17 June 2024

Fee-Free TAFE set to continue for almost 40,000 new apprentices and trainees

| Chris Roe
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Fee-free TAFE is set to continue for apprentices and trainees in critical vocations.

Fee-free TAFE is set to continue for apprentices and trainees in critical vocations. Photo: sturti.

As the flow of pre-budget reveals continues ahead of Tuesday’s (18 June) official announcement, the Minns Government is promising $16.3 million to continue the rollout of fee-free TAFE courses for nearly 40,000 new apprentices and trainees.

It’s estimated that the money will fund more than 20,000 new apprentices and 19,000 trainees, covering up-front costs and student fees across a range of vocational training and education placements.

Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan said it was about addressing skills shortages in “critical sectors supported by apprentices and trainees including housing, construction, manufacturing, childcare, disability and aged care”.

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“We are reducing costs to employers and removing financial barriers for those wanting to move into the skills workforce in highly paid, highly skilled jobs,” he said.

The places will be available to all new apprentices and trainees starting their courses during the next financial year.

Courses in early childhood education, aged care, and disability care remain popular along with retail, hospitality and administration.

Mr Whan said that focussing on critical skills and trades such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical was also an important part of the NSW Government’s housing supply strategy.

“[The government] is trying to overcome the shortage that we have in residential accommodation in NSW and developing the skills to build those houses is a key part of delivering on that commitment,” he said.

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An additional $190.2 million will be allocated to repair and upgrade TAFE NSW campuses across the state including building infrastructure and outdated digital devices.

“In order to attract and retain a skilled workforce in NSW, we know we have to deliver world-class educational facilities,” Mr Whan said.

“We’ll invest in fixing our TAFE NSW infrastructure and expanding the access to Wi-Fi across our regional campuses in order to give our apprentices and trainees the best possible starts to their careers.”

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