From next year the Victorian government’s announced it’s picking up the tab for dozens of TAFE and pre-apprenticeship courses in industries set to boom.
But what exactly does that mean and, more importantly, how do you get in on it?
Say goodbye to course fees
From January 2019, the state government will cover the cost of 30 TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses.
The courses cover everything from accounting and agriculture to concreting, construction and nursing.
Stepping-stone courses, known as pre-apprenticeship courses, will also be covered and include automotive body repair and furniture-making.
They’re all in infrastructure-heavy industries, which the government is betting will boom in the coming years.
The government said it would also subsidise an additional 30,000 training places.
So how much will I save?
The short answer is between hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Under the government’s plan, students will only pay for materials and amenities like books, meaning that cash you’ve squirrelled away from your part-time job stays in your bank account.
It’s a serious consideration for a lot of students who have to pay for TAFE courses upfront, like Louise Scarcella.
Ms Scarcella, 29, thought long and hard before committing to a two-year Diploma of Nursing at Holmesglen TAFE because it was about $12,000 upfront.
“I basically used my savings, all my savings to pay for it so that I could afford it,” she said.
Even with living rent-free in her boyfriend’s house, she’s still searching for a part-time job to make ends meet.
She said a free course would have had a huge impact on her.
“If it was free, I would’ve just jumped on it,” she said.
“I wouldn’t have had to plan and save but it would mean that my savings for emergencies and stuff would still be there.
“I would still have my comforting savings in the bank if anything went wrong.”
How do I get in?
Nothing’s changed on this front. You’ll have to apply for these course like you normally would.
But there’s one caveat: only Australian residents who live in Victoria will be eligible for the courses. International students will continue to pay fees.
Grant Dreher, the executive director of Victoria University Polytechnic, said it’s a bold and positive move.
“I think we can handle the capacity and I think as a sector, the TAFE sector in Victoria can definitely handle the increase in demand,” Mr Dreher said.
“We really think that this will change drastically the access to the type of jobs that lead people to employment.”
And, according to Ms Scarcella, drastically change their lives.
“It would mean more people can follow their dreams and worry less about how they’re going to pay for it,” she said.
The free courses
- Certificate IV/Diploma/Advanced Diploma in Accounting;
- Certificate IV in Ageing Support;
- Certificate II/III/IV in Agriculture;
- Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production).
- Certificate III/IV in Allied Health Assistance;
- Certificate II in Automotive Air Conditioning Technology;
- Certificate II in Automotive Body Repair Technology;
- Certificate II in Automotive Servicing Technology;
- Certificate II in Automotive Vocational Preparation;
- Certificate IV/Diploma in Building and Construction (Building);
- Certificate III in Civil Construction;
- Certificate III/IV/Diploma in Community Services;
- Certificate III in Concreting;
- Certificate III in Construction Waterproofing;
- Certificate III/IV in Dental Assisting;
- Certificate IV in Disability;
- Certificate III/IV in Education Support;
- Certificate IV in Engineering;
- Certificate III in Horticulture;
- Certificate III in Hospitality;
- Certificate III in Individual Support;
- Certificate IV in Mental Health;
- Diploma of Nursing;
- Certificate IV in Plumbing and Services;
- Certificate II in Construction Pathways;
- Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Career Start);
- Certificate II in Electrotechnology (Pre-vocational);
- Certificate II in Engineering Pathways;
- Certificate II in Engineering Studies;
- Certificate II in Furniture Making;
- Certificate II in Glass and Glazing;
- Certificate II in Horticulture;
- Certificate II in Meat Processing (Food Services);
- Certificate II in Plumbing (Pre-apprenticeship);
- Certificate II in Printing and Graphic Arts (General);
- Certificate II in Retail Baking Assistance;
- Certificate II in Salon Assistant; and
- Certificate II in Signage and Graphics.
Another 10 will be announced following further consultation.
Read the budget papers here.