Here’s to centenary of activism

Councillors, Life Members and guests of the TAFE Teachers Association came together to celebrate 100 years of activism at the TAFE Teachers Association Centenary Anniversary AGM and dinner on 31 May.

The people of NSW have long benefited from quality, accessible technical public education that allows students to gain employment skills for life. Technical education has been critical to the prosperity of the NSW economy and community development in rural, regional and metropolitan areas. The Association has been a driving force in ensuring students continue to access this vital public education.

The anniversary event was held at The Apprentice Restaurant, a purpose-built training venue at Ultimo TAFE, one of the oldest campuses in NSW. Guests were treated to a stunning three-course meal prepared and served by Ultimo TAFE Food and Beverage students, with entertainment provided by two exceptionally talented TAFE Music students. TAFE Floristry students also showcased their skills with native flower table arrangements.

New TAFE Association Secretary Adam Curlis opened the evening by acknowledging the traditional Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and welcoming more than 70 current and retired TAFE teachers.

The highlight of the night was the TAFE Association Life Membership ceremony, where the following eight outstanding activists from around the state were conferred:

  • Gregory (Greg) Fahey
  • Jennifer Fahey
  • Maree Jaloussis
  • Leanne Kennelly
  • Kathy Nicholson
  • Alexander (Alex) Strachan
  • Kevin Taylor.

The inaugural TAFE Lifetime Achievement award was presented to Pat Forward, former Secretary of the Australian Education Union and a fierce advocate for Australian public education.

The event also honoured retiring TAFE Secretary Astrid O’Neill, who has been actively campaigning for TAFE teachers’ working conditions for decades.

NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron brought his banjo and led attendees in rousing renditions of union songs.

In a special moment, new TAFE Association President Andrew Nichols introduced the TAFE apprentice chefs who prepared the evening’s meal, the front of house students who served guests, as well as their teachers, to guests.

The event was an outstanding success and Federation will continue to campaign for high quality public technical and further education.