CQ TAFE CELEABRATES 125 YEARS: Jacqui Johnston from the Gooreng Gooreng people, inaugural director Kevin Hacker and current director Gary Kinnon.
CQ TAFE CELEABRATES 125 YEARS: Jacqui Johnston from the Gooreng Gooreng people, inaugural director Kevin Hacker and current director Gary Kinnon. Mike Richards

CQ TAFE relives past, looks to the future after 125 years

ONE hundred and twenty-five years after its inception, Central Queenland TAFE celebrated its contribution to training the Gladstone workforce on Tuesday.

Inaugural director of CQ TAFE, Kevin Hacker, said the beauty of TAFE was commitment to servicing local needs.

"It's about allowing people to train for local industry and commerce in their town without having to go away," he said.

The Gladstone campus was established as a vocational education college in the 1980s and became an institute of TAFE in 1994.

"Gladstone (TAFE) specialised in processing manufacturing for the refineries and in the electrical (trades)," said Mr Hacker.

Electrical trades remain strong at Gladstone's TAFE campus, which produces about 900 graduates across all areas of study annually.

Electro-technology student Joshua McNaught is an apprentice at local business Paul Gray Electical, and likes to mix work and study.

"It's a bit of a break from work," he said.

"You think it's a bit of a holiday, but you come here and it's actually a lot of work.

Business administration student 16-year-old Krysta Greer studies concurrently at high school and TAFE.

"When I finish school I want to start a business," said Ms Greer, who valued the independent experience.

"I love having the chance to go do my work on my own and call a teacher when I need it, rather than sitting in a classroom," she said.

TAFE student Kayla Skrinnikoff said her course was giving her experience in business administration.

"I've learned a lot and enjoy it too," said the 16-year-old.

"You learn in different ways here. It's more practical."

TAFE graduate Kirsty Griffin said the teachers were very committed and friendly.

"They go out of their way to contact you if you're stuck," she said.

Ms Griffin now works at TAFE, in client services, and is advancing her training in business administration at the same time.

Peyton Williams, also 16 and studying business administration, said she didn't think university would be for her, as she just wanted to start work when she finished school.

CQ TAFE will merge with CQUniversity on July 1, 2014.

Head of CQUniversity's Gladstone campus, Associate Professor Owen Nevin, attended the TAFE celebration.

He said the TAFE staff had been positive about the merger.

"It's nice to see that at an occasion like this, where people are celebrating this institution's history, that people are so positive about the merger," he said.



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