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Centre for Excellence celebrates 20th anniversary

15 May 2013

The Centre for Excellence for Students who are Deaf and Hard of hearing recently celebrated its 20th anniversary and launch of a new name and logo.

Established in 1993, the Centre of Excellence (now renamed 'deafConnectED - Partners in Learning Success') was originally responsible for providing educational programs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing to help overcome barriers to employment and mainstream services. Over time its role has changed and now is a strategic research and policy development centre supporting the VET sector to engage with students who are deaf and hard of hearing to ensure they are able to have a prosperous economic and sustainable future.

According to the deafConnectED Coordinator, Cathy Clark key major achievements in the last five years include:

  • Delivering the Certificate of Training and Assessment (TAA) to all-deaf groups of students, with some of the teaching conducted by former students of the program.
  • Winning the Victorian Training Initiative of the Year Award and the VET Client Service Award in the same year at the Victorian Training Awards evening in 2010.
  • Undertaking a current review of Auslan training in Victoria on behalf of the State Government which will inform a new direction for how Auslan training will be delivered in Victoria.

With 1 in 6 Australians who are deaf or hard of hearing, Cathy estimates there are approximately 10,000 students who are deaf or hard of hearing in Australia in need of support services such as Auslan interpreters and notetakers.

deafConnectED held its 20 year celebratory event at its new headquarters, housed in a landmark building, Cooke House on St Kilda Road in Prahran last month.

Cathy is already seeing some benefits from the co-location to this historical site particularly the benefits of closer interaction and collaboration with key organisations in the deaf education sector, including the Victorian College for the Deaf (a K - 12 school), Deaf Children Australia and the Victorian Deaf Education Institute bringing a whole of life approach to education of deaf people on the one site.

Key speakers at the 20th anniversary celebrations included Kylie Miers- Community Relations Manager at Deaf Children Australia, Robert (Mac Adam), OAE and President of VicDeaf Board, Andy Giddy- NMIT Chief Executive Officer and Cathy Clark - Coordinator, deafConnectED.

“The COE is a one its kind in Australia. It is the only specialist centre providing advice to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and plays a key role in informing government policy,” said Cathy Clark.

The Centre for Excellence is a previous winner of two industry awards, the VET Client/Service Award and the VET Training Initiative of the Year Award (2010). The Centre is also a former finalist for the Australian Training Imitative of the Year Award at the National Training Awards in Sydney.

For more information about its services: or contact Cathy Clark, Coordinator on or call 03 9269 8306.

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on 03 9269 1579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) – Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne’s north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce.  NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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