Boost For Free TAFE As Enrolments Surge In Ballarat

The Andrews Labor Government has unveiled a major funding package to support the growth in enrolments that its landmark Free TAFE initiative is driving across Victoria.

Representing the Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, the Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle today visited FedUni TAFE’s Ballarat campus to meet with students and teachers who will be among the first to benefit from an additional $11.7 million to support the strong student demand for the Free TAFE program across Victoria.

Support services to assist students facing disadvantage will be extended through a statewide $6 million boost, including new course materials to help students improve their time management, study skills and literacy, making them more employable.

FedUni TAFE will also share in $5 million to help ensure it can keep up with demand, so eligible students can enrol in their preferred Free TAFE course. A $500,000 statewide initiative will offer teaching scholarships to professionals with industry experience to address staffing vacancies in priority areas.

A new $200,000 program will trial the ways that TAFEs can work with the not-for-profit early childhood sector to support work placements for students enrolled in The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and Certificate III in Early Childhood Education, which will start in 2020.

More than 25,000 students across Victoria have commenced training in Free TAFE courses in the six months to the end of June. FedUni TAFE has played a major part in this growth, with more than 700 students commencing Free TAFE, across 23 courses. This is up 143 per cent compared with the same time last year.

Underlining the importance of TAFE to industries and regional communities like Ballarat, more than a quarter of Free TAFE commencements are in regional Victoria.

Female students account for 57 per cent of all Free TAFE students across Victoria, up nine percentage points compared with the same courses at the same time last year, with female participation is surging in traditionally male-dominated courses such as Agriculture, Building Surveying and Cyber Security.

Since 2015, the Victorian Government has invested more than $1.3 billion to rebuild our TAFE system.

Quote Attributable to Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney

“Free TAFE is the most significant reform we’ve made to boost TAFE participation and we’re making it better than ever before. We said we would rebuild TAFE and that is exactly what we are doing.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle

“Delivering high-quality TAFE is in Labor’s DNA. Unlike the Liberals who slashed funding to TAFE, we’ll always stand up for it in Ballarat, so students can get the skills they need, for the job they want.”

“Free TAFE has been a great success right here in Ballarat and thanks to this extra funding, even more students across Ballarat will be able to get the education and skills needed.”  

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“It’s only a Labor Government that is ensuring that our TAFEs are getting the funding they need to grow the next generation of tradies, nurses and community service workers that Ballarat needs to thrive and prosper.”

“Whether it’s record funding for our schools, kicking off funded 3 year-old kinder or rebuilding TAFE, the Labor Government is working to give hard-working families across Ballarat the very best in education.”

The top five Free TAFE courses at FedUni TAFE are:

  • Diploma of Nursing
  • Certificate III in Individual Support
  • Certificate III in Horticulture
  • Diploma of Community Services
  • Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start)