Australian and New South Wales governments sign landmark skills deal for 120,000 free TAFE and VET places

The Australian and New South Wales governments signed a landmark 12-month Skills Agreement to address current skills shortages and offer free TAFE and more vocational education places for the people of New South Wales.

The $319 million deal will provide a significant boost to the NSW skills and training sector.

This will provide immediate support through approximately 120,000 free places in TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) in 2023.

The course list will see approximately 40,200 free places in the care sector (including approximately 10,000 in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector), 9,900 in technology and digital, 6,900 in agriculture, 5,200 in construction, 5,000 in hospitality and tourism , 1,200 in sovereign capacity, and 51,400 in other priority sectors, including basic skills.

The Agreement will increase opportunities and labor participation for priority groups, including First Nations Australians, young people (17-24), people out of work or receiving income support, unpaid carers, women studying in non-traditional fields, people with disabilities and certain categories of visa holders.

The 12-month Skills Agreement confirms TAFE’s central role in the VET sector, increases opportunities and job participation for priority groups and addresses skills gaps in the economy.

Fee Free TAFE and more VET places in NSW come at a crucial time as the State works to strengthen its workforce in a variety of national and state priority sectors.

The deal includes an Australian Government commitment of $1.32 million for essential VET data infrastructure reform in NSW and $7.5 million from the Australian Government’s TAFE Technology Fund to upgrade training facilities in NSW.

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The $7.5 million commitment from the TAFE Technology Fund will improve essential training infrastructure on TAFE NSW campuses.

All governments also agreed on a vision and guiding principles for the longer-term VET reform starting in 2024.

Citations attributable to Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training

The Australian Government recognizes the urgency of the skills crisis facing the nation and the particular challenges of NSW, which is why this Agreement is so important.

If we are to provide greater opportunities in NSW for secure and rewarding employment, we must be able to train and retrain our workforce.

Whether it is a need to develop our care, construction, hospitality and tourism sectors, or the technology and digital sectors, we need to deliver these skills at a time of acute skill shortages.

I am delighted to make this investment together to expand opportunities for all people in NSW.

Citations attributable to Alister Henskens SC MP, NSW Minister for Skills and Training

The NSW government has invested a record $3.1 billion in the skills and training sector this financial year to help people get the skills they need for the jobs they want.

NSW leads the nation when it comes to skills and training, and this additional $164 million investment from the Australian Government recognizes our state as the nation’s economic powerhouse.

This additional investment in free training venues will target priority industries and help address the skills and labor shortages that are hampering businesses in NSW.

I welcome the Australian Government’s investment in this space and look forward to continuing to work together to strengthen the skilled worker pipeline in NSW.

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