The Victorian Government has made available an additional $11.7 million to support its free TAFE initiative which has increased enrolments significantly.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, said its free TAFE program has had a huge impact on enrolments with more than 25,000 students commencing training in Free courses in the six months to June, 2019.
Some courses have seen a 92 per cent increase in commencements compared to the same period in 2018.
Out of the $11.7 million total, $500,000 will be made available to offer teaching scholarships to professionals with industry experience to address staffing vacancies in priority areas.
Female students account for 57 per cent of all Free TAFE students in Victoria, up nine per cent compared with the same courses last year.
The data also shows that female participation has doubled in traditionally male-dominated courses such as agriculture and refrigeration and air conditioning.
Tierney said students over the age of 30 account for 47 per cent of Free TAFE students and more than a quarter of Free TAFE commencements are in regional Victoria.
She said since 2015 the Labor Government has invested more than $1.3 billion to rebuild the TAFE system and ensure students get the skills they need for high priority trade jobs.
“Free TAFE is the most significant reform we’ve made to boost TAFE participation and we’re making it better than ever before,” Tierney said
"We said we would rebuild TAFE and that is exactly what we are doing.”
Fee free TAFE is also being offered in NSW in a bid to address skills shortages.
The NSW government pledged $285 million to encourage aspiring tradies and apprentices to enrol at TAFE.
In Queensland, year 12 graduates are offered free TAFE further proof that the program is working.