Open Colleges
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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 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.

Jaco Jonker

Chief Operating Officer & CFO

Jaco is a multifaceted leader having held executive positions across various industries.   

With a career spanning over 19 years of financial expertise, Jaco has worked in the capacity of CFO, CEO and now as Executive General Manager at Open Colleges.   

Jaco spent 10 years at South Africa’s leading e-commerce marketplace ‘’, where he was responsible for the overall management, growth and strategic direction of the business. He was also responsible for identifying and executing on opportunities for investment in start-ups and other complementary technology businesses, including a very successful online payments aggregator. He has also worked in financial roles at Rectron Pty Ltd as the group financial director and gained 4 years of auditing experience at Deloitte in South Africa and the USA. 

As a CFA charter holder and Chartered Accountant, he has a wealth of experience in auditing, financial reporting, budgeting, forecasting, modelling, valuations, management and strategic planning.    

Jaco has gained skills across various countries, including South Africa, USA, UK and Australia. He has served on several boards of directors and executive committees spanning several industries including, distribution, online marketplaces and online payment aggregators.  

His qualifications include: 

  • Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Accounting & Finance from the University of Johannesburg.  
  • Member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) 
  • Member of CFA Institute  

Alexis Watt

Executive General Manager Growth, Partnerships & Govt Relations & CEO School of Health​

As CEO of Open Colleges Services, Alexis engages with a wide variety of organisations including Universities, non-University Higher Education Providers TAFEs, independent RTOs, employment and labour market agencies, and governments. Working closely with partners across this network, Alexis and his team apply technology to education, developing and delivering innovative solutions to meet the needs of students, workers, institutions and governments.

Alexis holds a number of appointments to State and Commonwealth government commissions and with steering groups involved in developing tertiary education and workforce skills for domestic and international students. His role covers policy, funding, innovation and reform and he strives to continuously improve the experience of tertiary education to better support lifelong learning, career development, and personal and economic productivity.

Alexis has managed multiple national and local programs with State and Commonwealth governments, working on international student pathways from South East Asia, India, Nepal and Kenya. He has also worked on large scale projects in aged care, community care and health industries. 

As a Board member and Deputy Chair (VET) of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia, the national peak body for private education and training, Alexis has unique insights into national policy for the VET sector, including funding, regulation, quality assurance and reform.

Erik van Eekelen

Executive General Manager - EduTech

With over 15 years of international experience in online retail, logistics, fintech, greentech and online education, Erik is an experienced leader in Product, Technology and Innovation.

Prior to starting at Open Colleges, Erik worked in positions as CTO, CIO, Head of Product, and Head of Business Transformation for a variety of organisations, including the largest online retailer in The Netherlands (, the most advanced European start-up in the field of distributed (green) energy management for Electric Vehicles, and a number of successful consultancies.

During his last period in Australia, Erik was the CIO of Open Universities Australia, in which his responsibilities included the fast-tracked development of the first Australian MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform with over 1 million students across 2.5 years.

Erik holds a Masters in Artificial Intelligence, with a minor a Business Economics from the University of Amsterdam and is an accredited facilitator and trainer in several agile, lean and innovation methodologies. Erik is a regular international public speaker with a number of keynote appearances over the years including European Commission Event (Dublin), DreamForce Conference (San Francisco) and CXO Disrupt (Brisbane), just to name a few.

At Open Colleges, Erik leads the Education Technology teams responsible for the digital learning experience of the student and all system development. This includes the areas of product management, software development and configuration, and learning experience.

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