Thousands of Australians get their start at TAFE.

Here are some proud graduates of the TAFE system.

Matteo Pignatelli, restaurateur

Matteo_Pignatelli.jpgOver 20 years ago, Matteo opened Melbourne fine dining icon, Matteo's. After working in his parents' takeaway shop, and a stint as a waiter, Matteo completed a Diploma of Business in Hospitality Management in 1989 at the William Angliss Institute. 

Vernon Ah Kee, artist

Vernon_Ah_Kee.jpgVernon Ah Kee is a member of the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji and Gugu Yimithirr peoples. He is best known for his large-scale drawings of his ancestors. Vernon represented Australia at the 2009 Venice Biennale in the group exhibition Once Removed. He attended TAFE in Cairns.


Donna Hay, empire builder

Donna_Hay.jpgFood stylist, author and magazine editor Donna Hay kicked off her varied career path with a home economics course at TAFE. She went on to work in the test kitchen at the Australian Women's Weekly and is now one of the most recognised names in Australian cookery.




Susan Kiefel, Chief Justice

Susan_Kiefel.jpgSusan Kiefel was made Australia's first female Chief Justice of the High Court in January 2017. Prior to studying law, Justice Kiefel undertook secretarial training at Kangaroo Point Technical College.  She also completed high school at nightschool whilst working. 



Alick Tipoti, artist

Alick_Tipoti.jpgAlick Tipoti is a world renowned professional artist from Badu Island in the Torres Strait. Alick completed an Advanced Diploma at TAFE on Thursday Island, before continuing his studies on the mainland.  Check out his amazing rooftop installation in Morocco here.




Lisa Ho, fashion designer

Lisa_Ho.jpgThe Fashion Design Studio at Sydney TAFE is recognised as one of the premier design studios in Australia and around the world. It's alumni looks like a who's who list of Australian fashion, and includes the acclaimed designer, Lisa Ho.

Paul Keating, Prime Minister

Paul_Keating1.jpgAfter leaving school at 15, Paul Keating later went back to complete his HSC at TAFE. He went on to become an MP, Treasurer and then Prime Minister of Australia.





Jamie Durie, gardener

Jamie_Durie.jpgJamie studied CIV in Horticulture & Landscape Design at TAFE. Since then he has become a TV presenter, and won a number of awards including at the Chelsea Flower Show. "Ryde TAFE has produced some of Australia's top horticulturalists, and their reputation speaks for regrets and nothing but positive memories of my time at Ryde TAFE."

Rebecca Clark, costumier

2015_12_18_Got_My_Start_Rebecca_Clark.pngRebecca Calrk studied Fashion, textiles and Garment Construction at the Moreton Institute of TAFE in Queensland. You may have seen Rebecca's work in the recent film The Dressmaker where she worked on the underpinnings and corsetry.





Augie March, band

2015_12_10_Augie_March_Got_My_Start.jpgIndie darlings Augie March formed when Adam Donovan, Edmondo Ammendola and David Williams met at NMIT (now Melbourne Polytechnic) and joined forced with university students Glenn Richards and Kiernan Box. Check out Stop TAFE Cuts HQ's favourite track Here Comes The Night.

George Gittoes, artist and film maker

GeorgeGittoes.jpgGeorge Gittoes is an artist and film maker who has worked around the world. He was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2015 for "for enlivening the creative spirit to promote tolerance, respect and peace with justice." George studied at the St George School of Fine Art, part of Sydney TAFE.



Lanie Lane, singer/songwriter

Lanie_Lane.jpgLanie studied music at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney. From TAFE she had gone on to release two critically acclaimed albums, successfully toured internationally, and even opened for Jack White (of The White Stripes) in Sydney. Check out Stop TAFE Cuts HQ's favourite track What Do I Do?



Karla Spetic, fashion designer

Karla_Spetic.jpgKarla is one of a growing list of ultra-cool alumni from the Fashion Design Studio at Ultimo TAFE.  She moved from Queensland to attend TAFE in Sydney noting  “I was so excited but it didn’t dawn on me until I went into my first class just how lucky I was."

Wendy Harmer, writer

Wendy-Harmer.jpgWendy's writing career started at the Gordon Institute in Geelong studying a three year course in "Vocational Writing". After a stint at the Geelong Advertiser, Wendy had a career change and became a stand-up comedian. She now curates The Hoopla, a news and opinion website "through the eyes of women". 



Ian Kiernan, environmentalist and builder

Ian_Kiernan.jpgIan Kiernan is the Australian environmentalist behind the Clean Up Australia campaign which started in Sydney in 1989. Ian originally trained as a builder at Sydney Technical College.






Mervyn Bishop, photographer

Mervyn_Bishop.jpgMervyn studied photography at Sydney Technical College. His career has included many achievements including Australian News Photographer of the year in 1971. He is best known for his iconic photo of Gough Whitlam pouring soil into the hands of Vincent Lingiari. 



Emma Mulholland, fashion designer

Emma_Mulholland.jpgEmma studied fashion design at Ultimo TAFE. The young designer's label has blossomed with stockists around Australia and in New York, and rave reviews for her SS13/14 collection. Her bold, bright designs have been championed by the likes of Kanye West, Azealia Banks, Grimes, M.I.A. and Kimbra.




Sian Prior, writer, musician and broadcaster

Sian_Prior.jpgSian has both studied and taught at TAFE.

Of TAFE she says "TAFE courses are not a luxuty to be tirmmed out of existence when you're in belt-tightening mode. TAFE courses are a vital part of our education system, our economy and our culture."

 Dave Oliver, Secretary, ACTU


"TAFE was a big part of my life. It's where I earned my apprenticeship. It's where many of our kids will develop their skills for the future too. 

We need our state governments to be investing in our TAFE system, its teachers and students - not making cuts."


Amy Sheppard, musician

Amy_Sheppard.jpgWhilst studying music at Southbank Institute of TAFE, Amy wrote a song and recruited her brother George for harmonies - and the band "Sheppard" was born. Now with 6 members they recently enjoyed 3 weeks at number one on the ARIA charts with their second single "Geronimo".



J'Aton Couture, designers

jAton.jpgJ'Aton Couture is a Melbourne-based couture house established by Jacpb Luppino and Anthony Pittorino. Both are graduates of the Melbourne College of Textiles which was subsumed into RMIT. J'Aton has been worn by celebrities like Rebecca Judd right through to Beyonce.



Shaun Edwards, fashion designer

Shaun_Edwards.jpegShaun belongs to the Kokoberrin people of the Cape York peninsula and studied visual arts at the Far North Queensland Institute of TAFE. Shaun's most recent project is the new swimwear brand Wild Barra. You can read more about Shaun here.




Adam Moore, chef

Adam_Moore.jpeg"TAFE gave me a thirst for unlocked my creativeness and really got me passionate about what I am doing right now. And if it wasn't for TAFE, I wouldn't be in the position that I'm in; I wouldn't have had the experiences I've had. TAFE offers so much."

Kevin Kitchener, barrister

KevinKitchener.jpgKevin Kitchener was one of the first Aboriginal members of the NSW Bar and a long-time champion of justice for Aboriginal people. After leaving school early, Kevin completed his HSC at Grafton TAFE before completing his law degree at UNSW.

Jon Faine, broadcaster

JonFaine.jpgJon Faine is best known as an ABC radio broadcaster.  When off air he is a car enthusiast. In 2005 he undertook study in mechanical engineering technology at NMIT to be able to machine parts for the old cars he works on in his spare time.





Claire Atkin, potter

Claire_Atkins.jpg"My lecturer, Peter Travis, told me that if I was serious about clay, I had to go to TAFE. That's where all the serious potters were. Ever since I have continued to study ceramics and pottery at a TAFE wherever I have lived."

Beastman, illustrator

Beastman.jpgBrad Eastman (Beastman) is a multi-disciplinary artist who studied Graphic Design at Hornsby TAFE. "I was always into art and drawing from a young age, so it was a natural progression for me to study graphic design at TAFE straight out of high school."

Scott Cam, carpenter

Scott_Cam.jpgScott Cam is now best known as a television personality from hit TV shows Backyard Blitz and The Block. Prior to his television career, Scott was a carpenter and did his apprenticeship through TAFE. "My apprenticeship was one of the best things I ever did!"

Brett Graham, chef


Brett Graham began his cooking career at the Hunter Institute of TAFE in Newcastle. He is now Head Chef at The Ledbury in London. The Ledbury has been awarded two Michelin stars and is ranked number 10 in the world’s top 50 restaurants.




Rone, street artist

Rone.jpgRone studied at TAFE for two years before commencing at RMIT. Originally working mostly with posters and stencils, Rone is now mostly focused on large scale paintings. Hi biggest work to date is the 8 storey mural at pop up restaurant Rue and Co in Collins Street, Melbourne. 




Chris Ebeling, animator

Chris_Ebeling.jpgFormer student and current teacher at Sydney TAFE's Design Centre, Chris was one of a clutch of TAFE graduates who worked on 2014's The Lego Movie. Chris is obviously a proud product of the TAFE system, encouraging young animators to study at "a respected school" and teaching at TAFE "to pass my knowledge on".




Troy Cassar-Daley, musician

Troy_Cassar-Daley.jpgTroy is best known as a musician and songwriter, but before he became a star he studied at TAFE!

"I went to TAFE and really appreciated all the help they gave me. I never ended up as a chef, but I always had another choice!"

Chantelle Ford, milliner

Chantelle_Ford.jpgChantelle is probably most familliar to the general public as co-winner of the TV show The Block in 2014.

Chantelle is also a milliner, who studied at Holmesglen TAFE in Victoria.




Don Burke, horticulturist

Don_Burke.jpgHorticulturist and television personality Don Burke studied at Ryde College of Horticulture.  He also went onto lecture at TAFE.

Among his achievements, Don was a founding member of Greening Australia, has won several Logies and published 14 books.




Toni Jordan, writer

Toni_Jordan.png"My TAFE course was hands-on, practical and intelligent, and taught by experts in the field. It gave me all the skills I need to be a self-employed author."



Sidney Nolan, painter

Sidney_Nolan.jpgSidney Nolan (1917-1992) is one of Australia's most loved artists. He is best known for his stylised Ned Kelly series.

Sidney studied in the Department of Design & Crafts at Prahran Technical College (now part of Swinburne).



Bridget Bodenham, ceramicist

BridgetBodenham.jpgBridget Bodenham is a ceramicist who makes beautiful, earthy pieces - both functional and ornamental. Bridget studies at TAFE in Victoria, and now splits her time between teaching and working in her Hepburn Spring studio. You can check out here work here.




Paul Livingston, writer & comedian


"TAFE trained arts students are an eclectic lot, a classless community who not only add colour and entertainment to our mix, but ideas and innovation as well, with most going on to pull their weight and earn their own modest ekes."

Read Paul's TAFE story here.



Romance Was Born, fashion label

Romance_Was_Born.jpgLuke Sales and Anna Plunkett, the team behind cult fashion label Romance Was Born, met at TAFE while they were both studying fashion design at Ultimo's Fashion Design Studio. Their designs are stocked internationally and have been seen on the likes of Tavi Gevinson and Cate Blanchett. 




Katheryn Leopoldseder, jeweller

Katheryn_Leopoldseder.jpgKatheryn is an internationally recognised contemporary jeweller, artist and designer. She works from the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne creating handmade jewellery. You can check out her work here. Katheryn studied gold and silversmithing at RMIT.




Akira Isogawa, fashion designer

Akira_Isogawa.jpgAkira studied at East Sydney College.

Of his fashion head teacher Nicholas Huxley Akira commented "When I first met Nicholas, he told me I had talent and kept insisting it was a fact. His belief in me meant a lot."

Akira's advice: "Don't give up. Keep going. Take the appropriate courses you need. Learn your craft!"

Anna Howard, cinematographer

AnnaHoward.jpgAnna studied cinematography at North Sydney TAFE. She has gone on to work in films and television in both Australia and internationally.  Anna's work includes Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger; South Solitary; Girl in a Mirror; and several episodes of ABC's Rake.

Tracey Moffatt - artist

traceymoffatt.jpgTracey is an internationally renowned artist. Her works are held in the collections of many major galleries including the Tate, the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA, and the National Gallery of Australia. Tracey studied at the Queensland College of Art in the early 80s.




Gerda van Hamond, weaver

GerdaVanHamond.jpgGerda began her art education at TAFE in Warrnambool. She has studied both tapestry and painting. Gerda works on a large loom to create large, colourful tapestries. Internationally renound, Gerda's work is held in private collections around the world, and major art galleries.




Chris Cheney, musician

Chris_Cheney.jpgChris Cheney studied jazz at the Box Hill Institute of TAFE in the early 90s. He went on to front the successful Australian band The Living End. Career highlights have included an APRA Award in 2009 for song of the year, as well as a string of Top 20 hits in the 90s and 00s.




Barry Patenaude, artist

Barry_Patenaude.jpgBarry completed a Diploma of Architectural Technology at TAFE and worked as an architectural draftsman for the best part of a decade. He is now pursuing a career in illustration. His first exhibition in 2011 explored mundance household objects and rituals. This has been echoed in his Beers in The Sun series.




Sir Charles Kingsford Smith

Sir_Charles_Kingsford_Smith.jpgAn Australian icon whose achievements include the first trans-pacific flights between the US and Australia, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, as well as serving in both the army and airforce in WWI.  Sir Kingsford Smith studied at the Sydney Technical College, now the Sydney Institute.




Kurt Gidley, NRL player

KurtGidley.jpgKurt is best known for his sporting prowess as a Newcastle Knight, but has also studied butchery at TAFE. Just another example of TAFE providing education and skills throughout a person's life and career changes!





Jordan Askill, designer

Jordan_Askill.jpgJordan studied fashion design at Ultimo TAFE in Sydney. He has gone on to work for labels such as Alexander McQueen, Dior homme and Ksubi. Jodan launched his first jewellery collection at London Fashion Week in 2010. He continues to design jewellery and sculpture.




Catherine Martin, Oscar winner

Catherine_Martin.jpgCatherine Martin has won four Academy Awards for her costume design, production design and art direction for Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby.

Catherine studied pattern cutting at Sydney Institute of TAFE, formerly the East Sydney Technical College.



Jess Wootten, shoemaker

Jess_Wootten.jpgAfter initially working in industrial design for General Motors, Jess is now a second generation shoemaker, and owner and head cobbler of Wootten - a small studio and shop specialising in bespoke shoes and leather goods. Jess studied at NMIT and RMIT.




Guy Grossi, chef

Guy_Grossi.jpgGuy is a famous Australian chef, media personality and author of several cookbooks. Guy has owned and operated Grossi Florentino one of Melbourne's most loved Italian restaurants since 1999. Guy completed his apprenticeship in commercial cookery at Box Hill TAFE in 1984.




Matt Moran, chef

MattMoran.jpgMatt Moran is a chef, TV presenter, restaurateur and author. He studied Commerical Cookery at TAFE Northern Sydney Institute. Matt is still a strong supporter of TAFE - "if we're looking for young apprentices, if they're at TAFENSW... it's definitely going to give them the thumbs up."