Bruce Mackenzie PSM dedicated his working life to Australia's vocational education and training (VET) sector. His leadership has made a difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of students, providing them with high-quality training to develop qualifications for meaningful careers.
"Vocational training is an excellent pathway to achieve career goals," says Bruce, "It's not a second-rate educational pathway. It provides access to tertiary education for people of all walks of life and gives the credentials needed to have a career and perform well in the workplace."
A founding member of TAFE Directors Australia and a former CEO of Melbourne's Holmesglen Institute of TAFE, Bruce's extraordinary contribution was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Australian Training Awards.
"The greatest thing about VET is its accessibility and focus on life-long learning," says Bruce. "It's the only sector of education that embraces the concept of continuous and integrated learning."
Bruce also believes that VET gives new opportunities to those who have had a bad educational experience or performed poorly in school.
"It gets them back into education and enables them to transform their lives by achieving applied learning through VET," he says. "And through post initial training it can enable graduates to pursue careers that require a higher education qualification."
Throughout his 30 plus years in the sector, Bruce became well known as an innovator and leader, not only in the TAFE sector, but in formally and informally developing networks to build capacity, mentoring others and providing strong advocacy on behalf of the whole VET sector. He also made a significant contribution through the development of innovative products and practices in technical and vocational education.
"My career was a wonderful experience and time went really quickly," says Bruce. "I still stay very much in touch with the system and will always believe that people need to keep studying and learning."