A long journey to excellence

* This article was published 10 years ago

The Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) came to Docklands via a collaboration more than 10 years ago between Kangan Batman TAFE and the Fox Trust.

Former Kangan Batman CEO John Parish said an almost-chance meeting between two organisations sharing a common objective planted the seeds of the idea.

He said automotive trade training in Victoria had become consolidated into a single educational facility in the late 1990s. But with two run-down campuses in Coburg and Richmond, the search was on for a single, central site for a show-case facility.

The Fox Trust, on the other hand, had been vested a large amount of land in Docklands and was seeking opportunities to establish automotive educational facilities.

So when Mr Parish met Fox Trust chairman Bill Kelty and they both realised their ambitions were aligned, a strong and enduring partnership was formed.

A wide-ranging board was formed, feasibility studies conducted, land sales were made and government funding secured.

“The idea was to create something special for the automotive industry to showcase Victoria and the rest of Australia,” Mr Parish said.

Mr Parish said the journey was often difficult but Mr Kelty was unwavering in his support for the centre.

“Bill would tell us that we had to hang in and pursue the dream because it was the right thing to do,” he said •

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