Free TAFE Supporting Coronavirus Response And Recovery

May 26, 2020

By The Premier 

The Victorian Government is leading a rapid, coordinated response to ensure the TAFE and training sector continues to provide the skills the state needs to respond to the coronavirus crisis and prepare for recovery.

The 2019 Free TAFE report card released today shows the Free TAFE program has helped almost 40,000 students start the training they need for in-demand jobs. This marks an 88 per cent increase in commencements compared with the same courses at the end of 2018.

From the very beginning, Free TAFE has been about filling skills gaps and getting more Victorians into work.

The Free TAFE program is playing an important role in providing a pipeline of essential healthcare workers, such as nurses, during the coronavirus crisis. Free TAFE will also play a crucial role in helping re-train those facing unemployment and underemployment as the state moves towards the recovery phase.

In 2019, commencements in Free TAFE courses almost doubled for mature-aged students and unemployed Victorians, along with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and those with a disability doubling.

Women accounted for 56 per cent of all Free TAFE students across Victoria, an increase of 118%, with female participation surging in traditionally male-dominated courses such as Building Surveying, Construction and Cyber Security.

More than 25,000 students took up courses to bolster the NDIS, Family Violence and Infrastructure workforces. This will provide pathways into the jobs Victoria needs to build and look after our growing state.

Course completion surveys indicated that 81 per cent of Free TAFE students reported satisfaction with the training they received.

Underlining the importance of TAFE to regional communities and industries, a quarter of Free TAFE commencements were in regional Victoria.

Thanks to Free TAFE, students have already saved up to $10,000 for Diploma-level courses, $5,000 for Certificate IV courses, and $2,500 for pre-apprenticeship courses and have connected into employment in high growth industries.

The most popular Free TAFE courses in 2019 were the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, Diploma of Nursing, Diploma of Community Services, Certificate III in Individual Support and Certificate IV in Education Support.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney

“As we respond and recover from coronavirus, Free TAFE will be there to provide the next wave of essential workers for Victoria’s priority industries.”

“Free TAFE has been an incredible success in its first year with thousands of Victorians enrolling in priority courses.”

The success of the Free TAFE program shows the TAFE sector’s agility in providing courses responsive to market demands, and upskilling the workforce for jobs that are, and will be, in demand once the pandemic is over.”

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