Release type: Joint Media Release


More Fee-Free TAFE and VET places for Queenslanders in 2023


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
The Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk
Premier of Queensland
The Hon Di Farmer MP
Minister for Employment and Small Business of Queensland
Minister for Training and Skills Development of Queensland

The Australian and Queensland Governments will take immediate action to deliver more Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education places for Queenslanders in 2023.

This ground-breaking 12-month Skills Agreement will inject more than $200 million into the Queensland skills and training sector to support access to over 37,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) places in 2023.

Training through Fee-Free TAFE will help drive enrolments in sectors with recognised skills shortages by matching training identified through the skills priority list.

Fee-Free TAFE in Queensland comes at a crucial time as the State works on strengthening and growing the regional workforce, offering free access to a range of qualifications to support local industry needs, including the Certificate III in Hospitality, Certificate III in Conservation and Ecosystem Management and the Certificate IV in Community Services.

This investment is estimated to also support around 3,000 enrolments in aged care to provide a pathway for new learners to enter this critical industry, including tuition free access to the Certificate III in Individual Support and the Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

VET in Queensland is demand driven, meaning students can enrol in qualifications that best suit them and their local job market. Based on historical enrolments, it is estimated there will be approximately 10,300 Fee-Free places in the care sector, 12,000 places aligned to the technology and digital sectors, 1,600 places in hospitality and tourism, 5,300 places in construction, 900 places in agriculture and 6,900 places in sovereign capability including the manufacturing sector.

The qualifications provided under Fee-Free TAFE reflect the diverse workforce and job opportunities across Queensland’s regions, such as in supporting marine eco-systems, film industry, community services, business, and education. The Fee-Free TAFE program in Queensland will also deliver free qualifications as part of apprenticeships for young people.

Fee-Free TAFE in Queensland will be delivered by TAFE Queensland and Central Queensland University. Under the Agreement $9.68 million will be provided, in matched funding, to TAFE Queensland and Central Queensland University to enable them to provide wrap around support to participating students, including the priority cohorts.

The 12-month Skills agreement is the first stage of delivering on the skills commitments in the Australian Government’s Made in Australia Skills Plan. It also confirms TAFE’s central role in the VET sector, increasing opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups, while addressing critical skills gaps in the economy. 

The agreement includes an Australian Government commitment of $5.8 million to immediately improve TAFE facilities in Queensland, and $930,000 for essential VET data infrastructure reform.

All Governments have also agreed to a vision and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.

Quotes attributable to Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training

This agreement with Queensland is about securing a more robust economy and tackling one of our greatest economic challenges in decades, the lack of skilled workers.

Whether it’s in care sector, agriculture, hospitality and tourism, construction, technology, or a need for sovereign capability in manufacturing, we need to deliver these skills at a time of acute skills shortages.

These Fee-Free training places will provide Queenslanders with opportunities to train for the jobs in demand now and in the future as well as delivering to business the skilled workers they need.

We believe everyone deserves access to training, and this 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.

I’m thrilled to make this joint investment with Queensland to expand opportunities to Queenslanders.

Quotes attributable to the Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk, Premier and Minister for the Olympics

This $200 million partnership, supporting 37,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational educational and training places next year, is critical to supporting our future workforce.

Providing the skills and training for Queenslanders not only enriches the lives and employment prospects of students, but also fuels the state’s economy through a highly trained workforce.

Fee-Free TAFE is making sure employers have access to the skilled workforce they need and that Queenslanders have the skills they need to take up the opportunities that are there for those good jobs.

Quotes attributable to the Hon Di Farmer MP, Queensland Minister for Training and Skills

As part our Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032, the Palaszczuk Government is committed to skilling Queensland’s future workforce – that’s why I’m so proud of this partnership with the Commonwealth.

Fee-Free TAFE is providing access to great training, delivered by great educators that will prepare Queenslanders for a great job.

At a time when our employers need more skilled workers, my message to Queenslanders is find out about these free courses and change your life by training for a career you are passionate about.