Helen Macrae

In over 30 years of work, Helen Macrae helped to build and develop the adult and community education sector in Victoria.

Honour Roll

Every year more than 100,000 Victorians enrol in adult and community education courses. In a world where life long education is increasingly seen to be the norm, adult and community education helps many women to take their first steps back into education.

For more than 30 years Helen has helped to build and develop the sector that provides these learning opportunities.

From the Diamond Valley Learning Centre and the Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre to the Council of Adult Education and the Adult Community and Further Education Board, Helen has been a teacher, trainer, policy innovator, manager, volunteer and leader.

As foundation President of the Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Association, she recognised the power of literacy training to substantially improve workplace productivity. Her work helped to increase political recognition of this important area of learning. In turn, this led to improved pay and development opportunities for the many women teachers working in adult education.

She continued to support women working in the sector as the Founder and Editor of Converse and Company, the online newspaper for women in adult and vocational education, and by jointly founding and leading the Network of Women in Adult and Vocational Education.

Her work with the Queen Victoria Women's Centre has also meant that one of this state's most significant historical buildings has maintained its role as a service provider and information centre for Victorian women.

A passionate believer in the potential of community governance to create opportunities for "second chance” learners and to manage and develop community infrastructure, Helen spent five years as chair of the Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre. During this period she led a successful partnership with the City of Moreland that secured state and local government funds for new premises for the centre.

In all these achievements she is widely recognised for the mentoring and support she has provided to students and work colleagues.