National TAFE Day 2020
TAFE is about so much to me. It’s about opportunity. For me that came when I enrolled at Granville TAFE in my early 20s to complete high school. It was time for me to get serious about pursuing my passion – trade unionism and social justice. Being in the classroom as an adult, taught by exceptional, committed teachers was – put simply - life changing.
TAFE for me is a family affair. My brothers both did their apprenticeships at TAFE, my inspirational aunt, Kaye Schofield, served for many years pursuing equity in vocational education and training, my niece just completed a course; while my nephews have followed in their father’s footsteps in the trades. Even my mum benefitted from a welcome escape from the family when she enrolled in an art course in the 1970s. I regret that my brothers and I were not kind about her talents!
For three years I was privileged to serve on the TAFE NSW Board, where I and other board members worked hard to advance TAFE as a vital public institution. Over the years, multiple governments have tried to undermine TAFE, and to break this foundational institution. But not quite – because so many of us will keep fighting for TAFE to ensure the opportunities we had extend to others.
Now more than ever, TAFE is about the future.
President of the United Workers Union