Release type: Media Release


Top jobs in demand have VET pathways


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

Nursing has topped the list of workers in demand as the Albanese Government’s Fee-Free TAFE program continues to give hundreds of thousands of Australians the opportunity to obtain skills that give them access to long-term, stable, and well-paid jobs.

With more than half of the 2023 Skills Priority List top 20 occupations in demand nationally having direct VET pathways it’s never been a better time to look at skilling up or changing careers with the government funding an additional 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places from January next year.

Nurses, software programmers, motor mechanics, child carers, aged and disability carers, metal fitters, electricians, social workers, chefs and construction managers are all examples of occupations on the top 20 list with direct VET entry pathways.

The Albanese Government is today launching a nation-wide advertising campaign to encourage more Australians to start studying a Fee-Free TAFE or VET course in areas of current and future workforce demand.

The Fee-Free TAFE program has significantly exceeded our target of 180,000 enrolments in the first year, with more than 215,000 Australians enrolling to study in the first 6-months. The Albanese Government is funding an additional 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places from January next year.

If you’re leaving school, looking for work, or wanting to upskill and change your career, you may be eligible with a range of study options on offer.

Fee-Free TAFE prioritises training for students that traditionally face barriers to work and study including: First Nations people, young people aged 17-24, job seekers, unpaid carers, women in non-traditional fields of study and people with disability. 

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

As we are seeing in this latest data, the plan to train, retrain or upskill Australians will mean more skilled workers in parts of the economy that need them.

“The advertising campaign, which launches today, aims to ensure that school leavers, people looking to retrain or change careers, and groups who have historically been locked out of the labour market know that the opportunity is there to study Fee-Free in sectors that will provide stable, well-paid jobs.

“Working with States and Territories, in six months we smashed our 12 month target of 180,000 Fee-Free enrolments by almost 40,000 places.

“Acknowledging the gender imbalance in workplaces, behavioural barriers and improving workforce diversity in certain occupations will also reduce the likelihood of skills shortages and open up the potential for improved wages and working conditions.”

Quotes attributable to Kody House, Former NRL Player

“After finishing high school, I completed a Trade Certificate III in Mechanical Engineering Diesel Fitting. This gave me the tools to become confident in my abilities and the resilience required to work in a male-dominated work force and work in the fly-in -fly-out construction/mining industry.

I’ve built up skills during my time as a Diesel Mechanic, which has helped me in my future endeavours and my subsequent university degree. I value hard work and independence, which have been paramount since becoming a female athlete. Fee-Free Tafe is such a great opportunity to kick start your VET journey”.

Top 20 occupations in demand
Registered Nurses
Advertising and Sales Managers
Software and Applications Programmers
Generalist Medical Practitioners
Motor Mechanics
Construction Managers
Child Carers
Aged and Disabled Carers
Retail Managers
Metal Fitters and Machinists
Human Resource Professionals
Civil Engineering Professionals
Early Childhood (Pre-primary School) Teachers
Advertising and Marketing Professionals
Occupational Therapists
Social Workers