The Andrews Labor Government has unveiled a major funding package to support the huge growth in enrolments that its landmark Free TAFE initiative is driving across Victoria.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney today announced an additional $11.7 million to accommodate the strong student demand for the Free TAFE program.
Support services to assist students facing disadvantage will be extended through a $6 million boost, including new course materials to help students improve their time management, study skills and literacy, making them more employable.
An additional $5 million will help ensure TAFEs keep up with demand so eligible students can enrol in their preferred Free TAFE course. A $500,000 initiative will offer teaching scholarships to professionals with industry experience to address staffing vacancies in priority areas.
A new $200,000 program will trial ways 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 start in 2020.
More than 25,000 students have commenced training in Free TAFE courses in the six months to the end of June, a 92 per cent increase in commencements in these courses compared to the same period in 2018. Female students account for 57 per cent of all Free TAFE students, up nine per cent compared with the same courses last year.
The data also shows that female participation has doubled in traditionally male-dominated courses such as Agriculture, Horticulture, Building Surveying and Cyber Security.
Meanwhile, students over the age of 30 account for 47 per cent of Free TAFE students and more than a quarter of Free TAFE commencements are in regional Victoria.
Since 2015, the Labor Government has invested more than $1.3 billion to rebuild our TAFE system and ensure students can get the skills they need for the jobs they want.
As stated by Premier Daniel Andrews
“This vital support will help kids studying for their first job – or Victorians retraining for the next career – get the skills they need for the job they want.”
“It will support extra staff, and help more Victorians get the full benefits of Free TAFE.”
As stated by 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.”