Professor Trevor Cairney OAM

Trevor Cairney
Trevor Cairney

Trevor Cairney, OAM, is the CEO of Higher Education Residential Solutions Pty Ltd. He has enjoyed a successful career as an academic, researcher and teacher, university senior manager, board director and CEO. He has filled various leadership roles in five different higher education institutions. Working widely in the fields of education, training and institutional development, his roles have included professorial positions at four universities, department head, Dean of Faculty and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Development). He also has 15 years experience managing ‘New College Ltd’, a not-for-profit company dedicated to providing quality residential accommodation for undergraduate and postgraduate students within universities.

His extensive board experience, includes current roles as Chairman and President of the NSW Business Chamber (Australia’s largest business organisation), Chairman of the Board of the Australian Business Lawyers and Advisers (ABLA), Director of Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (2016 to present) and Chair of the national Employment, Education and Training Committee for the Australian Chamber. He has been a director and/or Chairman of many other boards over a period of twenty-two years. His directorships have been in varied companies across diverse business and industry sectors. These include industrial design, multi-media, technology, training, business support, law, and higher education.

He has extensive experience in policy and advocacy having served on a number of key government boards and advisory groups. These have been at federal and state levels in national curriculum assessment, education and training policy, and national research. These have included the Universities Australia Research Committee & NSW DVC Research Committee (1995-2000), National Languages & Literacy Ministerial Council (1994-96), Business/Higher Education Science and Technology Group, (1997-1999), Australian Steering Committee of the OECD Program for International Literacy and Numeracy assessment project, PISA (1998 to present), Public Officer for University Colleges Australian (2002-2016), Director of Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (2016 to present).

In his previous role as CEO of New College Pty Ltd (2002-2016) he was responsible for all operational matters, resident welfare, stakeholder management and institutional development on behalf of the company and board. The latter included a number of development projects valued at 45 million dollars. These included the expansion and renovation of the undergraduate college, and the development of the new innovative residential community, New College Village. This opened in 2009 and is now home to 315 postgraduate students from over 40 nations. The latter has set new standards for accommodation across the university sector.

He has been recognised as a leader across the sector due to his innovation at the University of New South Wales. His leadership was recognised in 2012 when he was made Honorary Life Fellow of the University of NSW Australia ‘for conspicuous continued involvement in support of the interests and welfare of the university’. As well, he was awarded a Life Fellowship of University Colleges Australian in 2016 in recognition of his ‘outstanding and meritorious service’.

As an academic, Professor Cairney has been a researcher and writer on education, training and regional development. His qualifications include B.A., M.Litt (UNE), PhD (Newcastle), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD). His 200+ publications are well cited internationally and his research projects have attracted over three million dollars in competitive funding.

He is based in Sydney and has university affiliations with the University of New South Wales Australia as a Life Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Education, and the University of Sydney where he is an Honorary Professor within the Faculty of Education & Social Work.

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