Home | About us

About us

Challenger Institute of Technology and Polytechnic West now form South Metropolitan TAFE, creating one of Western Australia’s most diverse training providers with major campuses in Bentley, Carlisle, Fremantle, Murdoch, Rockingham, Thornlie and Mandurah.

South Metropolitan TAFE offers more than 500 qualifications, from foundation courses and apprenticeships to associate degrees, with over 39,000 students across its campuses.

Our purpose

"We provide students with skills to enable employment and career development"

We do this by:

  • Providing students with high quality training services that prepare them for pathways to employment.
  • Providing students with pathways to further education and training opportunities that can launch and extend their careers.
  • Helping industry and our employers grow and create the workforce of the future.
  • Strengthening our communities by enabling life long learning opportunities for all.

Our vision

"By 2020 SM TAFE will be recognised as a national leader in providing skills for employment and career development."

  • Our vision ensures we aspire to create futures for individuals - through preparing them for jobs or supporting further learning to develop their careers.
  • By creating future workforces for industry and employers - through helping them employ skilled staff or upskill their existing workforce.
  • And by creating strong futures for our communities.

Find out more about us in the below sections:

Governing Council

South Metropolitan TAFE’s Governing Council plays an immensely important role as the governing body of the college, with its role to oversee operations, affairs and drive strategic direction. 

South Metro TAFE’s Governing Council is comprised of a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Managing Director, and ten other members appointed by the Minister for Training and Workforce Development. Each Council member has been selected for their experience and expertise in education, training, industry or community affairs, and for their ability to contribute to the strategic direction of the Institute.

Members are appointed for a three year term, and at the end of their term are eligible for re-appointment.

Queries regarding South Metro TAFE’s Governing Council should be directed to Ms Daisy Vogels via email at Daisy.Vogels@smtafe.wa.edu.au.

Current Governing Council Members

Elizabeth CarrbillLouden.jpg


Elizabeth Carr was appointed Chair of the Governing Council of Challenger Institute of Technology on 1 July 2015. Her background incorporates both the private and public sectors. She has worked in senior executive positions for IBM and Macquarie Group and within senior levels of politics and government in NSW, WA, PNG and the USA.

Ms Carr is a full time non-executive Director with a broad portfolio covering Government, Private, Education and Not-For-Profit organizations – in both Western Australia and NSW. In addition to South Metropolitan TAFE she chairs St Catherine’s Aged Care Services (NSW), Seton Villa Disabilities (NSW), the Macular Disease Foundation Australia and the Department of Family and Community Services Audit and Risk Committee (NSW).

She is a Member of The Environmental Protection Authority (WA), Director of Insurance & Care (NSW), the Kokoda Track Foundation (National) and St Mary’s Anglican Girls School (WA). She is a pre-qualified member of NSW Government’s Audit & Risk panel and sits of the A&R Committees for Urban Growth Development Corporation (NSW) and Australian Technology Park (NSW). Elizabeth is on the National Councils – as a Western Australian representative - for both the Harvard Club of Australia and The Funding Network.

Ms Carr holds a BA (Hons) from UWA, a Master's Degree from Harvard University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.​​


arshad_omari.jpgProfessor David Wood

Deputy Chair

David is a retired academic having spent much of his professional life at Curtin University where he was Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Humanities and also held a number of other positions in the Faculty of Humanities and the School of Built Environment.  His academic discipline is Urban and Regional Planning and he has led numerous research projects in this area, most recently leading CSIRO collaboration clusters which join university and CSIRO scientists to address real world problems; in this case in Australia’s coastal zone.

Between 2004 and 2010, David served on a number of State Boards including the Coastal Planning and Coordination Council and Ningaloo Sustainable Development Committee, both of which he Chaired, and the Western Australian Planning Commission and the Heritage Council of Western Australia.

David’s earlier careers were in local government where he was Coordinator of the Arthur Head Bicentennial Project and Museums where he was Joint Head of the Department of Conservation and Restoration and Curator of Restoration at the Western Australian Maritime Museum.

David Wood has a Bachelor of Arts (Monash) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning and Doctorate from Curtin University.


mara_west.jpgStephen Cain

Mr Cain is Chief Executive Officer of the City of Cockburn. Over the past 20 years he has held senior management positions in the private and public sectors. He served for 35 years as an officer in the Australian Army (Regular and Reserve Forces) and is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon.
He continues to serve in the Reserve Forces and holds the rank of Brigadier. Mr Cain is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics and member of the Australian Defence Forces Trust (Governance Committee).




graham_droppert.pngChristine Coyne

Christine Coyne has been providing Specialist Aboriginal Engagement and Training Services over a career spanning 32 years. In recent years Christine has been running her own Consultancy business – Christine Coyne & Associates and works with a range of clients involved in major construction projects, mining, infrastructure and a broad range of industry sectors and groups. 

Christine is recognised as specialist in this area. During the past 22 years Christine has worked within the private sector for some of the country’s major employers including Woodside Energy Ltd, FMG, Foster Wheeler Worley Parsons, Compass Group Australia and Chamber of Commerce & Industry.  Prior to this Christine spent ten years working in the Policy Development and Training for Aboriginal Programs area for the Federal Government.

As well  as providing Specialist Aboriginal Engagement Services and managing a range of Aboriginal Employment Projects, Christine has been involved in the development and delivery of Aboriginal Cultural Awareness, Mentoring Workshops and other customised training programs. 

PeterHouse.jpgPeter House

Peter House is the WA and SA Consumer Sales Manager for Caltex Australia. He is formerly a board member of West Coast Institute, and currently sits on the board of Breast Cancer Care WA. He is involved in a number of not-for-profit organisations, including the Make a Wish Foundation, Cancer Council and the Clontarf Mentoring Program. He is a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 




joanne_farrell.jpgFiona Lander

She is currently the Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs & Organisation Development, Perth Airport Pty Ltd and is responsible for stakeholder relationships, communications and issues management, human resources and information technology.

Prior to joining Perth Airport, Ms Lander held senior roles in the State and Commonwealth Government for 15 years.

Ms Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts (Social Science), an Executive Master in Public Administration and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a Director of the Fremantle Port Authority, Vice President of Meerilinga Young Children’s Foundation and Director of Youth Focus.


marina_hogan.jpgProfessor Julie Quinlivan

Professor Julie Quinlivan (MBBS FRANZCOG PHD MAICD) is a medical specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology.
She is Chair of the Clinical Senate of Western Australia, Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of Australia, Interim Board Member of the South Metropolitan Health Service, an Ambassador for the Brave Foundation (NFP), Editorial Board member of the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and former Deputy Chair of West Coast Institute of Training.  
She is a former Pro Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean of Medicine and Dean of Health.

She has co-authored over 230 books, book chapters, research papers, government reports and conference presentations covering teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, women's health, parenting and health services management. 


MichelleHoad.jpgNiegel Grazia

Niegel is an external affairs and general management professional with demonstrated leadership, communication, advocacy, strategic thinking and problem solving skills.

His work experience includes 21 years in the oil and gas industry, including 16 years at Woodside in project based and corporate external affairs roles and 5 years as the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s representative in Western Australia. 

Prior to joining the oil and gas industry he held public policy roles with the Western Australian Government’s Kimberley Development Commission and the Department of Premier and Cabinet (and other agencies). This included 7 years on the staff of ministers across the local government, mines, energy and emergency services portfolios. Earlier roles were in records, human resources and finance positions.

Niegel has led the Corporate Affairs function in an ASX top 20 company and is experienced in joint venture governance and operations. He has undertaken residential postings in Western Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions and engaged with communities, NGOs, the media and governments in relation to complex development projects and regulatory matters in Australia and overseas. This includes oversight of the statutory approval requirements of the Pluto LNG Project.

He has also led engagement with regulatory authorities and traditional owners on land access and heritage matters and native title agreement implementation.

Niegel is currently serving as a member of the South Metropolitan TAFE Governing Council and is Chair of its Finance, Risk and Audit Management Committee. Previous appointments include Chair of the Kimberley Training Institute, Member of the Board of the Pilbara Development Commission and Member of the State Planning Commission’s Kimberley Planning Committee.

Niegel holds a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University. 


The campuses that now form South Metropolitan TAFE have been involved in numerous name changes and merges with other colleges under the direction of the WA State Government for nearly 120 years.

Prior to 1900, technical education in WA was sporadic and mostly supported through Mechanics and Miners Institutes. However, Challenger Institute’s technical education record in Fremantle had its beginnings in 1898 when evening classes were conducted at Fremantle Boys School. These took place in the FTI building in Adelaide Terrace. Challenger’s subsequent incarnation was as the Fremantle Technical School. The inaugural class of 1900 comprised 116 male students taking evening classes in the South Terrace building that is still used today as a campus and administrative office.

In Perth’s East however, Midland College of TAFE was first known as Midland Junction Technical School and established in 1904. An advertisement in The Swan Express dated 15 February 1929 promoted “Sound tuition is given in commercial, domestic, trade and art subjects” and encouraged parents to enrol students aiming towards apprenticeships in “mechanical drawing, mechanics and mathematics classes.”

The decades to 1996 saw the now-defunct Challenger Institute established after many years of name changes, operating at various times as South Metropolitan Technical College, South Metropolitan College of TAFE and Challenger TAFE, while Swan TAFE came into being in January of 2003 following a merger of Midland College of TAFE, South East Metropolitan College of TAFE and the Balga Campus of West Coast College of TAFE.

The formation in 2009 of a new West Australian training department resulted in the launch of a state government training blueprint, Training WA. Integral to this report was the call for public training organisations to become more autonomous, with the government giving TAFE colleges greater scope for flexibility and innovation. As a result of this change, the name Challenger Institute of Technology was formally adopted on 15 December 2009 while Swan TAFE became Polytechnic West.

In February 2016, a new reform of TAFE in WA resulted in further merges, seeing Challenger Institute of Technology and Polytechnic West campuses become one under the umbrella of South Metropolitan TAFE. 

In January 2017, the final transition from that reform resulted in Balga and Midland campuses moving to the operations of North Metropolitan TAFE.


Please click on the relevant link to access South Metropolitan TAFE publications.

Annual Reports

In May 2016, the WA State Government reformed TAFE in WA, merging Challenger Institute of Technology and Polytechnic West Institute into South Metropolitan TAFE. As a result, the new organisation has not completed a year in which to report annual activities. Check back soon for annual reports. For more information about the merger, visit our blog

Strategic Plans

The next Strategic Plan for South Metropolitan TAFE (to 2020) is currently in review by the Minister Training and Workforce Development and will be available here soon.

Quality Indicator Reports

South Metropolitan TAFE is committed to providing quality training and support services in a flexible and responsive manner. Our programs and courses are planned and delivered to match the identified needs of our customers and stakeholders, including students, employers, government and the wider community.

As a Pre-Qualified Supplier South Metropolitan TAFE is obligated to publish a summary of findings from the latest audit. You can access the report by downloading it below.

Audit Report Challenger Institute 2013

Page last updated February 24, 2017