Meet Our 2022 Speakers

Hon Chris Hipkins

Minister of Education - Aotearoa New Zealand

Christopher John Hipkins is a New Zealand Labour Party politician and a member of the Sixth Labour Government’s Cabinet as Minister of Education, Minister for COVID-19 Response, Minister for the Public Service and Leader of the House. He has served as the Member of Parliament for Remutaka since the 2008 election. 

Afiq Redzuan

Afiq creates, scales and optimises business portfolios – delivering key outcomes, building teams and adapting to new learnings. His experience extends across product management, product marketing, technical sales, marketing, government relations, public policy, and strategy.  

Akustina Morni

Senior Advisor - International Organisation of Employers (IOE)

Akustina Morni is a Senior Advisor at the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), which hosts the secretariat of the Employers‘ Group to the International Labour Organization (ILO). Her portfolio of expertise includes education, skills development, gender equality, diversity, future of work and employment.

Akustina has more than 18 years of experience in international diplomacy, attained from her tenure as a diplomat in charge of labour and human rights issues at the Permanent Mission of Brunei Darussalam to the United Nations in Geneva, research officer at the Brunei Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and as a junior technical officer at the ILO. Prior to joining the IOE, she was the programme focal point at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research and admin officer at the Australian Department of Justice. 

Alexandra Vranyac-Wheeler

Director of PTE Training - Skills Consulting Group

Alex has over 18 years experience in vocational & tertiary education.  She is an experienced people leader and senior manager with a background in a range of industries and organisations (not-for-profit, commercial and government agencies). 

Alex sits on the Growing Future Farmers Board as a voice of vocational education for the agricultural industry, as well as the Scots College Board in Wellington. 

Alex has a doctorate in Pharmacology from the University of Otago, and has spent time at Harvard Business School and Melbourne Business School, specialising in Health and Human Rights, and Strategic Leadership.  

Chan Lee

Dean - Seoul National University

Dean of the Extension College at Seoul National University, Professor Chan Lee’s focus is teaching, consulting, and conducting research in the field of human resource development.

Having held roles for organisations including Lego, LG and ASTD, his specialties include performance management, job analysis, competency modeling, e-HRD system. Further to this is leadership development, structured on-the job training, organisational development, strategic human resource development, and strategic human resource management.

Dr Dee Halil

Datacenter Region Expansion Skills Program Manager - Microsoft

Dee is a mixture of scientist, innovator, and a service design and learning product strategist. Core to all these roles is her passion for technology-enhanced education and applied learning.  

Currently, Dee is applying her expertise to the Datacentre Region Expansion Skills Program at Microsoft (Aotearoa) – working to make Microsoft skilling initiatives even more accessible to customers, partners, educators, students and communities. This includes collaborating with education institutions, educators and industry to transform teaching and learning, evolve curriculum and provide access to the latest technologies to build skills for tomorrow.  


Easter Manila-Silipa

Country Director, Samoa / Tonga - Australia Pacific Training Coalition

Ed Tuari

Manukura Chief Advisor Māori - ENZ

Ed is of Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent. He joined Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao in 2017, previously working in the United Arab Emirates for 18 years.

As Manukura, Ed develops and leads the Rautaki Māori (ENZ’s Māori Strategy), advising on cultural capability, bringing a Māori perspective to policy and project development.

A former primary school teacher, Ed has experience in providing Māori bi-lingual and immersion learning within the primary school sector. He co-wrote and co-presented the first Māori language television programme for pre-schoolers.

In 2012, Ed was named New Zealander of the Year in the United Arab Emirates by AIG, for his contribution to the New Zealand community through the Middle East.

Erik Swars

Head of International Affairs-SFUVET

Erik Swars is Head of International Affairs at the Swiss Federal University for Vocational Education and Training (SFUVET) since 2013. SFUVET is Switzerland’s expert organisation for VET and offers training to VET professionals, conducts research, contributes to the development of occupations and supports international cooperation in vocational and professional education and training. 

Previously, Erik worked at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and at Swiss Post. He holds a degree in Economics from University of Tübingen; MBA from University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Erik is a published author, including co-authoring the book “Vocational and Professional Education and Training in Switzerland”, published in 2016 in English and 2021 in Chinese.

Frances Valintine

Founder & CEO - The Mind Lab & Tech Futures Lab

A leader in her own right as an innovator, emerging technologies futurist and disruptor of traditional education, Frances founded Tech Futures Lab and The Mind Lab. Over the past 8 years, Frances has been instrumental in reskilling and educating 20,000 adult students, many thousands in short tech courses and over 250,000 school students.

Frances has worked with and advised over 250 organisations across every sector in New Zealand – leading digital transformation initiatives that bring positive impact.

A Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her lifetime contribution to education and technology (2018), Frances has received numerous awards. 

Gary Workman

Executive Director - Apprenticeship Employment Network

Gary brings over 20 years’ experience in the VET sector, and has worked on numerous government and industry projects including the areas of workforce development, apprenticeships, OH&S and the environment.

Gary is Executive Director of the Apprenticeship Employment Network, which represents not for profit group training organisations. 

In 2018 AEN joined the Global Apprenticeship Network as the Australian network member – one of 18 countries. GAN brings organisations together to highlight best practice in youth employment through workplace training and career development.

He was a member of the Victorian Governments Apprenticeship Taskforce between 2016-2019.

Grant McPherson

Chief Executive - Education New Zealand

As Chief Executive at Education New Zealand (ENZ), Grant McPherson leads ENZ in taking New Zealand’s education experiences to the world.

In response to COVID-19, Grant chairs the International Education Chief Executives’ Group to help drive the Government’s Recovery Plan for our sector. Prior to his role at ENZ, Grant was Deputy Chief Executive and General Manager, Strategy at New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE), following extensive experience as Regional Director, South/South East Asia and Group General Manager, Business Solutions on the NZTE Leadership team.  

Helen Lomax

Director - Ako Aotearoa

As Director of Ako Aotearoa, Helen Lomax leads a national organisation responsible for developing and providing national and international tertiary education sector services to build sector educational capability.

Tertiary education has been Helen’s work focus since 2006, initially as a researcher, moving to investment and operational policy projects for the Tertiary Education Commission. She’s held policy roles in Tertiary Education, Health, Justice, Treaty Claims and Corrections. She is a member of the Australasian Standards Advisory Board for professional teaching standards.

Ivy Chen

WorldSkills Champion - China

Ivy Chen is a Regional Representative in Asia for WorldSkills Champions Trust. She is now a crew training instructor for China Eastern Airline. Ivy represented China at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi 2017, competing in restaurant service.

Jenny Dodd

CEO - TAFE Directors Australia

Jenny Dodd is Chief Executive of TAFE Directors Australia (TDA). TDA is the peak body representing all TAFEs and TAFE divisions of dual sector universities. Jenny brings a wealth of TAFE executive leadership having held senior roles in three jurisdictions including CEO of TasTAFE in Tasmania, Chief Academic Officer and General Manager Gold Coast TAFE Queensland, and Deputy CEO Education, Marketing and National Positioning for the Canberra Institute of Technology.

A member of the Flexible Learning Advisory Committee, she led policy and change projects for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework.

In her current role as CEO TDA, Jenny demonstrates how the public provider is leading quality skills development and outcomes for students and industry. 

Jim So

Regional Development Manager, APAC - Skills Consulting Group

Spanning more than a decade experience in TVET, Jim So is focussed on lifting people’s skills and competences, leading to better and more secure livelihoods in the rapidly evolving world of technical and vocational education (TVET). At Skills Consulting Group, Jim’s expertise extends across TVET: Apprenticeships, scholarships, youth transitions, workforce capability planning, competency frameworks, policy, qualification development, quality assurance, eLearning.

José Oberson Mau

Head of Vocational Education + Youth - Movetia

José Oberson Mau is Head of the Division Vocational Education and Training (VET), Youth and Adult Education at Movetia. Movetia is the Swiss federal agency for exchange, mobility and cooperation – a platform that provides contacts and information related to mobility and international cooperation. It raises awareness of the importance of the topic among the public, policymakers and the media. Movetia is responsible for implementing mobility and cooperation programmes in Switzerland and abroad. 
Previously, Jose was Director of international schools and educational projects in Brazil, Italy and Spain and was responsible for various international VET projects and cooperation activities on behalf of the Swiss government. He holds degrees in School Education, Geography, Anthropology (Universities of Bern and Barcelona) and Linguistics.

Josh Williams

Consultant - Skills Consulting Group; President - GAN NZ

As a Lead Consultant with Skills Consulting Group, Josh champions work-based learning and apprenticeships, and innovative projects to support organisations and industries raise workforce capability and clear pathways for enduring success.

Josh’s contributions have been critical in developing the New Zealand education system over the past 20 years, such as NCEA, secondary/ tertiary sector initiatives and reforms, industry training and vocational pathways. He is also the Country Manager for Global Apprenticeship Network New Zealand, and for 5 years has been a judge for the New Zealand Diversity Awards. He’s delivered VET qualifications, training, assessment and research solutions, including programme management of youth employment policy initiatives and assessment tools.

Josh Nickl

WorldSkills Champion - Australia

Josh Nickl’s passion for Pastry began at an early age, having grown up in his parent’s successful Southern Highlands Patisserie.

He completed his 4 year apprenticeship at The Gumnut Patisserie, during which time he won the BAA National Apprentice Pastry Chef of the year in 2017. In 2019, he assisted the Australian Pastry Team at the Coupe du Monde in Lyon, France. The APT finished 6th in the competition, the team’s highest ever place at the World Cup. Following this he went on to win NSW Apprentice of the Year. In 2021 at National Worldskills competition (NSW) he was crowned National Pastry Champion. Once Josh had completed his 4 year apprenticeship he spent 6 months in Europe gaining experience from Pastry MOFs. Upon returning to Australia, Josh joined The Gumnut Patisserie as head of Research and Development. 

Kameli Batiweti

Chief Executive Officer - Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation

Kameli has more than 25 years’ experience in Human Capital Management and Corporate Services Management having held senior executive positions in the Tourism and Manufacturing Sectors in Fiji.

Kameli is the President of the Fiji Human Resources Institute and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Fiji Commerce & Employers Federation. 

Kameli is a Recipient of Fiji’s 50th Anniversary of Independence Medal. 

Kameli strongly believes in the following quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. 

“Good leaders inspire people to have confidence in leaders.” 

“Great leaders inspire people to have confidence in themselves.” 

Kwok Leung Pun

Dean - Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong

As Dean of Science & Technology at Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (tHEI), since 2015 Pun Kwok Leung’s teaching areas have included Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Hydraulics and Hydrology, Hydrodynamics, Water and Wastewater Engineering. 

Prior to that he served roles within the Department of Civil Engineering, and Environmental Management; is a published author and member of Hong Kong Institute of Construction Managers.

Dr Leon Fourie

Chair International Working Group - Te Pūkenga

Dr Leon Fourie joined Toi Ohomai in December 2016, bringing with him a wealth of experience in tertiary education management both in New Zealand and his native home of South Africa.

Formerly Leon held the position of Deputy Chief Executive at Unitec Institute of Technology; he was a member of the senior leadership team at Unitec from 2009 – 2016. Leon has extensive expertise in framing, leading and implementing institutional strategy and plans.

Linh Le Ngoc

Hanoi Vocational College of Higher Technology

Le Ngoc Linh comes from Nghệ An, a province in North-Central Viet Nam.  He is currently in his 3rd year of a Car Technology diploma at the Hanoi Vocational College of High Technology.  He was introduced to the course by a friend, and with a passion for cars and full support from his family, decided on this career path.  Linh has worked on many leading car brands, including BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai and Toyota.

Mita Tupaea

Consultant, Kaiārahi – Te Ao Māori - Skills Consulting Group

Mita was the first in his whanau to attend university where he gained his Bachelor of Creative Arts, majoring in Performing Arts.

As a Kaiārahi Māori at Skills, one of Mita’s responsibilities is identifying barriers for Māori learners and employees and creating innovative solutions to overcome those barriers.

With seven years’ experience working in the youth sector, Mita built initiatives and developed programmes founded in tikanga and toi whakaari māori that he believes offer the best platform to engage with youth at risk.

These initiatives have seen Skills Māori learners achieve parity with non-Māori.

Mita hails from Tuakau–the heart of Port Waikato- Waikato/Tainui, Te Kawerau a Maki in West Auckland & Ihumatao.

Mommam Nattapon Aunhabundit

Thailand Pavilion Ambassador at the World Expo Dubai

Nattapon is a visual notetaker for several social enterprises and NGOs, related to the educational field. Her role is to recap and visualize the meetings into 1-page for a better understanding and PR. Meanwhile, she is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Human Resource Management at National Taiwan Normal University, receiving a fully-funded scholarship from the Taiwan Ministry of Education.

Previously, she was selected to be a country ambassador for the Thailand pavilion at the World Expo Dubai. She was also highly regarded as a youth leader and community builder during her school years. Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, she was a business facilitator at the National Innovation Agency and a program coordinator at a startup accelerator, New Energy Nexus. 

Nancy Purvis

Consultant, Kaiārahi – Te Ao Māori - Skills Consulting Group

Nancy brings with her a wealth of knowledge from numerous sectors, ranging from Retail Management to International Logistics (export). Her passions and focus now lie with her commitment to Te Ao Māori.

As a Kaiārahi Māori at Skills, Nancy utilises her predominantly non-Māori upbringing by providing insight through two lenses – Te Ao Pākeha me Te Ao Māori. In addition to her work with external stakeholders, Nancy, with the support of Mita, is responsible for the creation, development, and implementation of Skills Te Ao Māori Strategy – He Kāpehu Whetū.

Being the child of a Warrant Officer in the NZ Army, Nancy has called multiple regions home; Wellington, Hawkes Bay, Auckland, and also has whakapapa to the Far North.

Nazrene Mannie

Executive Director - Global Apprenticeship Network

Nazrene Mannie is the Executive Director of GAN Global, a network of companies, employer organisations, associations and international organisations with the mission of promoting quality apprenticeships and the goal of creating job opportunities for youth and ensuring skills for business. Nazrene is a social policy expert and an international gender champion. Based in Switzerland, Nazrene works closely with private sector companies and international development entities such as the ILO, World Bank, IOE, UNESCO and OECD.

Phornvit Phacharintanakul

Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs - Panyapiwat Institute of Management

Phornvit  Phacharintanakul is Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Panyapiwat Institute of Management, an instutute of higher education, founded by CP ALL (of C.P.Group). His experience extends across sales and marketing as well as country management of an international life science corporation. His current focus is in competency development of people through education, both formal and informal. Phornvit also sits on committees of national bodies in education and business. His academic background is in economics and business administration.

Dr Roger Ng

Programme Leader - Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi)

Dr Roger Ng is an Assistant Professor and the Programme Leader of BEng (Hons) in Building Services Engineering at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi). He is a Chartered Engineer, a member of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and a member of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE).

Dr Ng is also the Programme Leader of the newly launched Professional Diploma Meister in Lift and Escalator Engineering.

Dr Rohit Kishore

Director – Fiji Higher Education Commission

Dr Rohit Kishore is the Director of the Fiji Higher Education Commission. At the time of his appointment in 2021, Dr Kishore was Acting Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor TVET at the Fiji National University; prior to this, he was Acting Dean of the Business College for 14 months.  

Dr Kishore served the Fiji Government as a Permanent Secretary and board director.

Awarded the overall teaching excellence award in 2020 at the Fiji National University, he is a published author.  

Dr Kishore holds a Bachelor, Masters and PhD in Economics and Finance from Australian universities.  

Stuart Martin

Senior Consultant - Skills Consulting Group

Stuart is a Learning Design Specialist for Skills Consulting Group, developing assessment and moderation designs, qualifications and quality assurance projects, leading all phases from policy development through to implementation.

Having worked for globally recognised institutions in the United Kingdom, and now leading a team of Learning Design and Quality Assurance Consultants at Skills Consulting Group, Stuart has deep expertise in the development of vocational education solutions.

Stuart champions the development of digital and micro-credentials, designing the policy and developing an innovative vocational solution to build industry capability.


Tam-Jex Blake

Director, Sheep & Beef Farmer

Tam is co-owner of Mangapoike Station, a sheep and beef farming business 50km south-west of Gisborne, New Zealand. Tam and her husband, Dan, also own a horticulture business.

In 2016 Tam and Dan were awarded Beef + Lamb Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year and have piloted students through GFF’s Essential Farm Skills Programme at Mangapoike since 2017. They are actively involved in supporting GFF’s employer-led career pathway aimed at future proofing training in their sector.

Tam chaired Te Kura O’Manutuke School, for nine years and went on to chair Wanganui Collegiate School moving Collegiate from independence to state-integrated status.

Tam is a member of the Rabobank Client Council. She also sits on the GFF board.

More speakers to be revealed soon

China - New Zealand Higher Vocational Education Summit 2022

Chen Dali

Deputy Director General - Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, Ministry of Education of China

CHEN Dali is the Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges, Ministry of Education of China. He is an Eisenhower Scholar and a Public Lawyer. CHEN Dali used to serve as the Director of the Division of American and Oceanian Affairs, and the Director of the People to People Exchanges and Studying Abroad Affairs Division of the Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges of the Ministry of Education of China.  

CHEN Dali has a Doctor of Laws from Renmin University of China. 

 陈大立,中国教育部国际合作与交流司 副司长 


Karyn Madden

Programme Manager - School of Nursing, Southern Institute of Technology

Karyn Madden (PhD Candidate, MN, RN, Dip Adult Ed & Training) is a Programme Manager for the Bachelor of Nursing and Post graduate curriculums at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), Invercargill, New Zealand.

Karyn has embraced the teaching methods associated with the hololens and immersive reality and this simulation modality is now strongly embedded within her teaching and research. Karyn believes that recent developments in augmented, mixed and virtual reality simulation hold promise for new instructional strategies. Karyn has a passion for delivering realistic simulation through innovative teaching models and thrives to pass on this enthusiasm to her students’ educational journey. 

Liang Kedong

President - Jinhua Polytechnic

Liang Kedong is a Researcher, President of Jinhua Polytechnic, President of the Second Joint Conference of Cooperative Programs and Institutes on  Higher Vocational Education, Standing Director of China Vocational Education Association and Standing Director of Zhejiang Higher Education Association. He was the Party Committee Member of Zhejiang Normal University, Director of School Office, Director of Organization Department and Director of United Front Department. He is mainly engaged in the higher education management, and carries out related research work. 

Qin Qingsong

President - Qingdao Technical College

QIN Qingsong is the President of Qingdao Technical College and the Vice Chairman of Vocational Education Committee of China Education Association for International Exchange. He was the Party Committee Member and Deputy Director of Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Commodity Price, the Party Committee Member and Deputy Director of Qingdao Municipal Bureau of Industry and information Technology, and the Director and Deputy Secretary of Party Committee of Qingdao Rail Transportation Industrial Demonstration Zone. 

Dr PANG Yang

Deputy Director of Teaching Affairs Office of Qingdao Vocational and Technical College of Hotel Management

Dr PANG Yang is Deputy Director of Teaching Affairs Office of Qingdao Vocational and Technical College of Hotel Management. Dr PANG has published articles and a monograph in People’s Daily, and presided over teaching achievement awards in Shandong Province. He presided over and participated in over 10 research projects.


Dr. Pii-Tuulia Nikula

Principal Academic - Eastern Institute of Technology

Dr Pii-Tuulia Nikula is a Principal Academic at Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) in Hawke’s Bay (NZ/Aotearoa), where she teaches courses on organisational sustainability and research methods.

Most of Pii-Tuulia’s research focuses on environmental sustainability and tertiary education institutions. Pii-Tuulia is currently co-editing a book on Sustainable Education Abroad: Striving for Change, and she is a Co-Founder of Climate Action Network for International Educators (CANIE). 

WANG Jinsheng

Professor - Qingdao Technical College

WANG Jinsheng is a Member of Education Committee of Qingdao Municipal Party Committee; Party Secretary, Qingdao Technical College; Chairman, National Higher Vocational Mental Health Education Committee. He has presided a number of national & provincial research projects including Exploring the Implementation Mode of Entrepreneurship Education in Secondary VET. His work appears in many journals.  

 王金生 青岛职业技术学院党委书记