The Albanese and Malinauskas Governments will deliver thousands of additional Fee-Free TAFE and VET places for South Australians from January next year, with the partnership continuing to work towards addressing skills shortages and providing training opportunities to Australians.
The investment by the Commonwealth Government of more than $28 million will support 15,000 Fee-Free vocational education and training places from the start of 2024 and builds on the enormous success of Fee-Free TAFE throughout this year.
The announcement continues the genuine collaboration between the Commonwealth and the South Australian governments and will target areas of skills shortage such as early childhood education and care, health care, aged and disability care, technology and digital skills, hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture, vocational and educational training (VET) workforce, and the defence industry.
The Agreement will increase opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups, including First Nations Australians, young people (17-24), people out of work or receiving income support, unpaid carers, women undertaking study in non-traditional fields, people with disability and certain categories of visa holders.
This year saw a strong take-up of Fee-Free places in South Australia, with qualifications in the Care sector, Construction, the Technology and Digital sector and Hospitality and Tourism having the strongest enrolments, adding much-needed skills for these priority industries.
The Fee-Free TAFE initiative has had overwhelming success in its first year exceeding the 180,000-enrolment target by almost 40,000 students, hitting nearly 215,000 enrolments. Around 12,500 of those 215,000 students were in South Australia. Fee-Free TAFE is providing substantial savings to students and providing post-secondary education to students who might not otherwise have had the opportunity to pursue it.
In South Australia, a student studying a Diploma of Nursing could save almost $15,500 over the life of their course while someone studying a Diploma of Community Services could save almost $8,000 ($7,700).
With more and more in demand jobs having VET pathways and the Albanese government funding a further 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE places national from next year, Fee-Free TAFE will continue playing a vital role in plugging skills gaps and helping people into well-paid and secure work.
Over the next five years, it is predicted that nine out of ten jobs will require post-secondary education with half of those jobs requiring vocational training.
Fee-Free TAFE and VET will benefit our economy and give many more Australians access to secure and rewarding careers.
In 2023, Fee-Free training has been available in over 100 courses including a range of qualifications and skill sets with all South Australians eligible to access the program at TAFE SA and training providers.
Quotes from the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor:
“This is what genuine collaboration and partnership can achieve – real results for everyday Australians, for industry and the economy.”
“Fee-Free TAFE and VET has been such a success that we’re committing a further $415 million to deliver an additional 300,000 places nationally beginning next year.”
“A total of 15,000 of the additional Fee-Free TAFE VET places will be delivered in South Australia.”
“Fee-Free training offers a huge cost of living relief for South Australian students, grows the recruitment pool for businesses and eases the skills shortages that hold our economy back.”
Quotes from the South Australian Minister for Education, Training and Skills, the Hon Blair Boyer:
“Fee-Free TAFE is such an important initiative to break down barriers to education and training and make courses more accessible to people who otherwise would not have had the opportunity.
“It has been a gamechanger for South Australians seeking to get the skills they need for a rewarding career – and this additional investment in skills is one of the most significant in our State’s history.
“We promised South Australians we would rebuild TAFE SA and that’s exactly what we are doing with this investment in high-quality training.
“Courses offered through Fee-Free TAFE directly align with areas where we need thousands more highly trained workers, including for the huge projects we will be delivering as a State such as AUKUS, three-year-old preschool and the hydrogen plant.”