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About us

We are one of Western Australia’s most diverse training providers with major campuses in Bentley, Carlisle, Fremantle, Murdoch, Rockingham, Thornlie and Mandurah. 

We offer more than 300 qualifications, from foundation courses to apprenticeships and traineeships, to diplomas and skill sets. We have over 25,000 students across our Perth campuses and more students in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America through partnerships offshore. 

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 lifelong learning opportunities for all. 

Our vision 

"By 2022 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 to employ skilled staff or upskill their existing workforce, 
  • and by creating strong futures for our communities. 

See our annual reports, Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) on our Reports and Publications page. 

Current Governing Council Members 

Elizabeth Carr AM has been the Chair of the Governing Council since its inception in April 2016. Elizabeth is a full-time non-executive director with a board portfolio covering government, private, education and not-for-profit organisations in Western Australia and New South Wales.

Her background incorporates 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, Papua New Guinea and the United States. 

She also chairs St Mary’s Anglican Girls School (WA), St Catherine’s Aged Care Services (NSW) Department of Communities Audit and Risk Committee (WA), and the Murrumbidgee Local Health District Audit and Risk Committee (NSW). She is President of the Harvard Club of Australia, Deputy Chair of the Kokoda Track Foundation (National), a Director of Insurance and Care (NSW), and on the Audit and Risk Committee for Trustees and Guardians (NSW). She is a facilitator for the Australian Institute of Company Directors NFP Programs. Elizabeth holds a BA (Hons) from UWA, a master’s degree from Harvard University and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Deborah Hamblin is the Mayor of the City of Rockingham. Her career has focused on education, working for Murdoch University from 1978 to 2016.  She has promoted the importance of Education in the Region while on Council and has focussed on its value in building a resilient community.

Deb is passionate about the City of Rockingham and was elected in May 2005 as a Councillor, contributing in the role as Deputy Mayor for eight years and was elected by the community as Mayor in 2021.

She value adds to her community as a Board member of Rockingham Senior High School and Warnbro Community College. Mayor Hamblin has been a member of a variety of management boards and is a valuable contributor to SM TAFEs Governing Council. 

In her Council role she has been a Commissioner on the WA Grants Commission, the Vice Chair of the Library Board of Western Australia, a Deputy State Councillor and a member of the Joint Development Assessment Panel.

She is a proud patron of Rockingham Regional Arts and a number of other organisations.

She holds a Bachelor degree from Murdoch University and a post graduate qualification from Curtin University.

Julian Coyne brings entrepreneurship, engineering and technology together. After graduating with honours in Computer & Mathematical Science in 2002 Julian founded his first company Unified - which has since delivered successful technology solutions to major clients including Toyota, Rio Tinto, INPEX, IBM, Microsoft, Landgate, Lotterywest, UWA and State & Federal Government agencies throughout Australia. Julian has since launched several other successful companies and initiatives, and has been invited to Oxford University, Silicon Valley and Singapore to present and work on the future of technology, industry, academia & government. 

Julian presently serves as WA Chairman for the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) - Australia's peak body for the technology industry. The AIIA represents global organisations including Apple, Amazon, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Optus, Telstra, Deloitte, EY, KPMG & PwC through to local SMEs, start-ups and scale-ups. In 2006 Julian was selected for the Commonwealth Government's inaugural ICT Industry Entrepreneur Accelerator Program, hosted at Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in partnership AusIndustry and AIIA. Julian is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), a Senior Certified Professional with the Australia Computer Society (ACS), a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and a member of the Commonwealth Club of California. 

In addition to serving on the Governing Council of South Metropolitan TAFE, Julian serves as Chairman of the Autism Academy of Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) and Chairman of the Advisory Board for the State Government’s Regional New Industries Fund. 

Brian was born and raised in Bowral, NSW, from where he joined the Royal Australian Navy, graduating from the Naval College with a Diploma of Applied Science. He also holds a Master of Business Administration.

Brian specialised in information Technology, responsible for managing warship communications and data exchange networks. He has lived and worked in Australia, Malaysia, and the United States, and was seconded to the US military in Florida with responsibility for designing US communications and collaborative networks. In 2011 he led a team of US engineers to Afghanistan fielding the new network linking the regional commands with combat outposts, for which he was awarded the United States Joint Service Commendation.

Brian has been Director General of Navy Communications and Information Warfare, highlighted by his establishment of the Australian Navy Cyber Directorate and Deputy Mission Commander for Pacific Partnership, a US Navy deployment providing medical and humanitarian assistance to regional communities. He returned as the Commanding Officer of the HMAS Stirling Navy base.

Brian has transitioned to the Naval Reserve and lives in Rockingham with his wife Robin, a native of Washington DC, and their three children.

Paola Chivers is a Health Researcher and Biostatistician, working privately for DATaR Consulting.  She holds Adjunct positions with The University of Notre Dame Australia and Edith Cowan University.  Paola is the co-lead and Chair of the Western Australian Bone Research Collaboration and is on the statistical editorial board of the international journal Clinical Oral Implants Research. 

Paola has over 25 years’ experience as a teacher, academic and trainer in health and disability fields.  Over her career she has worked for not-for-profits, government, and private organisations, and taught at primary, secondary, TAFE and university levels.  Previously Paola served three terms on the Willetton Senior High School Board, the last two terms as Vice-Chair and Chair respectively and sat on both the Finance and Partnerships Committees.  Paola has also been a member of the WA Country Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee and Notre Dame’s school research committee.

Paola has a long history of philanthropic work within the disability and education sectors including governance and committee representation.  Paola continues to be an active partner in the CSIRO STEM Professionals in Schools program and is providing her expertise to the Australian Red Cross in Research and Strategy and is on assignment with the Australian Volunteers International.

Paola holds a BSc (Hons) from UWA, Graduate Diploma in Further Education and Training from USQ, and a PhD from Notre Dame. 

Niegel Grazia has extensive public and private sector experience, recently completing an assignment as Deputy Director General with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

His contribution to SM TAFE is informed by experiences working with communities, NGOs, the media and governments on remote and complex development projects in Australia and overseas. 

He also worked for 21 years in the oil and gas industry, including senior corporate and project-based roles and for five years as the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association’s representative in WA. He has led the corporate affairs function in an ASX top 20 company and has undertaken residential postings in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions. Niegel has formerly served as Governing Council Chair of the Kimberley Training Institute.

Prior appointments also include roles with the Kimberley Development Commission, the Department of Premier and Cabinet and other agencies within the WA public service. He also served for seven years on the staff of WA State Government ministers across the local government, mines, energy and emergency services portfolios.

Niegel holds a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University and offers proven leadership, communication, advocacy, strategic thinking and problem solving skills.

Erica is an experienced Chair, non-executive director, and executive. In addition to being both a member of the Governing Council of South Metropolitan TAFE and the Chair of the SMTAFE Finance, Audit and Risk Management Committee, Erica holds non-executive Chair roles at Uniting WA, MNG Survey and AusVet, is a member of the CPA Australia WA Divisional Council, and Founder and Director of Navigating Innovation, her own advisory business.

Throughout her career Erica has honed skills in strategy, innovation, transformational change and the connection of profit and purpose. Erica has worked for RAC WA, Wesfarmers Energy (Wesfarmers Limited) and Argyle Diamonds (Rio Tinto Limited).

Erica has been a Certified Practising Accountant for over 20 years and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

 

Elena is motivated by a passion and understanding of purpose-driven businesses, aligning business models with organisational purpose and strategy for resilient growth. She has consulted, large, multi-billion dollar businesses on strategy, governance models and process restructuring for organisational change. As an Assistant Professor at the UWA Business School she has researched, presented, and published on diverse topics of governance, strategy, finance and stakeholder engagement over more than a decade. Elena is considered an international expert on co-operative and mutual business models, having published and consulted extensively in this area, as well as co-created an Executive Leadership course for Mutuals at the level of the AICD course, delivered through the Australian Institute of Management in WA.  
Elena is an accredited Civil Engineer, holds an MBA, a PhD on organisational resilience (UWA) and a post-doctorate on cooperative enterprise. She applies her engineering and management skills through Limnios Projects, a Project Management and Development Management business with experience in delivering complex residential, commercial and industrial projects in Perth.  

Elena is passionate about entrepreneurship, and assists start-up and NFP businesses as a Board Member, through pro-bono consulting and advisory roles. She has taught entrepreneurship, small business and marketing at the UWA Business School at undergraduate and postgraduate courses, where she was awarded for Excellence in Teaching in 2015.

Kelly Townson has served on the South Metropolitan Governing Council since 2018.  She has over 20 years’ experience in strategy development, brand building, partnership development, and change leadership having worked across a diverse portfolio of industry sectors including higher education and training, tourism, manufacturing, FMCG and financial services.

Kelly has prior TAFE sector experience having held appointments as Chief Commercial Officer at Bendigo Kangan Institute, as Executive Director Training at Challenger Institute of Technology and as General Manager Training Services at South Metropolitan TAFE.  She currently is the General Manager of Marketing for Crown Resorts in Perth.  Kelly also presently serves on the Board of the Perth Football Club and is a member of the marketing advisory committee for the Western Australian Football Commission.

Kelly holds a Master’s in Information Management and eMarketing from the University of Western Australia and a Bachelor’s in Management and Marketing from Curtin University.  She is a Certified Practicing Marketer and Fellow of Australian Marketing Institute. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, and she is a member and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. 

In October 2021, Mayor Rhys Williams was elected by the Mandurah community for a second term, receiving 85% of the community vote. In his role as Mayor, Rhys has made a strong commitment to economic diversification, community wellbeing and addressing youth unemployment. 

Prior to this role, Rhys ran a successful youth development charity which he founded when he was 17, and worked on projects in more than 100 communities across Australia and abroad. In 2015, Rhys received the Young West Australian of the Year award in recognition of this work. 

Rhys is a board director of the South Metropolitan TAFE and the Peel Development Commission, and is a former Chairman of the Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and several non-profit organisations. He is currently completing a Masters in Development Studies at Murdoch University. 

History

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 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. 

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. 

In it's first year of operation, South Metropolitan TAFE was named as the Best Large Training Provider in the WA Training Awards.