Nhulunbuy applauds vocational students


Director VET Programs Dennis Tonkin (left) congratulates students from the Agrifood Operations and Hospitality courses.

Charles Darwin University’s annual presentation event in Nhulunbuy last week provided a distraction to students in a town that is adjusting to news that the nearby alumina refinery will be closing.

About 70 people gathered at the Walkabout Lodge on 29 November to celebrate with some of the 168 students who completed qualifications in a variety of vocational disciplines during the year.

Campus Administrator Wendy Gordon said there had been fears that a community meeting in the Town Hall, which was taking place at the same time, may have adversely affected attendance at the presentation ceremony.

“But that didn’t happen. The attendance exceeded our expectations, which was gratifying for our students and an endorsement for the rest of the university community in Nhulunbuy,” Ms Gordon said.

The resources company Rio Tinto, also on November 29, announced that it would move to suspend alumina production at Gove, having determined that the refinery was not viable in the current market.

Reports say the closure is expected to mean the loss of an estimated 1000 jobs in the town of 4000 people.

Ms Gordon said that despite the uncertainties, CDU was committed to adapting to the region’s circumstances.

“We will continue to deliver training and provide support to students in 2014.”

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