Executives & Principals
M.Ed, B.Sc, AFAIM, MACE, GAICD, Cert III Carpentry
Mark Hands is presently the Chief Executive Officer for the Australian Industry Trade College Ltd (AITC). Mark has a broad history across the construction industry, youth work and education. He was the principal of an independent P – 12 school in Queensland for 16 years before taking up the present role as CEO of AITC in 2006.
Grad Dip (IT), CPA, B.Bus (Accounting), GAICD
Helen Coyer is the Chief Operating Officer for the AITC. Helen is focussed on scaling the AITC to a system with impact which includes growing to 17 campuses. Prior to joining the AITC, Helen built an extensive career as board director and senior executive in the banking and finance, education, not-for-profit and public sectors. Helen’s experience as Chief Operating Officer for QSuper, Deputy Executive Director with Independent Schools Queensland, and Assistant Commissioner Superannuation with the Australian Taxation Office proves her strength in strategic operations, development and execution. Helen also has a broad career as a non-executive director, having held roles on the QTMB and RACQ Bank boards, is a member of the Risk and Audit Committee of RSL Queensland, and Advisory Board Member of technology start-up, SurePact.
Bobbette van Zyl
B.Com (Hons), CA(SA) CA ANZ
Bobbette van Zyl is the Head of Central Services for the AITC. Bobbette is a Chartered Accountant with more than ten years' Senior Management experience and a proven ability to improve processes and support business transformation. Prior to joining the AITC, Bobbette spent 13 years in the insurance industry and has extensive experience in successfully leading a range of operational departments, affording her the ability to develop and implement effective business plans and strategies across an organisation whilst ensuring a high level of integrity and bringing process improvement to various business activities.
BBus(HRM), Dip Neuroscience of Leadership, Cert IV Workplace & Business Coaching, FCPHR
Caroline is the Head of People and is passionate about creating rewarding and challenging working environments that deliver great business outcomes. With an interest in neuroscience and coaching, she works with leaders and employees across the AITC to collaboratively support the achievement of our objectives. As a Certified Human Resources (HR) practitioner, Caroline has an extensive HR background and also represents the HR community as a non-executive director on the Board of the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI), where she is also the Queensland State President. Caroline’s areas of focus within AITC include the attraction, retention, development and support of our people, in addition to setting our people strategy and ensuring legislative compliance.
M. Ed, Grad Dip Ed (Applied Learning), Grad Cert Careers Ed, B. Bus Man, TAE40110.
Eliza is the Head of Education and strongly believes in developing and providing programs that enable pathways and opportunity through education. Prior to joining the AITC, Eliza was Associate Director College Programs - TAFE (Federation College) at Federation University Australia, and was responsible for providing effective management, strategic direction and educational leadership to the TAFE portfolio. Eliza’s portfolio included the set up and delivery of one of first Federal Government senior secondary P-TECH (Pathways to Technology) pilots in Australia, alongside IBM Australia. Eliza also possesses 10 years experience in mainstream secondary education and spent a number of years in the recruitment and training field.
Nicole de Vries
B.Bus (Marketing & Public Relations), B.CI (Media & Communications), M.Edplus
Nicole de Vries is the Head of Brand and Customer Experience for the AITC and believes education is ultimately defined by people and relationships. As an advancement professional, Nicole strikes a balance between creative content and results-driven campaigns, with an ability to reflect an organisation’s traditions, brand and strategic intent. Prior to joining the AITC, Nicole’s extensive experience in the sector, at Independent Schools Queensland and three independent P-12 schools, reflects a deep understanding of marketing campaign and content development, digital and social media, crisis communications, event planning and stakeholder engagement. Nicole has been recognised internationally for an award-winning campaign, as a conference speaker and an awards judge, and most recently co-authored a research article.
BSc (Hons) Database Design and IT: Certificate in Education: CELTA
Lee Smith is the Deputy Head of Education. Lee migrated to Australia in 2018 and has 20 years’ experience of working within education. Having previously been the Deputy Principal of the Cheshire College – South & West, a vocational and technical college in the UK where he was responsible for the college curriculum and the quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Lee migrated to Australia with his family in 2018. He is passionate about teaching and learning as a way of enabling and facilitating young people to improve their opportunities and pathways.
BADip Ed., MA Politics, MEd. Admin, MBA, PhD Ed.
Jamie Dorrington is the Regional Principal (Redlands and Sunshine Coast). Jamie was the Headmaster of one of Australia’s most innovative schools from 2013 to 2019. While in the role, he won the Australian Education Award for Best School Strategic Plan and was listed in in the 2019 Educator Magazine's Hot List of the top 50 educators in the country. Jamie is passionate about assisting schools to develop a vision for twenty-first century education by focussing on: developing a global perspective; a futures orientation; the ability to work in teams; the ability to apply interdisciplinary knowledge; developing a personal learning network; a familiarity with the language of science (including coding); multi-modal communication skills; creative thinking processes; and personal mastery.
BHM, Grad Dip Ed, TAE40116
Richard Petherbridge is the Principal of the AITC Gold Coast Campus. Richard is a foundational staff member of the AITC, as he started at the College as a teacher in 2008. Prior to coming on board at the AITC, Richard worked in the hospitality industry, where he held management positions in a range of establishments from small, family-owned cafes, to five-star hotel chains, boutique hotels, and family taverns. Richard’s focus on staff training and development then led him to roles as an industry trainer and assessor. Richard strongly believes in training, developing, and shaping the next generation of industry leaders to meet the ever-growing demands of the modern workplace.
Dip. Ed (Secondary), B.Ed, Grad Dip Health Promotion, M. Health Science, Cert IV Training and Assessment, Cert III Business Admin.
Tracey Millar is the Regional Principal (Ipswich and Toowoomba). Tracey is a career educator, having taught and managed in all three sectors of education: School, Tertiary and Vocational Education and Training. Tracey owned and managed her own hospitality business for a number of years. Running her own business allowed Tracey to develop skills in business and financial management. Tracey then returned to education, where she has held Executive and Leadership roles in Registered Training Organisations since 2014. An adept communicator, Tracey demonstrates the capability to successfully foster and maintain stakeholder relationships. She encourages collaborative team participation and is extremely goal-orientated.