Andrew KongPro Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Vocational Education
Andrew Kong joined Swinburne in July 2021 and provides leadership across the university’s vocational education group.
Andrew is, on one side of the family, a first generation Australian whose father’s life was transformed (from poverty) through international education – studying Engineering in Australia.
Andrew’s career has progressed across a variety of industries. His first industry was within the Defence Force, starting as a soldier and progressing through to a commission within the Australian Regular Army. He was fortunate to have been involved in Training Command projects that developed non-contiguous training and simulations that ensured military personnel’s time away from their work-place (units) and families was minimised. His final military appointment was as a staff officer within head quarters of the Land Warfare Centre – an appointment that would have seemed stratospheric to him in his first role as a recruit soldier in basic training at the 1st Recruit Training Battalion.
Andrew has also had stints as a secondary teacher as well as in manufacturing, where he was responsible for the Learning and Development Function at Lion’s Tooheys Brewery (as well as having the opportunity to manage a manufacturing department).
Andrew first joined the Vocational Education sector as a business development consultant before quickly moving into managing Business, IT and Flexible Learning at East Gippsland. He was, early on, also the manager for the Centre for Business Programs at Box Hill Institute, where he first had the opportunity to become involved in transnational education. While his Centre delivered programs domestically, it had more students in China and Vietnam as well as in the workplace than at the Box Hill campuses. It was here that he developed his skills in looking to modify existing products and services in order to ensure growth through reaching non-traditional markets.
Before joining Swinburne, he was the Dean of Trades and Civil Engineering at Victoria University. At Chisholm Institute, Andrew’s first executive roles saw him refocus the business and trades divisions to transform programs so that they were centred on industries’ needs. This included initiatives such as the development of work-place trades training, the implementation of degrees in accounting and ICT, and the implementation of existing worker programs that ensured people could access relevant post graduate training and qualifications that enabled them to accelerate their careers while remaining in the work-place.
Andrew has undertaken many leadership programs. More formally, he undertook pre-commissioning leadership training at the Royal Military College – Duntroon and completed staff officer training at the Land Warfare Centre – Canungra. He has also undertaken programs with the Melbourne Business School as well we other programs such as the Leadership Victoria Programs.
Focus of formal education
Andrew’s academic qualifications have been firmly focused on areas that impact his role. His first masters degree focused on andragogy (adult education) with a particular focus on soldiers’ peer support in non-contiguous (distance learning and simulations) training. His second masters focused on change management in educational settings. His undergraduate degree was a double major in psychology and literature; and Andrew also has two formal qualifications in education (both vocational training as well as secondary education).
Andrew is a firm believer that vocational education is the catalyst to transform people’s lives; particularly those, whom through circumstance, have not always had great opportunities to begin with.
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