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More fee-free TAFE places for students

Daniel Bouwmeester    December 19, 2023    4 min read   

A further 43,400 tuition-free TAFE places will be available for Queenslanders in 2024 following a federal government announcement last week.

The new Fee-Free TAFE places are backed by almost $85 million in federal funding, as the Australian and Queensland governments team-up to tackle skills shortages in the state.

The additional places from 2024 are set to target jobs in demand, including in the care sector, technology and digital, and hospitality and tourism.

According to TAFE Queensland, more than 65,000 Queenslanders have enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE this year, including over 3,000 in Ipswich – with 540 Ipswich students currently benefiting from Fee-Free TAFE programs.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said it will give more local students the opportunity to skill-up for future jobs in high-demand areas.

“The funding builds on the outstanding success of Fee-Free TAFE in 2023, which has seen almost 300,000 Australians enrol to study and train fee-free to 30 September 2023,” Mr Neumann said.

In Queensland, 2023’s top Fee-Free TAFE courses to 30 September 2023 were Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician with over 4,700 enrolments, Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping with over 3,700 enrolments, and Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care with over 2,600 enrolments.

At an industry level, Queensland placements have supported over 9,300 enrolments in the care sector, over 5,200 enrolments in construction, over 3,700 enrolments in manufacturing, and over 26,200 enrolments in other areas of national and state priority.

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said more Fee-Free TAFE places for Queensland will help local students and jobseekers, like these Ipswich TAFE students, as well as local businesses. Images: Shayne Neumann MP.

Significant savings

Mr Neumann said as well as boosting vocational education and training and addressing skills shortages, Fee-Free TAFE was a part of the federal government’s plan to provide cost-of-living relief for Australians.

“We know one of the best ways to tackle cost of living pressures is for people to have good, secure well-paid jobs, and Fee-Free TAFE is saving local students thousands of dollars, at a time when every dollar counts,” he said.

“We’ve seen local kids in Ipswich embrace the golden opportunity that is Fee-Free TAFE in 2023 to gain new skills and find a job, or to upskill and change careers.

“These extra Fee-Free TAFE places are great news and will make it cheaper and easier for students to get good qualifications at a great local campus, like Ipswich TAFE at Bundamba or Springfield TAFE, and go on to get good secure jobs.

“This is a win-win for local school graduates and jobseekers looking to train or retrain, and for local businesses in my electorate that need more skilled workers.

“Students accessing Fee-Free TAFE will help address our current and future workforce needs, responding to the growing workforce demand in areas like health care and social assistance, IT services, education and training, and hospitality.

“This will mean more boilermakers, more chefs, more aged care and childcare workers, and more people with the skills they need, but also the skills our local economy needs.

“I know one of the biggest challenges for employers in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area is finding workers with the right skills, so Fee-Free TAFE will go a long way to plugging these gaps.

“I encourage anyone considering further skilling, especially the class of 2023, to check out which courses are free in 2024 and enrol today,” Mr Neumann said.

Fee-Free TAFE has resulted in significant savings for students in Queensland:

  • For an eligible individual studying the Certificate III in Individual Support, this could mean a saving of up to $5,685;
  • For an eligible individual studying the Certificate IV in Cyber Security, this could mean a saving of between $5,840 and $14,545;
  • For an eligible individual studying the Diploma of Project Management, this could mean a saving of between $5,150 and $11,715;
  • Students in a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping could save over $1,500;
  • Students studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care could save almost $1,250; and
  • Those looking to build a career pathway through a Certificate III in Business could save almost $800.

For more information and to enrol, visit www.tafeqld.edu.au/courses/apply-and-enrol/subsidised-training/fee-free-tafe.

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Daniel Bouwmeester

Daniel was born in a mining town in New South Wales to Dutch and Welsh immigrants, before relocating to Logan City, where he attended Canterbury College for twelve years. He pursued his passion for music by completing a first-class honours degree at the University of Queensland (UQ), and later signed with a local record label. He has travelled the world from a young age, including a student exchange in rural France, a job working the ski lifts in Colorado, and visits to the islands of the South Pacific. After a six-year career in market research, Daniel returned to UQ to complete a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts dual degree, majoring in political science. His varied experiences at home and abroad have contributed to a passion for spreading good news while defending the truth buried inside complex societal paradigms.