24 November 2023

Further 147,400 fee-free TAFE places to be made available over the next three years

| Jarryd Rowley
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State and Federal Ministers visiting TAFE NSW

A further 147,400 fee-free positions at TAFE NSW have been made available following the announcement of $130 million of funding from the Commonwealth Government. Photo: Supplied.

Nearly 150,000 people will have the opportunity to study for free at TAFE over the next three years as the State and Federal Governments look to address persistent skills shortages.

The record number of fee-free positions were made available as the Commonwealth Government announced $130 million in funding.

The investment also builds on the success of Fee-Free TAFE in 2023, which attracted record enrolments in NSW. As at 30 June 2023, there were:

  • More than 20,700 enrolments in the care sector
  • More than 6400 enrolments in the technology and digital sector
  • More than 5800 enrolments in the construction sector, and
  • More than 5200 enrolments in agriculture.

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Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor said Fee-Free TAFE and VET had been such a success that the Albanese Government was committing to a further 300,000 places starting next year, with 147,400 of those places in NSW.

“This is a $128.9 million Commonwealth investment in skills and training in NSW and comes in addition to the National Skills Agreement which will see $3.8 billion invested into the state VET sector by the Federal Government,” he said.

“This is what genuine collaboration and partnership can achieve – real results for everyday Australians – and we couldn’t deliver it without the support of the Minns Government.”

Students studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or a Certificate III in School-Based Education Support could save up to $1600, and those looking to build a career pathway through a Certificate III in Individual Support could save up to $1450.

The landmark 5-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) – which will take effect from January next year – was developed under principles agreed by the National Cabinet and will embed national cooperation and strategic investment in the NSW vocational education and training sector.

The Albanese Government is prepared to invest $3.8 billion to support the Minns Government in expanding and transforming access to the VET sector, supporting quality training and implementing reforms to address critical skills needs.

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NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan said the announcement was great news for anyone who’d been thinking of trying vocational education and training in NSW as they now had the opportunity to upskill for free in industries aligned to priority skill areas.

“If you’re studying Certificate III in Civil Construction, you could save up to $2100 in fees. Thousands of NSW students will have more money for essentials because of this initiative,” he said.

Businesses across the state will also find it easier to find the skilled workers they need to fill vacancies – this program supports our state’s economy, our students and our businesses.”

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