MEDIA RELEASE: Fee-Free TAFE supports the next generation of the Hunter’s workforce
26 April 2023
The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training
The Hon Tim Crakanthorp MP
NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education
Sharon Claydon MP
Federal Member for Newcastle
New data reveals strong enrolments in Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education courses across New South Wales, thanks to a landmark agreement between the Australian and New South Wales Government.
The Australian Government partnered with the NSW Government to invest $319 million in the state, as part of a 12-month Skills Agreement, to deliver up to 120,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education places in 2023.
New figures show that about 65,000 students have enrolled in TAFE NSW under the Fee-Free initiative, highlighting the demand for education and training.
Hunter students enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE courses save thousands of dollars on their course fees, helping relieve the cost of living pressures. For instance:
- A student studying a Diploma of Building and Construction (Building) will save up to $8,220.
- A student studying a Diploma of Information Technology (Cyber Security) will save up to $4,060.
- A student studying a Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care will save up to $4,970.
- A student studying a Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Electrician) will save up to $3,960.
We also know that clean energy industries are the future for our workers, and include solar installation, large-scale renewable projects, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, and renewable manufacturing.
That’s why the Australian Government is spending $95.6 million over nine years to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships.
There are currently 6,635 apprentices in training in the Hunter, including New Energy apprentices who commenced from 1 January 2023, who can receive up to $10,000 over the course of their apprenticeship to assist with the cost of living.
Whether in the care sector, agriculture, hospitality and tourism, construction, or technology, it remains vital that we continue to deliver skills training in an effective and accessible way.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor
“Fee-Free TAFE is focused on identified priority courses in areas experiencing skills shortages right now. These courses will lead to jobs needed most by employers.”
“The Albanese Government is spending $95.6 million over nine years to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships.”
“They could be electricians rewiring homes for rooftop solar, batteries and efficient appliances, or machinists and metal fitters maintaining gearboxes at offshore wind farms.”
Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon MP
“I have heard from a number of Novocastrians forging new career paths thanks to Fee-Free TAFE.
“This policy is already having a positive impact on our community and will continue to do so with the courses on offer aligning directly with the areas where we need more workers.”
“Fee-Free TAFE presents an invaluable opportunity for workers in the Newcastle region to diversify their skills and take advantage of emerging industries.”
Quotes attributable to NSW Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education Tim Crakanthorp
“The Minns Labor Government has been elected to return TAFE to the heart of the vocational education system.
“We have started to work closely with Minister O’Connor and the Albanese Government to support TAFE. Fee-Free TAFE is critical to that success.”
Minister O’Connor’s Office (Ben Ansell): 0477 284 411
Minister Crakanthorp’s Office (Melissah Comber): 0448 539 630
Sharon Claydon MP’s office (Martha Tattersall): 0487 807 987