Fee-Free TAFE removing financial barriers for people in New South Wales


The Albanese and Minns Governments’ Fee-Free TAFE initiative is continuing to exceed targets, removing financial barriers so more people in New South Wales can learn new skills in areas where the economy needs them most.

New figures reveal 182,124 people in New South Wales enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE during 2023, smashing the initial first-year target, with a very encouraging number of people taking up study in areas like education, health, construction and IT.

Fee-Free TAFE – which is jointly funded by the Albanese and Minns Labor Governments – removes financial barriers for training in areas facing significant skill shortages, with enrolments prioritised for groups excluded or under-represented in the labour market.

As of 31 December 2023, there were over:

  • 34,630 enrolments in the Care sector

    9,651 in the Technology and Digital sector

    8,728 in the Construction sector

Priority groups were strongly represented with the enrolment of 62,925 job seekers, nearly 10,000 people with disability and more than 15,154 First Nations people.

118,620 enrolments were women and students from regional and remote areas numbered more than 70,000.

Almost 50,000 people in New South Wales who speak a language other than English at home also took advantage of Fee-Free TAFE.

Fee-Free TAFE provides big savings for students.

A student studying to become an early childhood educator or undertaking a Certificate III in School Based Education and Support need not find $1,600 in course fees, similarly someone undertaking a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping wouldn’t need to pay almost $2,000 in course fees.

The Albanese Government is providing a further $414.1 million over 2024 – 2026 to States and Territories to fund the delivery of at least another 300,000 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places.

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

“Fee-Free TAFE has transformed the lives of students from diverse backgrounds right across New South Wales, at the same time making sure there is a strong pipeline of workers to fill in-demand jobs.

“The initiative has helped ease cost-of-living pressures for students and is helping respond to the worst skills crisis we have experienced in 50 years.

“Fee-Free TAFE is helping people in New South Wales, and across Australia, to acquire skills to ensure they have meaningful work, well-paid jobs and career progression.”

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan MP:

“Fee-Free TAFE is targeted at increasing workforce participation of priority groups and helping people get the skills they need for the jobs they want.

“We are committed to tackling the skills shortages, by supporting students with free training opportunities who can then enter the workforce in highly paid, highly skilled jobs.

“The Fee-Free TAFE program highlights the Albanese and Minns Labor Governments’ commitment to strengthening the VET system and placing TAFE at the heart of vocational delivery across New South Wales and Australia.”

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