Free TAFE program targets skill gaps

November 12, 2023 BY

Qualifications in high demand sectors are available for free under the government's fee-free TAFE program. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/THE GORDON

MORE than 80 tuition-free TAFE qualifications and short courses targeting a range of in-demand industries are available to individuals looking to upskill or change careers.

Course availability is broad and emphases sectors where skills are needed and job prospects are strong, including aged and disability care, childcare, IT, agriculture and construction.

Eligibility in the fee-free TAFE program is not impacted by previous qualifications or study and educational places are accessible regardless of background or circumstance.

However, the initiative does hope to target a number of priority groups, including First Nations people, young people aged 17-24, job seekers and women in non-traditional fields of study.

The fee-free TAFE program began in early 2023 and will continue through 2024 with an additional 300,000 education places on offer nationally.

Federal member for Corangamite, Libby Coker, said the initiative was helping targeting skill gaps in the workforce.

“TAFE is one of our greatest assets for ensuring our country is well positioned for future skills challenges, and meeting those challenges will be no small feat,” Ms Coker said.

“Our government wants to ensure we have the skilled workers our economy needs, while also giving every Australian the best opportunity to secure a stable, well-paid job.”

Federal member for Corangamite, Libby Coker, and fee-free TAFE recipient, Sarbjeet Kaur. PHOTO: SUPPLIED


For fee-free TAFE recipient’s like Sarbjeet Kaur, the initiative has removed financial barriers preventing them gaining the skills necessary to enter high-demand sectors of the workforce.

“I really enjoy this job,” the aged-care student said of her placement at Star of the Sea in Torquay.

“The full-time staff have such amazing patience to let us follow them all day and learn from them.

“It’s really incredible the work they do and the effort they put in to teaching us.”

Ms Coker said the program was already playing an essential role in building a more skilled and resilient local workforce, with understaffed centres remaining a concern around the country.

“The Albanese government’s investment in fee-free TAFE will support around 26,900 places in the care sector over the next 12 months, including around 3,800 early childhood education and care places,” Ms Coker said.

“This will help Victoria help its target of 64,700 new workers in the health, education and community services sectors needed by 2025.”