About us and our team


Fortress Learning is a privately owned Registered Training Organisation (RTO) dedicated to supporting and creating training professionals.

We are committed to our work and believe strongly in the importance of education and the potential it can instil in every individual.

Fortress Learning is a privately owned Registered Training Organisation (RTO) with registration number 31974. Our registration details are publicly available through www.training.gov.au.

All of the qualifications that are listed in this website are on our Scope of Registration, meaning that our courses are nationally recognised as part of the National Skills Framework, and that they adhere to the requirements of the VET Quality Framework.

Why we do it? 

Philosophically, we believe that as a business as a part of a progressive liberal democracy, we have a duty to uphold basic rights. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights makes clear that education should be made “generally available … and equally accessible to all on the basis of merit”. It is with this philosophy in mind that we approach training.

Personally, we are a family-owned business whose owners like to sleep soundly at night.  That means we take care to deliver on our promises, and focus on developing sustained quality service rather than on generating short-term returns to invisible shareholders.

Introducing our people

Fortress Learning has a simple approach to staffing – find the best person for the job and connect with them using the tools that are available.

And when it comes to finding the best person, we don’t just go for people who look good on paper or who can talk the talk; we want people who genuinely care.

It is with this philosophy that we have expanded to have staff in a number of Australian states and other countries.

Instead of bricks and mortar, we invest in time and communications. We might be far apart, but experience tells us we are a more closely connected team than many organisations who share the same physical location. We meet at 11:07am every Tuesday and Friday no matter where we might be in the world, and most of us perform multiple roles.

Being a learning organisation, all staff are engaged in continuous formal and informal learning. Our staff are arranged with a single aim in mind, and our organisational chart bears out our commitment to student learning.

Introducing our team.

Bryan West – Founder

Bryan HeadshotFrom an early age, Bryan enjoyed exploring the natural world. As he moved from poking around puddles with a stick, he moved to an interest in hiking, cycle-touring and kayaking. It was while bumbling his way through a Bachelor of Science degree at the Australian National University that Bryan discovered the light bulb moment that comes from learning something new.

After moving to Sydney Bryan discovered that what he liked most was teaching. Community and corporate education, and working in TAFE, was followed by a series of cycling trips in Asia.

Not surprisingly, his twin interests in teaching and the world led to a decision to teach high school Geography. After moving to Brisbane to study education at University of Queensland, Bryan met his wife, Amy and together they moved to north Queensland. It was here that Bryan gained significant senior leadership experience and completed a Doctor of Philosophy, exploring whether assumptions about the value of technology to learning were reflected in students’ own experiences. Several publications and conference presentations related to this and other work-based studies have cemented his interest in reflective practice.

It was also while in north Queensland that Bryan met Chris. After early forays into swollen rivers in inflatable boats, they cycled west and south as part of a somewhat ludicrous attempt at a trans-continental odyssey. While they didn’t make it out of the state, they did share many ideas, and established the foundation from which Fortress Learning has emerged.

Bryan balances his work life with a range of community and personal interests, and cherishes more than anything else the time he spends with his family.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Education
  • Bachelor of Science
  • AICD Company Directors Course
  • Certificate IV in Training & Assessment
  • Diploma of Training Design & Development
  • Diploma of Vocational Education & Training | Diploma of Training & Assessment
  • Diploma of Business | Management | Business Administration
  • Certificate IV in Business (Governance)
  • Permaculture Design Certificate

Memberships

  • Associate Fellow, Australian Institute of Management
  • Member, Australian College of Educators
  • Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Member, Family Business Australia
  • Member, The Moral Fair Ground
  • Member, Vocational Education Learning Group
  • Life Member, Fair Share International

Emma Siebuhr – National Training Manager

Location – Toowoomba, Queensland

Emma joined the Fortress Learning family in 2014, after having children and wanting to get involved with the workforce again. With a background in more traditional educational methods, Emma has really enjoyed being a part of the innovative world of an online training platform. Emma enjoys getting to work with students from a range of backgrounds and social settings, from people who have no qualifications and are unsure about what training is, to university lecturers who are experienced in the field. Emma keeps busy on the weekend with her 6 and 7 year old, visiting family on the Queensland coast.

Qualifications

  • BA Hons Literature
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • Diploma of Training, Design and Development
  • Diploma of Leadership & Management

Amy Weeks – National Operations Manager

Location – Toowoomba, Queensland

Amy_headshot_BWAmy has been with Fortress Learning since its foundation, and has enjoyed her role as Operations Manager since 2017. She is a strong advocate for online learning’s capacity for engaging and contextualised one-on-one learning between trainer and student. Amy involved herself in the VET industry because she enjoys exploring ideas and working with people – and learning is very much about relationships and trust. Amy believes that online learning doesn’t have to be (or feel) isolated and embeds this throughout Fortress Learning’s operational approach. Prior to this, Amy was a secondary school teacher in English and Drama.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Education
  • Certificate IV in Training & Assessment

Bheng Felisilda Celon – Lead TA | Receptionist

Location – Manila, Philippines

Bheng has been with Fortress Learning since 2010 and has enjoyed working her way in the organization from full time receptionist to the lead Trainers Assistant. Previous to Fortress, Bheng worked in a call centre as a support person for eBay and has also been an executive assistant to many business people. Bheng enjoys the family environment that has been created at Fortress and appreciates how understanding Bryan and the team are – giving flexibility of working from home, so Bheng is able to balance family life with her two boys.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts

Currently studying

  • Certificate IV in Training & Assessment

Odeza Parangalan Tadoyo – Reception | Trainers’ Assistant

Location – Bulacan, Philippines

Odeza enjoys being a part of the Fortress team as it is allows her to work online, while being at home and close to her children. Odeza has fond memories of joining the Fortress Team and being welcomed by the entire staff who have continued to be warm, supportive and helpful.. Outside of Fortress Learning Odeza enjoys keeping busy with her three boys and travelling.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts major in Mass Communications

Eunice Manugas Faustino – Accounts and Admin Officer

Location – Cebu, Philippines

Eunice has been with Fortress Learning since she retired from teaching Mathematics in 2010 to join us and further her interest in e-Learning and business administration.  Like many of our multi-skilled people, Eunice has enjoyed many roles across administration, support, assessment and accounting.  Eunice believes that education and technology work best together, and shares this through development opportunities she hosts for teachers in the areas of Education and Technology. During her free time, Eunice enjoys studying the stock and currency markets and listening to audio-books.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Education major in Institutional Planning
  • Master of Education major in Educational Management
  • Master in Science Teaching major in Mathematics
  • Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (Aus)
  • Certificate in Xero Accounting (Aus)
  • Certificate in Xero Payroll (Aus)

Currently studying

  • Diploma of Business Administration (Aus)
  • Certificate IV in Bookkeeping (Aus)

Karenn Octubre – Reception | Trainers’ Assistant

Location –  Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

Karenn joined Fortress in mid 2018, after working as a nurse for 3 years. Like many people, Karenn’s first forays into the Australian VET sector have pushed her into a whole new world, with its own rules and unique language! “I joined Fortress Learning to go outside of my comfort zone and to be able to explore the things I never thought I could do.”

Karenn’s natural instinct to support people and her vibrant personality make her ideal as a Trainers’ Assistant. She loves new challenges, assisting others in traversing new things and hanging out with her dogs, Dory and Princess. We’re all delighted to have Karenn as part of our team.

 

 

 

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Maniya Ongpauco – Assessor

Location –  Toowoomba, Queensland

Maniya is a passionate and dedicated educator, trainer and administrator with eleven years’ experience specialising in industrial/product design, visual communication, and graphic design in international design schools in higher and vocational education.

Fortress is priviledged to have her as an Assessor. Outside of work, Maniya manages a small business designing handmade polymer clay jewellery accessories. She enjoys going to the gym, swimming, cycling, photography, calligraphy and botanical painting.

Qualifications

  • Master of Science in Smart Product Design
  • Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design
  • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (TAE50116)
  • Diploma of Training Design and Development (TAE50216)
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40110/TAE40116)

Currently studying

  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Certificate IV in Small Business Management (BSB42515)

Deb Thomas – Assessor

Location –  Brisbane, Queensland

Deb ThomasDeb joined the Fortress Team in 2019. Deb’s background before having children was as a Registered Nurse and Midwife in Brisbane. Whilst her three sons were growing up she engaged in community volunteer work, in particular within schools and a local kindergarten where she was eventually employed as an Administration Officer gaining her Cert IV in Finance Bookkeeping. After completing her Cert IV TAE in 2015, she commenced training First Aid face to face; a role that Deb loves. Being involved in training led Deb to complete her Dual Diplomas in TAE. She has trained TAE via Zoom as well as assisted students with their online TAE journey. Her passion is to help people, and Deb really enjoys engaging in personal interaction with her students and assisting them to achieve their goals. In addition to this, Deb is an Authorised Marriage and Funeral Celebrant and has performed over 200 Ceremonies. In her down time, Deb enjoys meeting with friends, reading or just relaxing with a good movie, and still isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up.

Qualifications

  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • Diploma of Training Design and Development
  • Certificate IV in Leadership and Management
  • Authorised Registered Marriage Celebrant
  • Certificate IV Finance Bookkeeping
  • Certificate III in Basic Health Care
  • Certificate in Nursing RN and RM
  • Justice of the Peace Qualified QLD

Cory Sabela – Admin / Trainers’ Assistant

Location –  Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines

Cory is always looking for new challenges. Before joining Fortress, Cory worked as a sales representative, MC and event organizer, and has now dived into the waters of the VET industry with enthusiasm and positivity. In her free time, Cory enjoys a good book, singing along to her favourite tunes and cooking (sweets being a particular specialty of hers). We are privileged to have such a bright and effervescent addition to the Fortress team!

 

 

 

 

Qualifications

  •  Bachelor of Science majoring in Food Science and Technology.

Seminars and Certificates

  • Mushroom picking
  • Health and sanitation for food handlers

Tammy Balzer – Student Support

Location –  Toowoomba, Queensland

Tammy joined the Fortress Learning Team in the role of Student Support in 2019.
Prior to this, she enjoyed working as a teacher’s aide with primary school students.
She has engaged in tertiary study in the fields of theology, education, literature and theatre, and draws upon her experience completing her Bachelor of Ministry online in supporting Fortress Learning students with their own online study journey.
Tammy is passionate about sustainability and enjoys learning about and experimenting with new ways to tread lightly on the earth.

Qualifications

+ Bachelor of Ministry
+ Associate Degree in Education Studies

 

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