosperity.

Joint Statement of Principles for the Higher Education Sector COVID-19 Response, 5 May 2020

Download the Joint Statement here


If you have questions on the Joint Statement or wish to provide comments and/or feedback, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au.

Increased Collaboration of Professionals and Small Businesses

The Australian Council of Professions and the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia are pleased and excited to announce the creation of a formal partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding.

The two organisations between them serve over one million small businesses through their member organisations. This partnership will provide a much greater reach to the community of small businesses and practices and provides both organisations with access to superior information from which to inform policy and comment.

The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) is the unifying alliance of Professional Associations that represents more than 800,000 Australian professionals including engineers, healthcare and computer professionals, veterinarians and accountants.  A not‐for‐profit organisation, they are acknowledged by the community, industry and government as the Thought Leaders advocating for the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism since 1971. Their members are professional associations and supporting organisations that share the mission of building and maintaining community confidence in all professionals.

The Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) is Australia’s only peak body that exclusively represents the interests of small businesses and consultancies. COSBOA fosters an increased awareness and understanding of the role of the people who are sole traders or run small businesses in Australia and works with all parts of society and the business and policy sectors to achieve that aim. Through its member organisations COSBOA has a reach to over 500,000 small businesses.

Both Councils and their member organisations undertake activities in the areas of advocacy, policy development, education, professional development, information dissemination, communication, resource development and member support.  In the MOU both Councils agree to identify and collaborate on opportunities, initiatives and projects, either existing or planned.

The President of the Australian Council of Professions, A/Prof Klaus Veil FACHI FH7, stated “It is in crisis times like the COVID-19 pandemic that we discover how many things are interconnected.  As we worked more intensively with COSBOA on strategies to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, we realised that many of their members serve a similar constituency as do our professional association members, but from a different angle. So it seemed natural to formalise our collaboration so that both Councils can even more effectively contribute to maintaining and enhancing Australia’s well-being and prosperity.”

The Chairman of COSBOA Mark McKenzie, stated “The connection between all small businesses in Australian communities is a key part of the fabric of our society. The connection between professional and non-professional businesses is an everyday event that must be recognised. Professionals will need a haircut or a hairdo, they’ll need newspapers and magazines, petrol and fuel as well as everyday products and specialist products which they will often obtain from small businesses; and small business people will need expert advice on a whole range of complex matters which is when we go and see an expert, a professional. This partnership is empowering for COSBOA and now gives us a reach to over one million small businesses.

We look forward to working with COSBOA to support the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism in Australia.

Expanding our Leadership

We are delighted that three well-regarded leaders of professional and educational organisations have joined us in taking our organisation forward to be even more widely recognised and influential as the Unifying Alliance of Professional Associations in Australia.

We welcome Julie Strous BVS GAICD (Executive Director – Australasian Veterinary Boards Council), Lynette Harris M.Ed (Director – Navitas Professions) and Mark Lowy M.Sc MPM MBA (Imm. Past President – Project Management Institute, Melbourne) who join Dr Nick Tate FACS CP CEng (Chair – ACoP Strategic Advisory Council) and Dr Ash Jones (Head – ACoP Education & Accreditation Portfolio) as co-opted members of our leadership team, separate to our elected Directors.

They will help steer the Australian Council of Professions to achieve the projects and activities that our Member organisations have requested us to undertake:

Welcome Julie, Lynette and Mark!