BACKING TAFE FOR THE SKILLS VICTORIA NEEDS

A re-elected Andrews Labor Government will make Free TAFE available to every Victorian who wants to get the skills they need for the job they want – supporting local jobs and boosting our economy with a pipeline of highly-skilled, in-demand workers.

We’ll remove the previous eligibility criteria, making Free TAFE courses available to people with higher-level qualifications who want to return to study and change the once-in-a-lifetime limit on enrolling in a Free TAFE course – when they are continuing a select training pathway.

It means a graduate with an Arts degree would be able to re-train to become one of the thousands of new early childhood educators our state will need in the future.

Or someone who has completed one Free TAFE course – getting a qualification in an important area like disability care – would be able to go back to TAFE and upskill to a higher-level disability qualification for free.

Nobody should be held back from achieving their career goals or contributing to their community by the cost of education and training. That’s why we’ve been working hard to rebuild the TAFE sector after Matthew Guy’s Liberals brought the training sector to its knees.

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When given the chance, Matthew Guy’s Liberals closed 22 TAFE campuses, cut hundreds of critical job-ready courses and destroyed opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students, trainees and apprentices to contribute to our state with a well-paid, highly-skilled job.

In stark contrast, the Labor Government’s Free TAFE initiative has saved students almost $300 million in fees since the Labor Government introduced it in 2019 – removing the barriers to training for a great new career for more than 120,000 Victorians.

But we’ll do more to make the TAFE experience even better, with a huge building blitz to make sure every student has a great training experience.

A re-elected Labor Government will invest up to $170 million to build new and improve existing TAFE campuses as part of a new Building Better TAFE Fund, which includes a $50 million Clean Energy Fund.

As part of our plan to end reliance on coal and revive the SEC – creating 59,000 jobs in clean energy – we will make sure at least 6,000 of those jobs are apprentices and trainees. And we’re getting our TAFEs ready to train them.

Our first investment from the Clean Energy TAFE Fund will support Gippsland TAFE, South West TAFE and Federation TAFE with a range of initiatives focused on renewable energy jobs.

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The Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre at Federation TAFE will receive $6 million for Stage 2 of works, with a classroom, workshop and training equipment to deliver specialised training courses, such as wind turbine maintenance and blade repair.

We will provide $5 million to Gippsland TAFE to create a Clean Energy Centre at their new Trade Skills Centre, with the fit out and equipment students need.

South West TAFE will also receive $5 million to deliver the Building Innovation and Design Centre, with a large multi-disciplinary trades workshop area equipped with specialist equipment for initiatives like ‘green’ plumbing, solar and battery electrical systems, sustainable integrated building designs, and new construction technologies.

Labor will also invest $65-80 million to deliver two brand-new TAFE campuses in Sunbury and Melton – they’re two of the fastest-growing communities in Australia with huge demand for a pipeline of workers, but currently don’t have a single local skills and training facility.

The Sunbury TAFE facility will make sure new residents to the area have access to the quality facilities and training they need, close to home – while Melton TAFE will be a dedicated construction skills facility that supports about 600 students every year to get the skills they need for the trade career they want.

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Labor will invest $30-36 million towards the Gordon’s Disability Services Hub and to redevelop the Student Hub, and we’ll give Bendigo Kangan Institute $4 million for a health and learning hub at their Castlemaine campus.

We will also introduce legislation into Parliament that guarantees 70 per cent of Vocational Education and Training (VET) funding to TAFE each year, giving the sector the security it needs to keep growing and supporting future generations of trainees and protecting TAFE from Matthew Guy’s Liberals’ savage cuts.

This legislation will reflect funding arrangements that are already in place – Labor has invested a record $3.2 billion in TAFE and training to make sure Victorians have access to high quality training and rewarding career pathways.

Labor is investing in the future of our TAFEs, backing local jobs and ensuring more Victorians can get the skills they need for the jobs they want.