Former head of WEA Hunter and WEA Hunter Foundation, Ben Grushka, has announced his retirement from executive duties at the end of August following 14 years with the organisation.
Ben was appointed Executive Director of WEA Hunter in 2002 and dedicated himself to enhancing learning and development opportunities for individuals.
During his tenure, Ben helped develop one of the region’s highly regarded educational providers, established many productive community relationships and partnerships and guided the organisation to survive and thrive beyond the Global Financial Crisis. He also assisted in introducing higher qualifications with regional universities and established the WEA Hunter Foundation, which was launched in 2014.
“I am very proud of the many educational milestones achieved and I’d like to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of WEA Hunter staff and the Board for their support and contribution,” Ben said.
Ben also helped to establish WEA Hunter’s blueprint for a diverse and robust business model including the development of the Alesco Senior College, which provides a place for students who are disengaged from mainstream and institutional education. Since its Newcastle launch in 2002, the Alesco school model now operates from 11 cities in Australia and has assisted thousands of young people complete secondary school and gain employment or take on further study.
“I leave confident the current leadership has positioned WEA Hunter and its Foundation to continue to prosper in what has now become a very competitive educational provider environment, while remaining relevant to all who want to learn,” Ben said.
WEA Hunter General Manager and Principal, Alesco Senior College, Rowan Radvan, said Ben’s contribution to the organisation has been invaluable.
“Ben’s overall belief is that learning is such a significant part of personal growth and empowerment. His direction has helped people gain skills for work, form positive relationships and, most importantly, stimulate their minds,” Rowan said.
Before working at WEA Hunter Ben trained and worked as a teacher until moving on to the not-for-profit sector where he managed a large community centre involving the provision of human services, social planning and community development. He was also on the Board of Directors for Community Colleges Australia, served as a member of the University of Newcastle’s Community Engagement Committee and as Chair of Newcastle headspace Advisory Committee.
Image | Ben Grushka