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Free TAFE program expanded

By Morgan Dyer

Do you have more time? Looking to upskill? Thinking of changing careers?

You could be in luck after the Victorian Government expanded its Free TAFE program this week.

In a bid to boost skills, create jobs and drive the economy the government injected $163 million to make things easier for people with pre-existing qualifications to retrain in sectors that need more skilled workers.

The package will create 10,000 more Free TAFE places, and expand Free TAFE to include new full qualifications linked to jobs and government priorities.

Shepparton GOTAFE chief executive Travis Heeney welcomed the government's commitment to ensure the TAFE sector was central to supporting the rebuild of the Victorian economy coming out of COVID-19.

“Free TAFE has been a wonderful opportunity for many regional community members to undertake training locally, removing financial barriers for students while opening the door for more people to gain skills that lead to real jobs,” Mr Heeney said.

The announcement means that a range of new opportunities for Free TAFE courses are now open across most GOTAFE campuses.

GOTAFE has enrolled more than 2000 students in Free TAFE courses since the beginning of 2019.

The program aims to provide more opportunities for regional communities and businesses to access Free TAFE funding to upskill or retrain for jobs that are in demand and will be particularly helpful in ensuring women, young people and migrants have access to the training they need.

The package includes the Course in Introduction to the NDIS (skill set), as well as $3.9 million for an additional 11,000 places in accredited short courses and skill sets in construction across TAFE and industry-owned Registered Training Organisations until June 2021.

The government is also allocating $1.25 million to improve literacy, numeracy and digital skills to help more Victorians progress to further study or employment.

“If you’re thinking about what to do next whether it be retrain, upskill, or change careers, there have never been more options available to access government funding for vocational education and training,” Mr Heeney said.

To see if you are eligible for the extensive list of Free TAFE courses visit https://www.vic.gov.au/free-tafe or for more information about local courses visit https://www.gotafe.vic.edu.au/ or drop into a campus to discuss your options with a team member.

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