More no–fee places to skill up job seekers

Local representatives have been delighted by recent increases in Fee-Free TAFE places in the Ipswich area, as the region will take its share of 43,400 spots added across the state of Queensland.

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann said that it would give more Ipswich locals the opportunity to skill-up for future jobs in high-demand areas.

The new places are backed by almost $85 million in Federal Government funding, as the Australian and Queensland govern ments team up to tackle skills shortages in the state.

The joint initiative of state and federal government started on 1 January and was due to end on 31 December.

However, it will now be extended to the end of 2026. More than 3,000 students from Ipswich have already benefited from the program, which is aimed at helping disadvantaged and in-need Australians, with 540 currently enrolled in Fee-Free TAFE programs.

Nationwide, more than 65,000 job seekers, more than 22,000 people with disability and more than 14,000 First Nations Australians have enjoyed a place backed by the scheme.

The additional places from 2024 are set to target jobs in demand, including in the care sector, technology and digital, and hospitality and tourism.

Up until 30 September 2023, Fee-Free TAFE enrolments in Queensland have supported more than 9,300 enrolments in the care sector, more than 5,200 enrolments in construction, more than 3,700 enrolments in manufacturing, and more than 26,200 enrolments in other areas of national and state priority.

The most sought-after courses among these students include:
■ Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
■ Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping
■ Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician
■ Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
■ Diploma of Nursing

Fee-Free TAFE has resulted in significant savings for students in Queensland:
■ For an eligible individual studying the Certificate III in Individual Support, this could mean a saving of up to $5,685.
■ For an eligible individual studying the Certificate IV in Cyber Security, this could mean a saving of between $5,840 and $14,545.
■ For an eligible individual studying the Diploma of Project Management, this could mean a saving of between $5,150 and $11,715.
■ Students in a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping could save over $1,500.
■ Students studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care could save almost $1,250.
■ Those looking to build a career pathway through a Certificate III in Business could save almost $800.

Mr Neumann said as well as boosting vocational education and training and addressing skills shortages, Fee-Free TAFE was a part of the Federal Government’s plan to provide cost-of-living relief for Australians.

“We know one of the best ways to tackle cost of living pressures is for people to have good, secure well-paid jobs, and Fee-Free TAFE is saving local students thousands of dollars, at a time when every dollar counts,” he said.

“We’ve seen local kids in Ipswich embrace this golden opportunity in 2023 to gain new skills and find a job, or to upskill and change careers. The extra places are great news and will make it cheaper and easier for students to get good qualifications at a great local campus, like Ipswich TAFE at Bundamba or Springfield TAFE, and go on to get good secure jobs.

“This is a win-win for local school graduates and jobseekers looking to train or retrain, and for local businesses in my electorate that need more skilled workers.

“Students accessing the courses will help address our current and future workforce needs, responding to the growing demand in areas like health care and social assistance, IT services, education and training, and hospitality.

“This will mean more boilermakers, more chefs, more aged care and childcare workers, and more people with the skills they need, but also the skills our local economy needs.”

Mr Neumann’s words were echoed by state member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard, who said, “We know that Ipswich school graduates keenly pursue further education and training when they complete their formal education.

“As a proud former TAFE student, I’m delighted to see this continued investment in TAFE. It’s good for our local kids, as well as for our economy.”

Her enthusiasm was reflected by Bundamba MP Lance McCallum, who said, “We’re backing locals into good jobs with world-class free training and skills. TAFE is an essential publicly funded vocational training provider and it’s wonderful to see so many locals gaining new skills through our free courses.

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