The Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments have today signed a landmark 12-month Skills Agreement to address the current skills shortage and deliver fee-free* TAFE and more vocational education places for Western Australians. The Agreement will inject more than $112 million into the WA skills and training sector, providing immediate support through approximately 18,800 fee-free TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) places available from 1 January 2023 to better match training with skills shortages identified through the skills priority list, driving enrolments in key sectors. The funding supports the new FREE IN ’23 initiative, which is designed to reskill and upskill people for work in priority sectors and covers:
- course fees for 58 full qualifications; and
- all fees for 56 Job Ready skills sets.
The course list is estimated to see approximately:
- 8,500 fee-free places in the care sector;
- 2,400 fee-free places in technology and digital;
- 1,900 fee-free places in agriculture;
- 1,500 fee-free places in construction;
- 1,400 fee-free places in hospitality and tourism;
- 300 fee-free places in sovereign capability including manufacturing;, and
- around 2,800 fee-free places in other sectors including foundational skills.
The FREE IN '23 places will better match training with skills shortages identified through the skills priority list, driving enrolments in key sectors. FREE IN '23 comes at a crucial time as the State works to strengthen its workforce in a range of sectors of priority.
More information on FREE IN ‘23 and low-fee courses is available on the Jobs and Skills WA website, or contact your local TAFE college or Jobs and Skills Centre on 13 64 64.
The Agreement will increase opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups including First Nations Australians, young people, people out of work or receiving income support, unpaid carers, women facing economic insecurity, women undertaking study in non-traditional fields, people with disability and certain categories of visa holders.
The 12-month Skills Agreement confirms TAFE’s central role in the VET sector, increases opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups and addresses skills gaps in the economy. It includes an Australian Government commitment of $8.2 million from the TAFE Technology Fund to improve training facilities in WA, and $0.93 million for essential VET data infrastructure reform. All Governments have also agreed to a vision statement and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.
Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training, said today that "The Albanese Government recognises the urgency of the skills crisis facing the nation, and the challenges particular to Western Australia, which is why this Agreement is so important. To provide greater opportunity for Western Australians to have secure and rewarding employment we must be able to skill and reskill our workforce. Whether it’s a need to support hospitality and tourism, construction, agriculture, technology, or the care sector, and build our sovereign capability in manufacturing, we need to deliver these skills at a time of acute skills shortages. I’m thrilled to make this joint investment with Minister Ellery to expand opportunities to Western Australians.".
WA Minister for Education and Training Sue Ellery MLC added that "The WA Government is committed to providing opportunities for all Western Australians to access TAFE training. The 12-month Skills Agreement with the Commonwealth Government builds on this momentum. Many people who have not engaged in the training system require extra support to do so, and this uplift in TAFE training and services will further drive our Government’s existing efforts to help industries access the untapped workforce. Together with the Premier for Western Australia Hon Mark McGowan, we thank the Commonwealth for this joint investment in Western Australia’s people, communities and current and future workforce and for quickly reaching an agreement at a time when skills are in such demand across Australia."
Read the full media statement here. (opens in a new tab)
Click here (opens in a new tab) to find out what FREE IN '23 courses will be offered!