Following a considered selection process, Mr Wilhelm Harnisch has been appointed as the independent
Chair of the Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing the
higher education, vocational education, training and skil ls sectors.
The appointment of Mr Harnisch as the i ndependent Chair is an important step in ITECA’s corporate
governance evolution that began in mid -2019 when the organisation was restructured, evolving from the
former Australian Council for Private Edu cation and Training (ACPET). The changes have been profound
and include a restructure of not only the Board, but also ITECA’s membership structure and underpinning
“It’s an honour to take up this appointment at such an impor tant time, not only for ITECA, but also the
broader independent tertiary education sector. As the nation grapples with how the higher education.
vocational education, training and skills sectors will support a growing economy, ITECA’s members have
demonst rated commitment to supporting government and industry meet this challenge,” Mr Harnisch said.
Mr Harnisch currently holds a number of non -executive directorships including Chair of Focus ACT
Limited, Chair of Your Home Canberra L imited, the Federal Government’s National Disability and Carers
Advisory Council and the Employment Reform Working Group. He is an invited member on the Federal
Department of Veterans Affairs Judging Panel for the Prime Minister’s post ADF employment awards. He
also held non -exe cutive directorships on the $50 billion Cbus Industry Superannuation Fund and the Cbus
Property company. He is a former deputy chair of Livable Housing Australia Limited and Australian
Construction Industry Forum Limited.
The ITECA membership elected Mr A lexis Watt to the role of Deputy Chair – Vocational Education and
Training which is a significant leadership position given that independent providers support more than
70% of the 4.1 million students in vocational education and training. Mr Watt is the C hief Executive
Officer of Open Colleges School of Health that, since its establishment in 2001, has trained thousands of
nurses and other health sector workers across Australia.
Also elected was Ms Kathleen Newcombe to the role of Deputy Chair – Higher Educat ion. Ms Newcombe
is Chief Executive Officer of the Sarina Russo Group that has an innovative partnership to manage the
James Cook University campus in Brisbane.
The coming year will see ITECA strengthen its member engagement with a view to providing them with the
information to make informed business decisions and also influence the environment in which they operate.
“ITECA provides leadership, strategy, advocacy and support. Our members set our agenda, fund our
activities and directly benefit from the result s,” Mr Harnish concluded.