Free TAFE helps to boost ECEC numbers in Victoria’s South West
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Free TAFE helps to boost ECEC numbers in Victoria’s South West

by Freya Lucas

August 05, 2022

Victoria’s Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education, Gayle Tierney, recently visited Port Fairy Community Services Centre to see first hand the impact of her Government’s Free TAFE initiative, meeting recent graduate Claire Adams and other staff.

 

The initiative supports Victorians to access tuition fee free training through more than 60 courses for some of the most in demand sectors and industries, including early childhood education and care (ECEC). 

 

More than 5,800 people have enrolled in ECEC qualifications under the Free TAFE banner since 2020. Since Free TAFE was introduced in 2019, more than 115,000 students have benefited, saving more than $281 million in tuition fees.

 

Ms Adams recently completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. Since the credential was added to the Free TAFE course list in 2020 almost 50 students have gained their qualifications through South West TAFE, with more than 60 currently enrolled in either the Certificate III or Diploma. 

 

In 2023, South West TAFE will have 140 ECEC spaces available, with local residents strongly encouraged to apply. Early childhood educators are among the state’s most-needed workers, with plenty of career opportunities for those looking to train or retrain in the area. 

 

ECEC is a priority for the Victorian Government, with a number of educators needed to support the Government’s $5 billion Three-Year-Old Kindergarten reform along with the $9 billion Best Start, Best Life early childhood education reforms. 

 

Under Best Start Best Life kindergarten will be free from 2023, and 50 government owned and affordable ECEC services will be established to deliver a universal 30 hour a week program of play based learning for four year olds across the state by 2032. 

 

“Free TAFE shows how targeted investment in training can help support the specific workforce needs of communities in South Western Victoria and create lasting career opportunities for people who live here,” Ms Tierney said. 

 

Learn more about the Free TAFE initiative here

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