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10 November 2023

10 November 2023


The Albanese and Allan Labor Governments will deliver up to 62,800 extra Fee-Free TAFE places in Victoria, ensuring more Victorians get the skills they need, for the jobs they want.

Member for Ballarat Catherine King joined with Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison and Member for Eureka Michaela Settle at Fed Uni TAFE to celebrate yesterday’s announcement of almost $107 million of Commonwealth funding to give tens of thousands more Victorians access to education and training in sectors needing workers.

Fee-Free TAFE supports training in areas of high demand, provides access to priority cohorts - including the most vulnerable - and helps students by removing financial barriers to study.

In Victoria, 143 unique occupations are in high demand, with careers in construction, health services and early childhood care among the most in-demand priority sectors. 

The training push of 2024 will target sectors facing workforce challenges, with Fee-Free TAFE having already attracted a record 33,600 Victorian enrolments since the start of 2023.

So far Free TAFE enrolments in Victoria have supported:

  • More than 13,600 enrolments in Care sector courses.
  • More than 4,200 enrolments in Construction sector courses.
  • More than 2,800 enrolments in Technology and Digital sector courses.
  • More than 7,700 enrolments in other areas of national and state priority.

Victoria’s most enrolled Free TAFE courses include:

  • Diploma of Nursing with 4,833 enrolments. 
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment with 2,426 enrolments. 
  • Diploma of Community Services with 2,300 enrolments. 
  • Certificate IV in Cyber Security with 2,220 enrolments. 
  • Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping with 2,104 enrolments. 

Free TAFE has been a game-changer across Victoria, with more than 152,000 students saving more than $384 million in tuition fees since the program began in 2019.

Students in a Diploma of Nursing could save around $15,400, students studying a Diploma of Community Services could save around $7,800, and those looking to build a career pathway through a Certificate IV in Cyber Security could save around $3,800.

The funding for Fee-Free TAFE is in addition to federal funding through the National Skills Agreement (NSA) of up to $3.1 billion for Victoria.

Set to begin in January 2024, the landmark five-year National Skills Agreement (NSA) was developed under principles agreed by National Cabinet to embed nationwide cooperation and strategic investment across Australia’s TAFE and training sector.

For the first time in history, a new National Stewardship Model will make sure students are getting the skills they need in areas of national priority – and industry is getting a pipeline of the skilled workers it needs most.

Quotes attributable to Member for Ballarat Catherine King

“I’d like to acknowledge the Victorian Government’s innovative Fee-Free TAFE program which has been hugely successful since it began in 2019. This new Commonwealth investment of almost $107 million provides certainty going forward that even more students can participate in Free TAFE. 

“In Ballarat, and right across the country we need more nurses, more early childhood educators and more new energy and construction workers. These 60,000 new places will help to provide the skilled workers our community needs.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Wendouree Juliana Addison

“Free TAFE is a game changer for students and for the local economy, delivering skilled workers to a diverse range of industries across Ballarat.

“I welcome the Federal Labor Government’s $107 million Fee-Free TAFE funding. It will mean even more people can seize the opportunity to develop the skills they need to get qualified for a new job. From early childhood to cybersecurity to construction, the opportunities are endless!”

Quotes attributable to Member for Eureka Michaela Settle

“The Allan Labor Government has expanded Free TAFE eligibility to those who already hold a diploma or degree or may have already completed a Free TAFE course previously – now, thanks to this new agreement we can offer more Free TAFE places to more Victorians.

“TAFE is central to ensuring we’ve got the pipeline of workers we need across health, infrastructure, education and hospitality.”