Work-Integrated Learning during the Pandemic and Beyond

Despite the ongoing disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to ensure graduates entering the Professions in the future are work ready. While many innovative ways of providing WIL have been developed, more efforts are required to achieve best practices in student placements.

At the same time, the National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF), introduced under the Australian Government Job-Ready Graduates package, requires universities to increase both the quantity and quality of work-integrated learning opportunities to ensure work ready graduates. How will universities achieve that? How will industry be able to provide essential workplace experiences in a COVID world? What role could professional associations play in fostering university – industry collaboration?

The many participants in our “Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) during the Pandemic – The Good, The Bad, The Innovative” Roundtable on 9th November 2021 felt it was a timely and very useful exploration of this important component of educating professionals of the future. While several innovative ways of providing WIL have been developed, more efforts are required to achieve best practices in student placements.

Hosted by ACoP Board Director and Education, Accreditation, Micro-Credentials and Employability portfolio co-chair Simon Hann, the Round Table explored a number of topics that have arisen in nearly two years of higher education teaching, learning, assessment and placements during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.  In May of last year, we had facilitated a Joint Statement by the entire Australian higher education sector of agreed principles for adapting to the pandemic.

The Roundtable experts were:

Prof Peter Dawkins – Mitchell Institute for Education and Health Policy, Victoria University
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Peter is leading the Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching & Learning with former RMIT V-C Professor Martin Bean.

Harold Lomas BA –  A/g Assistant Secretary, Dept. of Education, Skills and Employability

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Paolo Damante MDIT BA –  Senior  Policy Officer, Australian Industry Group (AIG)

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Karena Maguire MSc. BBS FCMA – Head of Stakeholder Engagement and Communications, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

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Mairéad Boland LLB LLM – Quality Assurance Manager, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

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Topics discussed included:

  • How can collaboration between industry and universities be increased to make the 2015 ‘National Strategy on Work Integrated Learning in University Education‘ a reality?
  • What is the gold standard for University – Industry Collaboration?
  • What challenges will need to be overcome?
  • What are some of the innovative ways universities and industry have delivered WIL (particularly placements) in a COVID environment?
  • How could professional associations support work integrated learning and university – industry collaboration?

The Round Table participants examined the challenges impacting University–Industry Collaboration, what ‘Good’ University–Industry Collaboration looks like and how it interacts with the Australian Government’s Review of University-Industry Collaboration in Teaching & Learning.  There was universal consensus about the need to ensure stronger university-industry collaboration, particularly as young people are struggling with the transition to skilled employment.

AIG senior  policy officer Paolo Damante outlined industry expectations and session participants expressed their firm belief that higher education needs to meet lifelong learning needs by engaging more meaningfully with industry as skills shortages continues to affect our employment landscape.  The participants also spoke of greater collaboration between Higher Education and VET as a necessity if the industry is to succeed and inducements are also considered vital to increase WIL opportunities.

DESE’s acting Assistant Secretary Harold Lomas provided the background to the Australian Government’s National Priorities and Industry Linkage Fund (NPILF) <link> and outlined its purpose and progress to date as well as the themes identified from the pilot plans universities have submitted and the role of NPILF going forward.

Karena Maguire and Mairead Boland from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) shared Ireland’s response to the impact of COVID on providing work placements. Our Round Table participants then explored some of the innovative ways universities and industry have delivered WIL placements in a COVID environment and the lessons Australia could learn from Ireland’s experience.

The Round Table concluded with the identification of a number of useful models, resources and possible solutions to address the issues raised and opportunities for professional associations to leverage in order to enhance collaborations between universities and industry.  The Australian Council of Professions will further this further with its Member Organisations in 2022.

We invite professional organisations who are not members of ACoP to join our alliance as we work collectively to uphold the integrity of work-integrated learning and the importance of collaboration between higher education and industry. For more details, ring 1300 664 587 or contact

Forum for Climate Action

With our Member Organisations endorsing the global Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter, the Australian Council of Professions is facilitating an initiative to assist other professional organisations exploring ways they too can help secure a sustainable future. The Australian / New Zealand ‘Forum for Climate Action’ enables sharing and harnessing of joint expertise and climate-relevant resources to enhance the capabilities of professional organisations to practice sustainability.

The purposes of the Forum include:

  • exploring and progressing organisations becoming a Supporter or Signatory to the Charter
  • sharing ideas, information and knowledge that will provide value to those who are Supporters or Signatories to the Charter

Collaboratively, the Forum intend to harness and share expertise and climate-relevant resources to enhance the capability to practice sustainability, including a timeline for achieving this and identifying the help and collaboration needed from within our partnerships to achieve this.

The Forum is convened by ACoP Board Member Simon Hann. The inaugural Forum co-chairs are:

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If you would like more information, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

Professional Organisations support the Climate Charter!

With the discourse on “Net Zero by 2050” and similar goals running hot, we have explored the possibilities of professional associations in Australia and New Zealand expressing their support for progressing the goals of the Paris Agreement.

To gauge support for a joint activity within the context of the Glasgow COP 26 meeting, we held a Round-Table on 27 October 2021 at which the following topics were discussed:

  • Why a Climate Action Charter’?
  • An overview of the Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter.
  • What does the ‘Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter‘ mean?
  • What are the goals of the ‘Professional Bodies Climate Action Charter’?
  • Who is supporting the Charter?
  • ‘Supporter’ vs ‘Adopter’ – what is the difference?
  • Benefits of being a Supporter/Adopter: sharing of Climate Actions Plans, CPD/CPE resources, collaborations, advocacy, etc.
  • Emerging international, national and state climate law & policies, benefits vs risks of collaborating vs not collaborating
  • Next steps…

Following the Round-Table meeting, our Member Organisations endorsed that ACoP sign the Charter as a Supporter, therefore agreeing with its aims, stepping up to help secure a sustainable future and providing leadership, up-to-date technical & ethical guidance and advocacy for their work & that of the professions.

Based on this consensus, the ACoP Board unanimously passed a motion that ACoP sign the Charter as a Supporter, provide thought leadership to the professional associations community in Australia and NZ, set up a ‘Professional Bodies Forum for Climate Action‘ and move to Charter Adopter status as soon as practicable.

The purposes of the Forum include:

  • exploring and progressing organisations becoming a Supporter or Signatory to the Charter
  • sharing ideas, information and knowledge that will provide value to those who are Supporters or Signatories to the Charter

Collaboratively, we intend to harness and share our joint expertise and climate-relevant resources to enhance their capabilities to practice sustainability, including a timeline for achieving this and identifying the help and collaboration needed from within our partnerships to achieve this.

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Email address:
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Many other senior organisations have also expressed their support for ‘Net Zero’ policies and commitments:


78% of Australian voters say they support a net zero emissions target by 2050, 70% agree that ‘Australia should join other countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States, … to address climate change‘ and 67% believe the government should be doing more to address climate change.  Interestingly, this view is held in all 151 electorates, so across the entire country.

If you would like more information, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

Neurodiversity in the Professions

Neurodiversity may be every bit as crucial for the human race as biodiversity is for life in general. Who can say what form of wiring will prove best at any given moment?” wrote Harvey Blume in The Atlantic in 1998. Over 20 years later, have we progressed much in leveraging neurologically diverse talent to increase productivity and/or address skills shortages in the professions?

If you want to find out all about ‘neurodiversity’, please join us for a panel discussion on 21 September 2021.

Our expert panel will discuss with you:

  • What is “neurodiversity”?
  • The evidence, what does it tell us?
  • What are the barriers to neurodiversity?
  • How can neurodiverse individuals be the answer to talent scarcity and skills shortages in your profession?
  • Are some professions more predisposed to a neurologically diverse workforce?
  • What opportunities can your organisation leverage to increase productivity by engaging with neurologically diverse talent?

The expert panel will explore these issues with you though the lens of their personal experiences, outline insights from evidence-based data and discuss with you the practical aspects and best practices of recognising and leveraging diverse talent to increase productivity and/or address skills shortages in your profession.

The Panelists are:

Angelina Pillai – ACoP Head of Diversity, Culture and Inclusion

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Mark Solonsch – Head of Insights at Medibank, President of Believe:NeuroDiversity, former Board member of Aspergers Victoria

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David Smith – Autism and neurodiversity employment specialist and advocate, founder of Employ for Ability

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Dr Simon Bury – Postdoctoral research fellow, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC)

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Dr Jennifer Spoor – Deputy director, MBA Program, La Trobe Business School

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For more information on this Round-Table, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

Ethical Concerns on Artificial Intelligence

The game-changing promises of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to do things more efficiently, faster and at a lower cost have recently been tempered by concerns. Can these complex, opaque AI systems do more societal harm than economic good?

Artificial Intelligence systems that neglect humans as a core design principle have the potential to challenge ethical decision-making for professionals across all sectors.  We only need to look at the notorious Robodebt debacle, the discourse about Facebook, YouTube, Google, etc. algorithms serving and featuring unsubstantiated COVID-19 information and Queensland Health’s payroll failures in 2010 to become concerned.

Our expert Round-Table on 28 September will explore these aspects and how the ‘Professional in the Loop‘ can offer a safeguard.

Our experts are:

Dr Simon Eassom – ex CPA Australia and ACoP Director

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Prof. Kerryn Butler-Henderson – Director & Researcher Digital Health, RMIT

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Prof. Peter Leonard B.Ec.(Hons) LLM – NSW Govt AI Advisory Committee

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Philip Argy BCom LLB FACS FRI MAICD – Arbitrator, Mediator, Expert Determiner and Barrister

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Dr Julie Strous BVSc PDM GAICD – ACoP Vice-President and Professionalism & Ethics Portfolio Co-Chair

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Questions our experts will discuss with you at the Round Table include:

  • As a society, what should we tolerate in the face of advancing efficiencies and cost saving in business models?
  • How do machines impact human-human versus human-machine interactions in areas of professional advice?
  • Can we guard against error and who is responsible for error in machine-managed information (e.g. in legal decisions)?
  • How do we protect against unexpected consequences in areas such as medicine and law?
  • How do we guard against unplanned and unintended inbuilt bias?
  • What happens to all the people employed in the professional sector whose jobs become automated?

For more information on this Round-Table, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or

NAIDOC Week 2021: How can Professionals help Heal Country?

Each July, NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The theme for 2021 is a call to ‘Heal Country, Heal our Nation!’ As the unifying alliance for Australian professions, ACoP calls on all professionals to acknowledge the significance of indigenous culture in our national heritage and consider how we can actively contribute to Healing Country.

Understanding the Relationship with Country

To understand the importance of Healing Country, we first need to acknowledge that Country is more than just a place for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Country is inseparable from personal, social and cultural identity, and is spoken about as a person or mother figure which is reflected in the spelling of Country with a capital ‘C’. The infusible connection to Country is deeply ingrained in the language and lore of our Indigenous Peoples.

Unfortunately, even in 2021, this relationship is still not widely understood by other Australians who do not consider land as mother, yet a keen observer can identify elements of our history to start to understand. For example, the landmark Mabo case of 1992 where the High Court of Australia refuted the claim of Australia as terra nullius, an uninhabited and therefore vacant land.

“Mabo and others v Queensland (1992) was one of the first cases I read in law school. It left a lasting imprint in my soul as an international student battling my own issues of identity and where I came from. While I wasn’t personally connected to the story behind the story, nor the experiences that drove the motivation and outcomes of Mabo, it had a powerful impact that still resonates with me on many levels nearly 30 years later.”

Angelina Pillai, ACoP’s Head of Diversity, Culture and Inclusion

The Mabo decision was a turning point for Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. It confirmed their connection to the land on which they had lived and sustained their livelihoods for centuries before colonisation. It also marked a watershed for the actions of several professions including law, politics, history and education.

A further important step was the Apology that turned a new page in our history by acknowledging the wrongs of the past and envisaging a future that includes all Australians. It also imagined a future with new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

What does Healing Country mean?

NAIDOC Week’s call to ‘Heal Country, Heal our Nation’, means taking action to recognise, protect and maintain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. It is also about fundamentally changing Australia’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to:

  • Embrace the values and culture of our First Nations peoples as integral to our national identity
  • Learn from the ancient wisdom our first peoples have evolved over many thousands of years
  • Resolve the historical injustices of the past that have disadvantaged generations

Healing country is NAIDOC’s invitation to all Australians to help repair the damages of historical events and to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to participate equally in all aspects of life.

How can Professionals play their part to Heal Country?

In ACoP’s 50th year we are focussed on the role of professions to drive evidence-based decisions, expertise and thought leadership to navigate the complex and wicked problems facing humankind – many problems of which we may have had a hand in creating.

“I would like to encourage our member organisations and their professionals to heighten their awareness and reflect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and where appropriate use this knowledge to take action to Heal Country. With their expertise, integrity, ethics and trustworthiness, professionals are in a unique position to effect change.” 

ACoP President, Associate Professor Klaus Veil

This could start by stepping outside our western ‘patterned instincts’ – as Jeremy Lant describes in The Patterning Instinct – to learn about indigenous culture and values. It might continue with exploring indigenous knowledge to inform the ethics and practice of Australian professionals. For example, traditional land and bushfire management is increasingly being considered by agricultural professionals, landowners and governments.

Positive change will only come about when professionals show leadership through taking responsibility and accountability by considering all sources of knowledge to solve problems that have endured and permeated our economic, legal and social structures.

If you would like more information, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or Download the NAIDOC 2021 Poster here to help celebrate NAIDOC Week!

Chief Professionalist Round Table

The last 12 months have seen unprecedented challenges for Australia and a driving question has been “Who can we trust?“.  Many professionals have stepped-up to that challenge and shown that science-based, deeply considered expert guidance helps us successfully navigate the threats to our lives and livelihoods.  Our Chief Professionalist Round-Table will start a nuanced conversation about halting the trust-erosion and redefining the authority and value of professional advice.

Prof Deen Sanders OAM

Following repeated requests to elevate professions by seeking to influence the policy and decision making environment in Australia, our Board in mid-2020 commenced planning the “Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism” initiative, which seeks to champion the importance of individuals and governments following the evidence-based advice of professionals in difficult times.  One path to achieving this in a technologically advanced, sophisticated and humane society is to always demonstrate trustworthiness by decision- and policy-making based on science, evidence and ethics.  Professionals who display the highest levels of professionalism supported by their professional associations will ultimately allow our society to honour that trust.

We have now further stepped-up to this challenge with the creation of innovative role of the Chief Professionalist. Our Chief Professionalist Round-Table on 13 May 2021 will enable our members and guests to discuss these challenges with our inaugural ACoP Chief Professionalist Prof Deen Sanders OAM and the experts in our newly-created Office of the Chief Professionalist:

  • Tanya Stephens BVSc MSc (IAWEL) MANZCVS FRCVS – Expert in ethics research, etc.
  • Philip N Argy BCom LLB FACS FRI – Barrister and Expert jn business cases for professionalism and ethics, etc.
  • Angelina Pillai BA (International Politics) Grad Cert (Harvard) FAIM – ACoP Head of Diversity, Culture and Inclusion

The Round-Table will be facilitated by our Head of Professionalism and Ethics Dr Ruth Ferraro PhD Fellow ARPI GAICD.

Our Round-Table breaks new ground through conversations that explore which aspirations and possibilities for halting the trust-erosion and redefining the authority and value of professional advice Deen and the Experts can assist with .” said ACoP President A/Prof Klaus Veil. “We are keen to hear from our Member Organisations the challenges and maybe even ‘pain-points’ that their profession and its professionals have experienced during and coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information on the Chief Professionalist Round-Table, please contact the Office of the Chief Professionalist on 1300 664 587 or at!

Plotting the Journey to Professionalism for English Teachers

ACoP was invited to present at the 2021 Annual Conference of the English Language Teachers organisation NEAS on the profession’s journey to trust and professionalism.

Trust in and regard for teachers as professionals is high but differs across countries and cultures. Teachers of non-English speaking background students are privileged to join doctors and scientists as the third-most-trusted profession. Titled “Teachers of Speakers of Languages other than English – a Journey to Trust and Professionalism“, the presentation will reflect on how the unique professional journeys of leaders, teachers, practitioners, professionals and students nurture, maintain and merit this privileged position with the speakers taking ACoP’s vantage point and remit of advancing Professions, Professionals and Professionalism.

From a perspective of transformation stimulated by intercultural exchange, ACoP’s Head of Professionalism Dr Ruth Ferraro will speak to her personal observations of her own journey towards trust and professionalism and the transformation that she pinpoints as her ‘brightest’ enlightenment through research on professionals and professionalism.

ACoP President A/Prof Klaus Veil will contribute his remarks from the viewpoint of an organisation celebrating its half-a-century anniversary by designating 2021 as the Year of the Professions. Professionals and Professionalism and tasked by its member associations to enhance community confidence in the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism and guide a transformation whose time has come towards science- and evidence-based policy-making.

Presentation details are at

For access to the recording of the Presentation, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or at

Micro-Credential Round Table

The role of micro credentialing within the education ecosystem is increasing significant, yet there continues to be no commonly agreed standard within professional association accreditation practices. Many of our member organisations are grappling with the ways in which they might incorporate accredited micro credential programs into their current and future CPD/CPE offerings and how this might in turn attract advanced standing within the education ecosystem.

In order to promote dialogue around this important concept, ACoP is hosting a Round-Table for its Member Organisations on Thursday 29th April 2021 to hear from leaders discuss and debate:
How will Professional Associations address higher-education micro-credential offerings within their current accreditation standards?

The Round Table program is:

Opening, Introductions, Purpose and Rules of the Round-Table
Dr Ash Jones – Head of ACoP Education and Accreditation Portfolio
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Overview of CA-ANZ’s Professional Accounting Micro-Credentialing Journey
Lisa Thomas – General Manager Learning Initiatives, Chartered Accountants Australia NZ
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Professional Practice Credentials: An outcome-based Assessment Approach
Glenn Campbell – CEO, DeakinCo.
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Reverse-Engineering cross-sector Skills Transferability through Micro-Credentialing Initiatives
Dr Simon Eassom – Executive General Manager Education, CPA Australia
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RMIT Digital Credentials: a Case Study in Building Industry-Relevant Digital Certification for Future-Proofing the Professions
Dr Darien Rossiter – Principal Advisor to the DVC Education, RMIT
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Micro-Credentialing Capability in the ICT Industry
Louise Smith – Director Education & Workforce Development, ACS
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The Engineering Credential Journey to Date
Emmanuelle Wintergerst FIEAust CPEng – National Manager Credentials Development, Engineers Australia
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Open Discussion on the Topic

Next Steps and Close

For more information on this Round-Table, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or