ECEC is a popular choice for Fee Free TAFE
The Sector > Quality > Professional development > ECEC popular course choice for Fee Free TAFE enrolments in 2024

ECEC popular course choice for Fee Free TAFE enrolments in 2024

by Freya Lucas

February 06, 2024

Demand for fee-free TAFE early childhood education and care (ECEC) courses continues to be strong in Western Australia according to early figures released by the state’s government. 


There are more than 130 fee-free qualifications and skill sets available in 2024, and health and care sector qualifications are amongst the most popular. 


Enrolments for 2024 are still being finalised, however there have been a record number of applications to study fee-free courses in 2024 – a 29 per cent increase on applications compared to this time last year. There has also been a 25 per cent increase in applications for TAFE courses overall.


The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care is the most popular course, with 4,199 enrolments thus far, up 1,064 from previous years. 


Other popular choices include: 


  • Certificate III in Individual Support – 4,450 enrolments (up by 693 enrolments);
  • Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance – 994 enrolments (up by 610 enrolments);
  • Diploma of Nursing – 2,426 enrolments (up by 514 enrolments);
  • Certificate IV in School Based Education Support/Certificate IV in Education Support – 1,141 enrolments (up by 387 enrolments);
  • Certificate IV in Mental Health – 965 enrolments (up by 291 enrolments); and
  • Certificate IV in Community Services – 896 enrolments (up by 192 enrolments).


“Making training affordable and accessible for all is key to ensuring we have the skilled workforce we need,” WA Premier Roger Cook said.


“Our free and low-fee TAFE courses are targeted at industries (sic.) that we know require workers, and (that) students will be able to get employment in.”


“They have been a huge success – for local workers and industries alike – and it is fantastic to see enrolments surging for in-demand fields like nursing, early childhood education, school-based education support and mental health.”


Targeted at boosting skills development in priority areas, the availability of fee-free courses in WA drove a 32.7 per cent increase in enrolments between 2022 and last year. Based on the success the Commonwealth and State Governments have now extended the agreement to deliver fee-free training until the end of 2026.


Running in parallel with the fee-free program, the Cook Government’s ‘Lower fees, local skills‘ initiative attracted almost 60,000 enrolments in low-fee courses in 2023. The State Government continues to provide 160 heavily discounted high-priority courses through this program in 2024.

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