WHAT A MILESTONE! Bronwyn Jaques, Garry Kinnon, John Sefton, Kev Hacker and Aunty Denise cut the cake.
WHAT A MILESTONE! Bronwyn Jaques, Garry Kinnon, John Sefton, Kev Hacker and Aunty Denise cut the cake. Amelia Ahern

TAFE celebrates 125 great years

BALLOONS, a cake topped with candles and decorative icing and a gathering of distinguished guests marked the celebration of 125 years of technical training in Central Queensland at Emerald's TAFE.

It all started in 1889 when the Rockhampton Technical College opened its doors.

Going from strength to strength, colleges popped up in Mackay, Gladstone and Emerald, and later joined Rockhampton to become an Institute of TAFE in 1994.

The 125th birthday was particularly special for institute director Garry Kinnon, who said he would reflect on TAFE training and take a trip down memory lane with the friends he made along the way.

"It's really a celebration of what it means to the community and how the community has evolved and have embraced technical training over that period of time," Mr Kinnon said.

"If you can imagine, we have parents who have gone through the TAFE and have known teachers well… then their children go through TAFE, and some have even had the same teachers."

David Marteene trained through CQ TAFE and has gone on to open his own business Clermont Motors, with his wife Tracey.

"I always wanted to be a mechanic," Mr Marteene said.

"I've also done some machining, welding and air-conditioning courses through TAFE."

He extended his congratulations to the TAFE campus on reaching this milestone.

"I've sent 10 apprentices over to Emerald in the last 10 years," he said.

"I'm really happy with the skills they come out with.

"They get trained by some really experienced teachers and they get a good balance."

Another great perk of TAFE is the contacts and friendships, he said.

"There are three guys I went through TAFE with that are back in Clermont now," Mr Marteene said.

Emerald TAFE has strong enrolment figures.

Mr Kinnon said there were 100 apprentices across all trades.

On July 1, the institute will merge with CQUniversity.

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