About Us

Careers Training Centre operates as a subdivision of the CaPTA Group. The CaPTA Group operates a group of companies which includes highly successful tourist operations in and around Cairns and Far North Queensland. Locally owned and operated by the Woodward family of Cairns, CaPTA stands for Cairns and Port Trips and Attractions. Careers Training Centre offers national recognised courses in Captive Animals, Hospitality and Tourism. These courses are innovative and rewarding and students are encouraged to reach their maximum potential. This is achieved through the specifically designed course content which provides students with the opportunity for practical, creative and technical advancement. Careers Training Centre was established to meet industry demands and training is conducted at sites and venues that suit the student and the employer and to best meet the current and future needs of the industry. Learning that challenges the learner and adds to the business are part of industry based learning that is Careers Training Centre. Flexibility, equity and customer service orientation are central to our core values and beliefs that create the environment for students to excel. Click to view our Audit Report: Audit Report 2014

Peter Woodward

Managing Director

Born and bred in Cairns, Peter and his family have operated tourism attractions in the region since 1976. As a result, he has developed extensive work experience in the tourism sector since an early age. Peter attended the University of Queensland and completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) and commenced his professional career in the Finance industry. In 2004, Peter returned to Cairns and was appointed General Manager of the CaPTA Group (CaPTA) operated entities RnR White Water Rafting and Jungle Tours & Trekking. Peter held this position for a period of six years, and in 2006 was appointed a Director of CaPTA. In 2017, Peter was appointed the Managing Director of the CaPTA Group which operates the Registered Training Organisation, Careers Training Centre (CTC); and also Rainforestation, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Wildlife Habitat, Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome, Tropic Wings, Jungle Tours, and ABC Coach Sales dealership throughout the Cairns Region. Peter along with brothers Michael (Projects Director) and Ben (Sales & Marketing Director) now manage the company. Peter is also an active Director on two Boards, which include Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) and Cairns Amateurs Racing on the Reef Carnival.

Penny Cleland

Staff Development Manager

One of the driving forces behind the development of The CaPTA Groups’ Indigenous Employment Program is Staff Development Manager, Penny Cleland.  Joining CaPTA in 2008, Penny has a diverse background in Tourism and Hospitality with experience in both Front Line and Senior Management.   During her career she completed 10 years working for Power Brewing, 6 years working for Fosters and 4 Years with Raging Thunder, 2 of which were spent living and working on Fitzroy Island. During her career Penny spent 10 years living and working in Weipa and became heavily involved in several community projects and committees.  As one of the founding committee members for the Weipa Arts Council, Penny was involved in developing the Weipa Arts Council and remembers a major highlight being when they managed to bring Australian performer John Williamson to Weipa, to perform a concert on the local golf course. In addition, Penny served 10 years on the committee of ‘Cape Women Meet’.  This unique committee brought together women in remote areas from Torres Strait through to Cooktown.  A major achievement for Penny was her role as President of the ‘Cape Women Meet’ committee at the time of winning the QLD Reconciliation Award for best community group for reconciliation.  As part of this role, she sat on several government committees striving to look at future direction and government policies for the far northern region. Penny is currently an active member of the QLD Tourism Industry Council Indigenous Champions and is passionate that the greater tourism and hospitality industry have access to and participate in relevant, quality and flexible training.  As part of her role with CaPTA, Penny manages Careers Training Centre (CTC) to meet this need in the community.

Penny’s qualifications include:
  • Certificate IV Training & Assessing TAE40110
  • Diploma if Vocational Education and Training TAE50111
  • Diploma of Training, Design and Development TAE50211
  • Diploma of Hospitality Management SIT50416
  • Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management SIT50116
  • Diploma of Management BSB51107
  • Rehabilitation and Return to Work Coordinator 30782QLD
  • Diploma of Human Resources BSB50607
  • Blue Card
  • Melissa Van der Boom

    Administration Coordinator | Trainer & Assessor

    Melissa Van der Boom has a degree of Bachelor of Science with Second Class Honours having followed an approved Honours programme in Environmental Biology as well as completing:
    • Certificate IV Training & Assessing TAE40110
    • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training TAE50111
    • Diploma of Training, Design and Development TAE50211
    • Certificate II in Animal Studies ACM20117
    • Certificate III in Captive Animals ACM30317
    • Certificate IV in Captive Animals ACM40217
    • Certificate III in Tourism SIT30116
    • Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management SIT50116
    • First Aid HLTAID003
    • Blue Card
    Melissa also has a Statement of Attainment for the Wet Tropic World Heritage Tour Guide Skill Set for the units:
    • SITTDGE006A – Prepare and present tour commentaries or activities
    • SITTGDE008A – Research and share general information on Australian Indigenous Culture
    • SITTGDE010A – Prepare specialised interpretive content on flora, fauna and landscape
    Melissa has 17 years industry experience working in a Captive Animal environment and was the Wildlife Supervisor for the Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome for 9 years.  Melissa meets regularly with the wildlife parks and staff including Rainforestation, Wildlife Habitat, Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome and Australian Butterfly Sanctuary.

    Paolo is a true North Queenslander – born and raised in Ingham.  He attended Gilroy Santa Maria College and Ingham State High School and finalized his formal schooling completing a Bachelor of Education Degree in Secondary School Teaching focusing on Italian and Japanese.

    Paolo lived and worked as an English teacher in Tokushima, Japan for 3 years before returning to live in Cairns embarking on his career in Hospitality at the Pacific International Hotel where he worked in reception, F&B, Guest Liaison Officer and Director of sales.  After 7 years with the Kamsler family, he went on to work with Daikyo as Director of Sales and Marketing with Great Adventures and Green Island Resort for 3 years and then Quicksilver for a further 18months.

    He then went on to Cairns Colonial Club Resort and Palm Royale Cairns for a further 3 years where he worked as Director of Sales & Marketing.  Paolo then went on to Cairns Plaza Hotel as General Manager and then moved to Darwin where he worked with H Hotel and Oaks Hotel Darwin in an effort to gain exposure to the Corporate market.

    He then moved to Albury where he worked as the General Manager of Mantra Albury Hotel before moving back to North Queensland for personal reasons.

    Paolo comes to the CaPTA Group with the following credentials:

    • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment TAE40116 
    • Bachelor of Education (Sec)
    • NSW Liquor Licensee Course
    • Blue Card Holder (2016339 / 1)
    • Individual Member – China Ready & Accredited
    • Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) SITHFAB201 
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