Manufacturing News, New South Wales

Tens of thousands more fee-free TAFE places for NSW

The Federal and NSW governments announced a further 147,400 fee-free TAFE places will be available in NSW over the next three years, giving more people the opportunity to study for future jobs in areas where the economy needs them most.

The places are made possible through Commonwealth Government funding of $130 million, as the governments partner-up to address persistent skills shortages.

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:

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

Fee-Free TAFE has resulted in considerable savings for students in NSW.

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.

Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor spoke about the announcement.

“Fee-Free TAFE and VET has been such a success that the Albanese Government is committing to a further 300,000 places starting next year, with 147,400 of those places in NSW,” he said.

“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.

“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,” O’Connor said.

The investment comes less than a month after a national agreement between the Albanese and Minns governments was reached that will unlock billions of dollars to build the skills and prosperity of NSW.

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

NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan further explained what the announcement would mean for the state.

“This is great news for anyone who’s been thinking of trying vocational education and training in NSW – they now have the opportunity to upskill for free in industries aligned to priority skill areas,” he said.

“And if you’re studying the 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.

“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,” Whan explained

The Federal government is prepared to invest $3.8 billion, to support the NSW government to expand and transform access to the VET sector, support quality training and implement reforms to address critical skills needs.

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