Parliament – Vocational Education & Training

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston—Minister for Social Services) (09:33): Today I want to talk about the real importance of vocational education as part of our training system. I know that many young people, as we approach the high school graduation season, are aspiring to take up opportunities in vocational education. That’s why I’m so pleased about the work that our government is doing to make vocational education and TAFE more accessible for more students.

After a decade of neglect of the VET sector by the former Liberal government, our government has successfully negotiated a five-year agreement with states and territories, providing stability, funding certainty and much needed focus on quality and capacity to make sure that our vocational education and training is the best it can be.

We committed to, and are funding, over 300,000 additional TAFE places from the start of 2024, which will give so many young people, and also older people that are looking to retrain, the opportunity to start a new career.

I am so pleased that the Albanese government is supporting an additional 15,000 fee-free TAFE placements in South Australia.

Many people in my electorate will benefit. Many are already benefitting. We’re seeing students taking up opportunities under the free courses in building and construction, early childhood education and care, information technology, dental assisting, mental health, disability, nursing and cybersecurity. The list goes on. These are really exciting opportunities that people in my electorate are taking up to do a new vocation or a new career.

Now, the training has been carefully targeted to make sure it meets the skills that businesses, government and industry need. I just want to share a couple of stories.

Laura, who lives in my electorate at Hackam, said: ‘Fee-free TAFE for my Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance makes studying achievable on my disability support pension, giving me independence without breaking the bank. I am looking forward to giving back to the profession that has helped me so much after a lengthy stay in hospital.’

Then there’s Owen, who lives in Woodcroft. He’s enrolled in a certificate IV in interior design, thanks to the fee-free opportunity. He said: ‘This course helped me to develop sought-after skills and expanded my job prospects in my chosen field. The course will have been out of reach if not for fee-free TAFE.’

This is the difference that our government is making through our commitment to make vocational education more accessible. I look forward to many more students taking up this opportunity in my electorate.

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