The Albanese and Queensland Governments today announced a further 43,400 Fee-Free TAFE places will be available for Queenslanders from January 2024, giving more people the opportunity to skill-up for future jobs in areas where the economy needs them most.
The new places are backed by almost $85 million in Federal Government funding, as the Australian and Queensland governments team-up to tackle skills shortages in the Sunshine State.
The funding builds on the outstanding success of Fee-Free TAFE in 2023, which has seen almost 300,000 Australians enrol to study and train fee-free to 30 September 2023.
According to TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity, more than 65,000 Queenslanders have enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE this year.
With the additional places from 2024 set to target jobs in demand including in the care sector, technology and digital, and hospitality and tourism, this partnership builds on the Queensland Government’s workforce strategy that aims to position it as a world-class economy out to 2032.
Up until 30 September 2023, Fee-Free TAFE enrolments in Queensland have supported:
- Over 9,300 enrolments in the Care sector
- Over 5,200 enrolments in the Construction sector
- Over 3,700 enrolments in the Manufacturing sector, and
- Over 26,200 enrolments in other areas of national and state priority.
In Queensland, 2023’s top Fee-Free TAFE courses to 30 September 2023 were:
- Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician, with over 4,700 enrolments
- Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, with over 3,700 enrolments, and
- Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, with over 2,600 enrolments.
Fee-Free TAFE has resulted in considerable savings for students in Queensland:
- For an eligible individual studying the Certificate III in Individual Support, this could mean a saving of up to $5,685
- For an eligible individual studying the Certificate IV in Cyber Security, this could mean a saving of between $5,840 and $14,545
- For an eligible individual studying the Diploma of Project Management, this could mean a saving of between $5,150 and $11,715
- Students in a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping could save over $1,500
- Students studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care could save almost $1,250, and
- Those looking to build a career pathway through a Certificate III in Business could save almost $800.
This announcement comes in addition to a national agreement between the Albanese and Queensland Governments that will unlock billions of dollars to build the skills and prosperity of the state.
The landmark five-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 the Sunshine State vocational education and training sector.
The Albanese Government is prepared to invest $2.5 billion in the Sunshine State which will expand and transform access to the VET sector, support quality training and implement reforms to address critical skills needs.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills and Training, the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP:
“Fee-Free TAFE has been such a success, the Albanese Government is committing to a further 300,000 places beginning next year, with 43,400 of those places in Queensland.
“This is what genuine collaboration and partnership can achieve – with all levels of government, industry, unions and the VET sector working in lock step we can achieve real results for Australians.
“Queensland is helping train the next generation of workers and it would not be possible without the support of the state government.”
Quotes attributable to Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles:
“Fee-Free TAFE is saving Queenslanders thousands of dollars, at a time when every dollar counts.
“It’s a hallmark policy of our government and one I will continue to champion because it generates a generation of highly skilled workers in areas of demand.
“We know the best measure to tackle national cost of living pressures is for Queenslanders to have good, secure jobs.
“I encourage any person considering further skilling, especially the Class of 2023, to check out which courses are free in 2024 and enrol today.”
Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer:
“This is an almost $85 million investment in skills and training in Queensland, and it will continue to make a real difference. It is changing people’s lives which is why we're teaming up with the Commonwealth to deliver this program.
“We’ve seen Queenslanders embrace the golden opportunity that is Fee-Free TAFE in 2023 to gain new skills and find a job, or to upskill and change careers. Every dollar invested in Fee-Free TAFE can help deliver cost-of-living relief for students.
“Students accessing Fee-Free TAFE will help address Queensland’s current and future workforce needs – responding to the growing workforce demand in areas like Health Care and Social Assistance, Professional, Scientific and Technical Services, and Education and Training.”