Thanks to the McGowan Government’s strategic investment in the training sector, more Western Australians are getting the skills needed by local industry than ever before.
Western Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector has experienced a major surge, with new data showing more than 150,000 publicly funded course enrolments were reported in 2021 – the highest ever recorded. The number of student enrolments was up 21 per cent from 2020.
WA employers are also signing up apprentices and trainees at record levels. For example, 10,000 apprenticeship and traineeship contracts were registered in just three months this year – something that’s never been achieved before.
In March 2022 alone, there were over 4,000 registrations – the highest number of monthly registrations on record.
So far this year, publicly funded private providers have also continued to show solid growth. TAFE enrolments remain at historically high levels – up almost 30 per cent compared to the same point in 2019.
The substantial growth in publicly funded VET courses reflects the McGowan Government’s significant investment in the training sector and initiatives resulting from the WA Skills Summits.
Many of the initiatives respond to workforce issues raised by industry leaders at the Perth and Regional Skills Summits, including the extension of the Government’s highly successful Lower fees, local skills initiative, supporting mature age apprentices, boosting Aboriginal youth employment opportunities and extending the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive.
Industries that have a critical need to upskill workers, including civil construction, childcare, aged care and disability care, can now also access low-fee existing worker traineeships to help meet the skills needs of these sectors.
The McGowan Government is investing $215.8 million for essential infrastructure upgrades to TAFE colleges across the State, as well as a further $25 million to modernise equipment to support training demand.
Building on the McGowan Government’s significant work to revitalise the TAFE sector, the 2022-23 State Budget invests an additional $76.5 million in targeted opportunities for Western Australians to take up quality jobs.
This includes additional funding to keep TAFE fees low, boosting the defence industry’s professional and para-professional workforce, supporting WA’s in-demand construction industry and helping mature-aged jobseekers into jobs.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“Our Lower fees, local skills initiative has been greatly successful, delivering the highest VET course enrolments on record.
“This follows years of declining enrolments due to the former Liberal National Government hiking up course fees by as much as 500 per cent.
“Ensuring we can provide affordable training options for Western Australians doesn’t just benefit individuals, it benefits the whole State by providing a steady supply of skilled local workers.”
As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
“Since coming into office in 2017, the McGowan Government has been working to fix the damage to the training sector left by the former Liberal National Government, which increased course fees by up to 500 per cent and caused a dramatic decline in student enrolments.
“As part of our efforts to revitalise the TAFE sector, we continue to invest significantly in quality training that is not only accessible, but can connect people to local jobs.
“This started with freezing TAFE fees in 2017 and has continued with our highly successful Lower fees, local skills initiative.
“Making training affordable for all Western Australians is an essential strategy in creating jobs and addressing skills shortages.
“The huge surge in WA employers signing up apprentices and trainees highlights the effectiveness of the Government’s collaboration with industry – together we are ensuring our State’s strong economic future.”