The Andrews Labor Government is calling on Victorians to consider a career in early childhood education as two early childhood qualifications will be added to the Free TAFE course list in 2020 to support the rollout of universal three-year-old Kinder.
Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney and Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp visited Berrimba Childcare Centre in Echuca to encourage locals to enrol in childcare courses that the Labor Government has added to the Free TAFE course list in 2020. These courses are offered at Echuca’s BKI campus.
The Labor Government has invested $28.5 million in the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care making them tuition fee-free for eligible students in 2020.
The increased demand for qualified early childhood educators is due to the roll-out of the biggest reform in early childhood education in our state’s history, the introduction of universal three-year-old kinder. The reform is expected to create more than 6,000 new early childhood education jobs by 2029.
Minister Tierney also visited BKI’s Echuca campus today to meet with Free TAFE students. The most popular Free TAFE courses at the TAFE include Community Services, Education Support, Justice, Disability and Nursing.
While at BKI, the Minister also met with students taking part in the Aboriginal Workforce Development Initiative, which has seen the TAFE work with Njernda Aboriginal Corporation to provide training for local workers. This fit-for-purpose training is targeted to provide residential care services to Aboriginal residents in Echuca.
The Labor Government’s landmark Free TAFE initiative, which began in January this year, reduces the financial barrier for students wanting to train in courses that lead to jobs in demand from Victorian employers.
State-wide data shows since January this year, 36,000 students have started Free TAFE courses in the nine months to the end of September – a 90 per cent increase in commencements in these courses this time last year.
Quote attributable to Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney
“For anyone who has considered working in kinders or childcare, this is the perfect time to enrol in early childhood education at TAFE, ahead of universal three-year-old Kinder being rolled out in Echuca in 2021.”
Quote attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp
“Being able to study at a local TAFE — without tuition fees — is helping more Victorians gain the skills for local jobs. It means locals can support the Echuca economy and community, making it easier to stay in the region.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020