Victorians planning to study at TAFE in 2019 are among the biggest winners in the State Budget, released last week.
The Victorian Government takes pride in promoting education in “The Education State”. Partly in response to Victoria's continuing population growth, the Budget is allocating over one billion dollars to all levels of education. This includes $353 million on building 28 new schools, $483 million on renovations and repairs to 130 current schools, $55.6 million for upgrades to Special schools, and even $23.9 million towards school crossings.
At the same time, there are still too many Victorians without the training they need for a secure job. The skills required for the high-demand jobs, like those in major road and rail projects, new schools and hospitals, are learned at TAFE.
The cost of training can act as a barrier to getting these skills, and may be a factor in the decrease of TAFE student numbers in recent years. To address that, the Budget is investing $172 million to make 30 priority TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses in these growth industries free.
The priority courses include Nursing, Age Support, Hospitality, Building and Construction, Engineering, Automotive Servicing, and Furniture Making, to name a random few.
The Budget also includes $303.8 million to create more than 30,000 new training places, adding to the number of potential students to benefit.
Apprenticeships will be modernised, TAFE campuses in regional Victoria will be upgraded, and a new Head Start program will give students the option to undertake an additional year of high school, and graduate with an apprenticeship or traineeship, ready to work in a high demand or high growth industry.
TAFE teachers are not overlooked either, and will get the pay and recognition they deserve with a new industrial agreement.
“Not only are we investing in the projects our state needs, we’re investing in the people we need to deliver them,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.
The Budget also contains major funds boosting mental health, law and order, hospitals, roads, and small business.