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Australian and SA Governments sign landmark skills agreement

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Albanese and Cook Governments deliver more Fee-Free TAFE

The Albanese and Cook Governments will continue their partnership to deliver Fee Free TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) places to Western Australians over the next three years.
Under the joint partnership, a further 22,200 Fee-Free TAFE and VET places will be available for Western Australians from January 2024.
This injection of Fee-Free training places builds on the success of the initiative throughout 2023 and will continue to provide cost of living support for West Australians choosing to study in priority areas. 
It continues the genuine collaboration and partnership between the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments to plug the skills gap and provide training opportunities for Australians.
Fee-Free places target areas of skills shortage such as early childhood education and care, health care, aged and disability care; technology and digital skills, hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture, VET workforce, and defence industry.
This year saw a strong take up of Fee-Free places, with qualifications in Early Childhood Education and Care, Aged and Disability Care, Nursing, and Information Technology and Hospitality having the strongest enrolments, adding much-needed skills for these priority industries.
In 2023, fee free training is available across 130 courses including a range of qualifications and skill sets with all Western Australians eligible to access the program at WA TAFE colleges and training providers.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor:
“This is what genuine collaboration and partnership can achieve – real results for everyday Australians.
“Fee-Free TAFE and VET has been such a success, the Albanese Government is committing to a further 300,000 places beginning next year, with 22,200 of those places in Western Australia.
“This is a $44.5 million investment in skills and training in Western Australia.

“Fee-Free training offers a huge cost of living relief for students, grows the recruitment pool for businesses and eases the skills shortages that hold our economy back.”

“In WA, plans are also underway to implement the Albanese Government’s $8.2 million TAFE Technology Fund to improve training facilities in the state, yet another way we’re supporting the training of workers for vital industries that are in demand now and in the future.”
Quotes attributable to Premier of Western Australia Roger Cook:
“My Government has a track record on training – whether it’s slashing TAFE fees, delivering free courses or investing almost $250 million into upgrades at TAFEs across the State.
“Our economic strength relies on our skilled workforce, so it’s critical every Western Australian has access to our TAFE and vocational courses.
“This investment will give workers the skills they need to find quality work across our State.
“Through our partnership with the Albanese Government, the FEE FREE initiative helps to build our pipeline of skilled workers in in-demand occupations like construction, early childhood education, nursing and hospitality.”
Quotes attributable to Training Minister Simone McGurk:
“Education and training can be life changing – and with Fee Free TAFE set to continue into 2024 there has never been a better time to try one of the free courses on offer.
“FREE IN ‘23 has already supported women and youth to overcome the cost barriers through the waiving of fees, which combined with additional wrap-around support for more vulnerable students has enabled Western Australia to smash its targets for fee free training enrolments.
“Continuing this successful initiative for Western Australians into 2024 and beyond will see more students graduating with industry relevant skills in the areas our economy needs most.”

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