TAFE at the top of the tree

HUNTER products Jennifer Hawkins, Kurt Gidley, Brett Graham, Melinda Smith, Grant Walmsley and Kyle Loades have more than just their home town in common.

The region's icons are also all Hunter TAFE alumni.

The Hunter Institute wants to link graduates of all calibres through an alumni association and promote the work of TAFE at the same time.

Co-ordinator Sandra Ruddock said they were one of the few TAFEs to initiate an alumni association, traditionally the preserve of universities and private schools.

The association has already attracted 600 members.

Ms Ruddock said the association aimed to build a bridge between current students, teachers and graduates to harness their industry experience.

They also wanted to promote successful everyday graduates who were stand-outs in their fields.

The association will plan a series of networking events including breakfasts, alumni awards and a business directory and will have branches and chapters.

"Experienced alumni will also be a resource and talent pool for faculties and staff, returning to Hunter TAFE as casual teachers, guest speakers or committee members," she said.

The association will kick off with an alumni cocktail party later in the year.

Inquiries: 4923 7706

Do you know a famous TAFE graduate? news@theherald.com.au

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