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Our People

Our People

Open Colleges is built on team engagement, passion and diversity and our people are focused on a commitment to improving the standard of education opportunities available to adult learners in Australia.

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/ Our People

Our Leadership Team

The culture of Open Colleges is founded on over a century of commitment to high standards, accessibility, affordability and real engagement between students, trainers, support staff and management, as well as dedicated faculty direction.

Our people are here because they have all been students at some time, and are now top professionals in their field, committed to providing you with the best student and stakeholder experience possible.

Nic Cola

Managing Director

Nic Cola is Managing Director of Open Colleges and has extensive experience in digital media and e-commerce businesses.

Prior to joining, Nic held a number of senior management positions at Fairfax Media, including CEO of Fairfax Media’s Marketplaces division in which he had responsibility for a number of iconic digital assets, including Drive, Domain, RSVP and Stayz. Prior to this, Nic was COO of the Fairfax Digital, which included the online sites of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and in that capacity played a significant role in leading revenue and profit growth.

He has also consulted on digital strategy for a number of clients in Australia, South East Asia and Europe.

Nic has served on a number of boards including the Stayz Group, the Australian Multimedia Industry Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Australia where he was a founding board member and Chairman. 

Kevin Lynch

Chief Operations Officer

Kevin is the Chief Operating Officer of Open Colleges, where he leads a passionate, motivated and world-class group of professionals across marketing, sales, technology, education, student experience and analytics. 

Kevin was one of the founding executives of Open Colleges Group and has extensive experience in building and growing successful education businesses in the for-profit, private education sector across Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Open Colleges, Kevin was one of the early stage executives of Think Education Group, where he built the marketing function into a high performing team, driving high enrolment growth, while always focused on delivering exceptional student outcomes.

Prior to joining Think, Kevin was the Chief Marketing Officer for Australia’s leading provider of online and distance education, Thomson Education, part of Thomson Reuters Group, that later re-branded to Cengage Education and in 2010, became known as Open Colleges Group.

He has also held a number for senior marketing positions at Unilever and Enterprise Ireland, the trade development board of the Irish government.

Kevin has a Masters (Msc) in Marketing (Honours) degree from the University College Dublin and a Bachelor of Business (Honours) degree majoring in Marketing and Law from the University of Limerick.

Simon Hitchick

Chief Learning Officer

Simon’s role is accountable for the quality of the learning experience at Open Colleges. Previously, Simon provided specialist consultation services to Registered Training Organisations drawing on his extensive VET sector experience.

With over ten years’ experience in the VET sector, Simon started his career as a Workplace trainer/assessor and progressed to senior management positions in several private RTOs, including St John Ambulance Australia.

Simon has also facilitated professional development programs for industry bodies including the Australian Council for Private Education and Training and VELG Training, as the General Manager of Australia’s National Audit and Registration Agency.

During his four years with TVET Australia, Simon played a key role in the development of NARA’s regulatory approach and represented the organisation on a range of policy issues, national projects and reviews.

Vincent Creighton

General Manager of Education

Vincent has a demonstrable track record in creation, development, turnaround and evolution of education businesses/products and services in on-campus, blended and online delivery modes. Prior to joining Open Colleges, Vincent was the General Manager of Open Training Institute.

Previously, he held two directorial positions at Open Universities Australia; Director of Vocational Education & Training and Director of Partnerships & Acquisition.

Prior to this, Vincent was the Principal Executive Officer and RTO Director of Kaplan International Colleges, a division of Kaplan Inc.

Vincent is an advocate of lifelong learning and holds a Master of Business Administration (Executive) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, a Master of Education (Adult Education) and Bachelor of Education in Adult Education (Vocational Education) from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Philip Kilic

Head of International

Philip’s experience in the private education and training industry spans over 19 years.

He previously held the position of Regional Director of SAE Global (Asian Operations) where he founded SAE’s franchising and licensing division and was integrally involved in the company’s rapid expansion of its Asian regional college portfolio.

In addition, Philip served as key advisor to the board of Access Atlantech – one of India’s largest technology education groups.

Prior to joining Open Colleges, Philip held the position of Sales and Marketing Consultant to various private education organisations and worked as the Group Sales Director at Think: Education Group.

Sandra Griffith

Head of Product Development

Shekher Kishore

Head of Policy, Regulation and Audit

Shekher is responsible for the implementation of all quality standards across the organisation. He manages engagement with various stakeholders in the VET industry and relationships with the regulatory authorities.

Shekher has over two decades of collective experience of working in the hospitality industry and the VET sector. Qualified in the areas of hospitality and management, he progressed from the role of trainer and assessor to being the head of RTOs. 

With a deep understanding of the VET sector, the broader obligatory requirements and all aspects of operations management of an RTO, Shekher works with all divisions to ensure all quality standards are adhered to at all times.

Jason Roberts

Head of Portfolio, Business Administration and Management

Jason has over ten years’ experience in the VET sector, starting out as a trainer and progressing through to several management roles across various private RTO’s.

His strengths include quality management systems, operational management and project management. A wealth of experience in management and business across multiple industry sectors resulted in Jason running his own consulting business prior to joining Open Colleges.

Jason is a member of various industry bodies and on occasion can be seen presenting at some of their conferences.

Andrew Hill

Head of Portfolio, Beauty, Health and Fitness

Andrew has broad experience in instructing and coaching learners and sports people, and has also spent significant amounts of time instructing with TAFE NSW, the University of New South Wales, the NSW Police Force and the NSW Department of Education. Most recently, Andrew has worked as a Consultant to Triathlon Australia in reviewing their coaching courses and developing a digital coach education strategy.

A previous Director of Competition at Bondi Surf Bathers Life Saving Club, Andrew was responsible for coach and athlete management and competition performance across all six competition sections within the club.  He is the co-author of the highly successful The Essential Guide to Fitness for the Fitness Trainer which is a primary text for fitness and sports trainers used in many VET institutions across Australia.

Karin Rule

Head of Portfolio, Community Services

Karin is responsible for leading and managing teams of Program Managers, Trainers and Assessors who have a variety of qualifications as well as industry and vocational currency and experience.

Karin has extensive qualifications, including a Masters of Business Administration, Bachelor of Social Science, Enrolled Nursing, Graduate Diploma of Vocation Education and Training and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

With a passion for education and learning Karin’s focus is on improving the student experience and ensuring job-ready graduates.

Peter De Deckker

Head of Portfolio, Creative industries and Horticulture

Peter has practiced as a Design Architect, both corporately and as a private practitioner, realising many architectural projects in Europe and in Australia. He has dedicated the last 20 years to vocational design education at tertiary, undergraduate and postgraduate levels, with a special emphasis on broadening collaborative links with institutions worldwide.

Prior to joining Open Colleges, Peter was Dean of the Faculty of Design at the Canberra Institute of Technology from 2004 until 2010 and was the Associate Dean International and Head of the School of Design at the University of Canberra from 2010 until 2013. Peter is a respected advocate and sponsor of the local and national art and design fraternity and is an active member of many professional organisations. 

Kim Ticehurst

Head of Portfolio, Veterinary Sciences and Animals Care, Trades and Information Technology

Upon graduating from Sydney University, Kim worked in mixed practice for a short time before returning to Sydney University to complete a postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Anaesthesia.

After working at the university for a number of years, Kim left to start a family and began working with TAFE, discovering a lifelong interest in competency-based education.

In 2001, Kim returned to Sydney University and worked in the anaesthesia department, becoming the Head of Anaesthesia in 2006 and Clinic Director in 2012.

Kim Joined Open Colleges in 2013 as a Learning and Assessment Manager and became Head of Portfolio in 2015.

Jeanette Sticker

Head of Portfolio, Education

Jeanette started her career in the VET sector after an extensive career in primary school teaching. She holds a Diploma in Community Services Coordination, Certificate IV in Frontline Management and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Jeanette was a face-to-face and online Trainer and Assessor before progressing to become a National Training Manager, responsible for qualifications and Trainers in Education training packages.

As Head of Portfolio she works closely with industry representatives from the Education sector to develop programs to suit training needs.

Bill Lovegrove

Chair

Emeritus Professor Lovegrove was the Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) from 2003 until retiring as USQ’s longest serving Vice-Chancellor in December 2011.

Prior to his appointment at USQ, Emeritus Professor Lovegrove was Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Internationalisation and Commercialisation) at Griffith University. He also held senior positions at the University of Wollongong after commencing his academic career at the University of Tasmania. Throughout his career Emeritus Professor Lovegrove developed an international research profile in the area of visual information processing and dyslexia.

Emeritus Professor Lovegrove’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts, First Class Honors and PhD in Psychology through the University of Queensland. He also completed an Advanced Executive Program at the Kellogg School of Business of North Western University in the United States.

He has extensive committee and Board experience having represented Universities Australia on the Universities Grants Committee of the University of the South Pacific, the Board of the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA), the Board of Australian University Sport and chaired the Board of Graduate Careers Australia. He has also been a member of the board of a number of CRCs and is currently the Chair of the Study Queensland Industry Council and the Board of the Smart Water Research Centre.

Anthony Bohm

Anthony has extensive experience in the private education sector, having worked in senior executive positions in Australia and the UK.

Prior to this, Anthony was co-founder and CEO Operations for Think: Education Group – one of Australia’s leading providers of campus-based education and training. Anthony also held senior executive positions with Kaplan Inc. (New York, London and Sydney) and IDP Education Australia (Sydney). Anthony has a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) with Merit and is co-author of a number of seminal research publications in the area of international education.

Anthony was a member of the NSW Vocational Education & Training Accreditation Board (VETAB) and has previously been a member of the NSW State Committee of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET). He was also a member of the NSW Tertiary Pathways Review Committee of the NSW Department of Education & Communities.

Shirley Stokes

Ms Stokes has more than 15 years’ experience relating to the performance of education organisations. This experience encompasses assessment of private higher education colleges for registration and accreditation, assessing vocational colleges for compliance with standards, and reviewing government schools in New South Wales and Victoria with the goal of quality improvement.

Ms Stokes has also researched and published on school improvement and innovation as well as on reporting to parents on school achievement.

Prior to her work in assessing organisation performance, Ms. Stokes was a primary school teacher and also spent seven years training teachers, school executives and principals for the NSW Education Department.

Jim Taylor

Professor Taylor is currently a Professor within the Australian Digital Futures Institute at the University of Southern Queensland.

He is widely acknowledged as a leading researcher in online and open education having published a number of seminal research studies in e-learning, flexible delivery and open courseware.

In 2009, Professor Taylor received the Australian Higher Education Quality Award for his meritorious service to quality advancement in Australian higher education.

Professor Taylor received the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation in 2007 for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for 25 years of sustained leadership in enhancing the quality of open and distance learning in higher education, both in Australia and internationally.

Alan Drimmer

Chief Academic Officer at Apollo Global

Leadership role to promote academic and educational innovation across the Apollo group of education institutions.

Samantha Page

Chief Executive Officer at Early Childhood Australia and Industry Representative.

Advocate for quality, social justice and equity in education and care of children. Extensive experience in the development and implementation of social policy and sector development projects.

Michael Linke

Executive General Manager, Institute of Public Accountants.

Experience in legal compliance of the accounting and finance profession, developing policy guidelines and educational courses that ensure accountants operate within regulatory boundaries set by ASIC and other government agencies.

Suzanne Judge

Representative of Open Colleges’ Trainers and Assessors

Suzanne has worked in many fields within local government from finance, records management, property management, procurement and executive assistance, to the role she has performed for the last decade in integrated and strategic planning. She develops strategic and operational plans and policies, manages projects and engages key stakeholders within the community.

Suzanne has been a Trainer and Assessor in the Business Services Training Package for the last seven years across a number of Registered Training Organisations including Open Colleges, St George TAFE and the NSW Department of Education and Training. She currently serves our Training and Advisory Board as a representative of the Open Colleges’ community of Trainers and Assessors.

Suzanne holds a Bachelor of Business from UTS, a Postgraduate Diploma in Local Government from Charles Sturt University and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.

Ruth Dearnley

Representative of Open Colleges’ Students and Graduates

Ruth is an international social change strategist. She is the Managing Director of Influence Global, an innovative and collaborative consultancy, specialising in social change strategy, design, implementation and measurement.

She has held senior leadership, advocacy and external affairs roles in INGOs and business associations in the UK, Australia and southern Africa. Most recently she spent over 5 years at World Vision Australia, where she managed the public advocacy team and designed and implemented an innovative framework for measuring the influence of advocacy.

Whether advising corporations on the development of CSR plans, building grassroots social movements, delivering elite political lobbying strategies, or training and capacity building small NGOs, her work has focused on the most efficient ways to achieve sustainable social change. Ruth is passionate about promoting the little things that everyone can do to lead us towards a more just world.

Ruth holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology of Development and Social Transformation from the University of Sussex, UK. In 2013 she completed a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment through Open Colleges, adding a formal qualification to her extensive experience in delivering informal training to activists and organisations around the world.

Curtis Uehlein

President, Apollo Global

As President of Apollo Global, Mr. Uehlein is responsible for all operational aspects of its market-leading international business units. In addition, he leads the enterprise’s expansion plans into new markets and has responsibility for all new acquisitions as they join the Apollo Global family. Prior to Apollo Global, Mr. Uehlein was President and COO of Wall Street Institute International. His responsibilities included all operational aspects of this leading English language training company which had business units located in 28 countries worldwide.

Prior to joining WSI, he was CEO of Provant Inc., a training company with 1,500 employees focused on the leadership and professional development market. Previously, Mr. Uehlein had worked for IBM in numerous capacities. His last assignment was General Manager of IBM’s Learning Services Division, a division of IBM Global Services. His responsibilities included executive leadership for the Americas in addition to worldwide responsibility for its E-learning initiatives.

Mr. Uehlein received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Shippensburg University. He current is a Board member and Vice Chairman of the Lakes Region United Way.

Mehul Patel

Chief Operating Officer, Apollo Global

As Chief Operating Officer, Mehul has responsibility for driving the expansion of Apollo Global into the Asia, Middle East, and Africa geographies. In this role, he oversees Apollo Global's business in these regions. Mehul also oversees the company's central operations and services functions including Technology, Marketing, Enrolment, Academic Affairs, and Program Management.

Mehul joined Apollo Global from Kaplan, Inc., where he was President of the Kaplan Professional Publishing and Kaplan Professional Schools divisions. Prior to joining Kaplan, Mehul served in various leadership positions with Thomson Learning (now Cengage Learning) and served as the leader of the company's engagement with its largest client, General Motors.

Mehul began his career with the Leo Burnett Company, one of the world's largest marketing and advertising firms. During his tenure with the agency, Mehul worked with blue-chip clients such as Kellogg and Hallmark to develop and implement award-winning marketing strategies and advertising campaigns.

Mehul received his BS in Advertising with concentration in Business Administration from the University of Illinois. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Great Books Foundation.

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