WA Government initiative aims to bring more international students to WA regions
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > WA Government initiative aims to bring more international students to WA regions

WA Government initiative aims to bring more international students to WA regions

by Freya Lucas

February 10, 2023

The first six regional bursary recipients have arrived in Geraldton, Western Australia as part of government efforts to bring international students back to WA’s regional communities. 


Those who are studying in areas of skill shortage, including early childhood education and care (ECEC), are being assisted to find part-time work and accomodation as part of the program, with the first recipients heading to Central Regional TAFE. On graduation, the students may also be able to access migration pathways to extend their stay in Australia.


The WA Government initiative to attract international students to live, work and study at regional TAFE colleges in the state provides a $5,000 bursary for up to 200 students.


WA’s International Education Minister David Templeman and Training Minister Simone McGurk recently took the opportunity to meet the first six bursary recipients to arrive in Geraldton to study courses in early childhood education and care, information technology, aquaculture, and commercial cookery. They have come from the Philippines, Hong Kong, Bhutan, Indonesia and Italy.


“International students make an important contribution to regional communities, including as contributors to the local workforce while studying,” Mr Templeman said.


The two-year pilot started on 1 January 2023 as part of a $2.4 million Regional TAFE International Student Strategy announced by the McGowan Government in the 2022–2023 State Budget.


Interest in the program has been strong with a total of 22 international students already receiving bursaries to study at TAFE campuses in Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury and Broome in Semester 1, 2023. The majority of bursary students are anticipated to commence in Semester 2, 2023 due to current Commonwealth visa processing timeframes.


The bursaries are offered for selected courses targeting areas of local skills shortage, such as aged and disability care, childcare, and hospitality and tourism, at campuses across the regional TAFE colleges: North Regional TAFE, Central Regional TAFE and South Regional TAFE.


The initiative responds to ideas raised by industry leaders through the Perth and Regional Skills Summits, which emphasised the need for innovative solutions to address skills shortages and support regional industries, with the bursaries supported by marketing activities including agent familiarisation tours to showcase regional WA to recruit international students for the two-year pilot program.


In November 2022, TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) hosted the first agent familiarisation tour, showcasing Geraldton, Broome and Albany and the bursary program to agents across the globe, including key markets of Italy, Brazil, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Colombia, Korea, Sweden and Mauritius.


A second tour showcasing further regional locations is planned for mid-2023.


From left to right, image features:
• ????, who is studying a Certificate II in Aquaculture
• ?????, who chose to study a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
• ????, who opted for a Certificate II in Aquaculture
• ?????, who is studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
• ????????, who is doing a Certificate III in Commercial Cookery
• ????, who is studying a Certificate IV in Information Technology

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