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Thank You from DXP Consulting

31 December 2019

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Before 2019 is out I want to extend a big THANK YOU to the many wonderful people I have had the opportunity to work with over the past year.  I am grateful for the trust you have placed in me, your wise counsel, deep expertise and generous sharing of your time, experience and ideas.


The following is a quick skim through a small selection of projects and initiatives which were highlights for me in 2019.



Advocating policy, funding and governance conditions that support a quality education has long been a motivator of my career and, now, client choices.  I, therefore, welcomed the opportunity that presented itself over the closing months of 2018 and early 2019 to assist the Australian Scholarship Group (ASG) in the development of their Parents’ Report Card 2018-19.  The Report shares parents’ perspectives on the state of education in Australia, covering topics that have withstood the test of time (cost, quality and choice) and more contemporary issues which have been the focus of public commentary and debate.  As 2019 draws to a close, I have the pleasure of working on next year’s report card.


In the gaps between projects I indulged my interest in school funding arrangements by daring to re-imagine how they could be.  This is one of the joys of independence and working for myself.  In my Re-imagining (of) School Funding, State and Commonwealth Government funds are pooled at the jurisdictional level; funds follow students on the basis of need and not school sector; and are progressively clawed back the higher the fees schools charge parents.  

Post-secondary education and credentialing


Just as I dared to re-imagine school funding, CPA Australia dared to re-imagine post-secondary education and credentialing.  Yes, many others have done likewise and their dreams are compelling.  However, none dared to dream as big as CPA Australia did.  In CPA Australia’s submission to the Australian Qualifications’ Framework (AQF) Review, it’s vision is of a reformed AQF sitting at the centre of a future post-secondary education sector where learners choose their own journeys and travel frictionless pathways over their lifetimes between credentials of all sizes (micro-credentials through to full qualifications) offered by traditional and non-traditional providers.  I was thankful to have played a role in pulling together this submission, and even more thankful to the staff and executives who shared with me their valuable insights. 


There are powerful forces in play driving change in post-secondary education: technology, competition, employer expectations, student expectations and credentialing.  The policy challenge is that regulatory, accreditation, funding and governance arrangements are enablers of positive change.  The challenge for providers is to embrace change, or risk falling under it’s wheels.  I was invited by the Department of Accounting at Melbourne University to share my thoughts on what that means for the future of accounting education, and subsequently to be part of a podcast conversation on the same.  Once I got past my jitters, it was great fun sharing the microphone with an inspirational senior lecturer from the Department.


In 2020, a project I am looking forward to is taking a deep dive into the attributes of international learners, and how the global digital ecosystem could evolve to support bringing them to the fore.



Skilled migration


Global talent matters to the growth of nations – an important fact too often forgotten in public commentaries on immigration. 


In 2018-19 the Commonwealth Government responded to perceived public sentiment by lowering the maximum number of migrants allowed, after undershooting it’s once ‘target’ now ‘cap’.  For the record, the public is wiser than they are given credit for: most agree that accepting migrants from different countries makes Australia stronger, and that multiculturalism has been good for the country (refer latest report from the Scanlon Foundation).  The cap has stayed down with the impact of change apportioned across all categories of migration.  This is despite attempts by the major professional accounting bodies and others to argue the benefits of skilled migration.  I had the pleasure of working with great minds in CPA Australia and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand to make the case for change.


Many of the same people are involved as the professional accounting bodies constructively engage with the consultation process on the occupations governing migrants’ eligibility to migrate.  As are education, migrant and business interests whose futures are impacted by changes in migration settings.  I had the honour of presenting to them and government officials on future occupational labour market conditions at a Roundtable jointly hosted by the professional accounting bodies.


Attracting global talent was the focus of a presentation delivered by the Executive Director of VETASSESS to the eight annual Groningen Declaration Network (GDN).  VETASSESS is a leading independent skills assessment authority in Australia and a trusted partner for Australian Governments.  It was in the latter capacity that this presentation was delivered.  The GDN cooperates with countries and bodies in every continent to advance its goals of supporting education and global mobility.  Using Australia as its case study, the VETASSESS presentation, shared an evidence base on the economic benefits global talent has given rise to.  It called for global cooperation in reforming migration policies to verify talent in light of the futures of learning, credentialing and work.  I had the good fortune of playing a part in the underpinning research.



Diversity and inclusion


In 2018, developing the evidence base to support initiatives designed to empower Indigenous Australians to take optimal advantage of unprecedented opportunities for individual and business self-determined success was a key theme.  A flavour of this is shared on my website.


In 2019, a highlight for me was being invited to be part of a panel on diversity and inclusion in accounting at the tenth annual Accounting Educator’s Conference.  While confronting, it was rewarding to reflect and share some of my stories.  Thank you for the opportunity RMIT.



The Village


Before I wrap up, I wish to extend a special thank you to The Village at NAB.  One of the hardest things about going out on your own is leaving behind the people you have shared your work and broader experiences with on a daily basis.  The Village provides a space where small businesses, including micro-businesses of one like me, can connect.  The hosts do a wonderful and often thankless job of uniting disparate people and businesses into a warm and safe community where we all feel we belong.

Thank you to all who have shared parts of my journey over the last year.  “Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future”.  Happy 2020!

Mary Clarke


DXP Consulting

M: +61 401 088 571


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