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

Penny Cleland

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.

Melissa van der Boom

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 in Training and Assessment (TAE40110)
  • Diploma of Vocational Education and Training
  • Diploma of Training Design and Development
  • Certificate III in Captive Animals
  • Certificate III in Tour Guiding and Directing
  • Certificate III in Tourism
  • Diploma of Travel & Tourism
  • Blue card for Child Related Employment
  • HTLAID003 Provide First Aid

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,

Bronwen Gratton

Bronwen Gratton

Trainer and Assessor

Bronwen Gratton has been based in Cairns for the past 14 years and has two adult sons who live in Adelaide. She recently returned to the CaPTA Group after spending the previous 6 years working for Deadly Success as Head Trainer.


  • Certificate IV in Business BSB40101
  • Certificate IV in Tourism SIT40207
  • Certificate III in Hospitality SIT30707
  • HLTFA311A – Apply First Aid
  • SITHFAB009B – Responsible Service of Alcohol

Prior to this, Bronwen worked extensively in the Travel / Tourism industry. Roles within this industry have included International Travel Consultant, Airport Officer (responsible for all aspects of fight arrival and departure procedures), Manager of a large regional information centre (responsible for all centre operations including training & supervisions of 6 staff and 30 volunteers), and Manager of group of 3 retail tour outlets for the CaPTA Group.

Bronwen grew up on Groote Eylandt, NT and returned there in 2000 to live and work in Angurugu Aboriginal Community. Her experience working in the school system in South Australia gave her the skills required to work at the community school – working 1 on 1 with a young hearing impaired boy teaching him sign language and tutoring a small group of older girls (14 – 19 yrs) to encourage them to continue their schooling. As a qualified swimming instructor, regular swimming lessons were arranged for local children to attend with transport provided to the local pool in Alyangula.

Whilst living in Bidyadanga Aboriginal Community, WA she worked as an In Home Practical Support Officer, providing programs for the women of the community aimed at promoting better eating habits and making better choices. She also worked as Council Office Manager and was responsible for Accounts Payable / Receivable and CDEP Payroll.

Other work / life experiences have included Restaurant Manager, Bar Manager, Hotel Cook & Canteen Manager Owner / Manager of Swim School, Swim Instructor (for people with intellectual and physical disabilities), School Services Officer.

Bronwen’s future pathway includes expanding her knowledge of indigenous culture and assisting people in discovering their own pathway forward while broadening her scope of skills and knowledge to assist with future programs.

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