300,000 additional Fee-Free TAFE places to help with cost of living pressures

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

An additional 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places are being made available from 2024 to 2026, providing cost of living support for Australians choosing to study in priority skills need areas.

Fee-Free TAFE continues to change lives, address skill shortages and help students by removing financial barriers.

Almost 300,000 students were enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE to 30 September last year, smashing the initial 2023 target of 180,000 enrolments.

Having completed a nationally recognised TAFE qualification at Thursday Island’s TAFE campus, Torres Strait Islander man, Rucia Elu now has job-ready skills and the flexibility to work on construction sites across Australia.

“I now feel comfortable on any job site because I know what’s expected of me, what to do and what is and isn’t safe practice,” Rucia said.

“This course gave me what I was looking for. It taught me the basic knowledge that I needed to work on any job site and the confidence to do it well.”

“The fact that the course is fee-free is a bonus, particularly for mob who have previously been unemployed or are looking to be job-ready quickly.”

Students like Rucia from regional and remote areas made up 36 per cent of Fee-Free TAFE enrolments in 2023.

Fee-Free TAFE has been ‘utterly life-changing’ for Keenan Sneddon, who now has a bright future ahead of him while studying at TAFE Queensland.

“Without my TAFE studies, I would be lost; with no employment prospects and no idea about my future.” says Keenan.

Unemployed since leaving high school in Year 10 and diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism, Fee-Free TAFE unlocked opportunities for Keenan to complete high school without incurring debt for his studies.

“Thanks to Fee-Free TAFE, I now have career opportunities as well as the skills to support my young daughter – who has autism – to be properly cared for.”

The additional 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places, available between 2024 and 2026, have been made possible through a Commonwealth investment of $414.1 million, in collaboration with State and Territory Governments.

Fee-Free TAFE provides tuition-free courses to students wanting to train, retrain or upskill in priority areas.

Eligible students can study for an accredited diploma, certificate, or short course without incurring a cost for the tuition fees.

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