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My family are all tradies - I know TAFE isn't what it used to be and I know why

4 0 0
14.09.2019

I come from a family of tradies.

My dad was a brickie. His dad was in the building game. As far as the eye can see in our family tree, on my dad's side, are brickies, chippies, gyprockers, a sparkie or two, labourers, mechanics and builders. All blokes, of course. We're talking about history here.

My three brothers are tradies, or once were tradies. Two of my three sons went through vocational training. My middle son went to TAFE when training to be a chef, and went again a decade later when he made the switch to become a carpenter.

TAFE colleges have been invaluable in helping many people start their careers. Picture: Louise Kennerley

My youngest son was a mechanic for a few years before doing a teaching degree and working with challenging teens.

My eldest son owns a cafe and employs apprentices working their way through TAFE.

I went to TAFE years ago to learn typing and shorthand as a cadet journalist. I went again with two of my sisters some time later for a semester of learning how to do basic sewing. Why I did that is lost in the mists of time. I'm rubbish at anything crafty. Possibly, I was there because I was the only one with a driver's licence.

All I can remember is sitting in the back of the class where everyone else seemed proficient, and being banned from using sewing machines by myself because my threading skills were crap and I snapped way too many needles.

The other thing I remember clearly from that time is the first name of the woman who tried to teach us how to sew, and the pained expression and little sigh she gave every time I put my hand up for help. That's not a complaint, by the way. I would........

© Canberra Times