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Students of TAFE NSW Wyong, Gosford and Ourimbah campuses donned academic gowns alongside their university peers for the prestigious annual graduation ceremony at the TAFE NSW and University of Newcastle Central Coast Campus on Thursday, 6 July.


More than 40 TAFE NSW Diploma students graduated alongside 1,000 University of Newcastle students.


TAFE NSW Regional General Manager North, Elizabeth McGregor, said the relationship between TAFE NSW and the University of Newcastle had created many educational pathways for new and continuing students.


“Now in its 29th year, this partnership enables and empowers people of all ages and backgrounds to use tertiary education as a springboard to success without having to leave the Central Coast,” said Ms McGregor.


Diploma of Community Services graduate, Lara McCartin gave the graduate address, sharing her experience at TAFE NSW. Ms McCartin began studying community services after her father passed-away and the birth of her son who is now eight.


“I always had an interest in working in a helping profession. My father’s passing, after being unwell for a number of years, was a catalyst for my decision. I just thought, you only have one life, why not do what you love,” Ms McCartin said.


Since commencing study, Lara has secured employment with two local community services organisations, work she says is very rewarding. Among those in the graduation crowd will be Lara’s son, who she admits is one of her biggest supporters.


“You have to be really passionate about this type of work. The job can be quite a challenge but the good results you get from working with clients are definitely worth it. I’m nearly 38 years of age and my aim now is to work toward a degree by the time I’m 40,” she said.


Since completing a Diploma at TAFE NSW last year, Ms McCartin has commenced a Bachelor of Social Science (Welfare) at Charles Stuart University​.​