The Albanese and Minns Governments today announced a further 147,400 Fee-Free TAFE places will be available in New South Wales 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 and Support sector
- Over 6,400 enrolments in the Technology and Digital sector
- Over 5,800 enrolments in the Construction sector, and
- Over 5,200 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 $1,600, and those looking to build a career pathway through a Certificate III in Individual Support could save up to $1,450.
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 New South Wales.
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 New South Wales vocational education and training sector.
The Albanese Government is prepared to invest $3.8 billion to support the Minns Government to expand and transform access to the VET sector, support quality training and implement reforms to address critical skills needs.
Fee-Free TAFE has been a huge success across the country, with figures showing Fee-Free TAFE enrolments hit more than 214,300 in the first six months – six months earlier than anticipated and nearly 35,000 places more than expected.
Quotes from Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor:
“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 New South Wales.
“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.”
Quotes from NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Steve Whan MP
“This is great news for anyone who’s been thinking of trying TAFE in NSW – it's never been cheaper to study or train in our state.
“And if you’re studying Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, you could save up to $2,000 in fees. Tens of 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.”