Budget 2023: 300,000 Aussies to get free tertiary education

Aussies wanting to further their education will have more access to free education.

Budget 2023: A composite image of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese standing out the front of a TAFE and Australian money.
Budget 2023: The government will fund 300,000 additional fee-free TAFE places. (Source: AAP)

The government has announced an additional 300,000 TAFE places in the federal budget.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the investment will help to create more opportunities for Australians in “critical” sectors.

“To make sure all of these jobs and opportunities extend to every part of our country, we’re investing $3.7 billion for a revamped 5‑year national skills agreement with the states and territories,” Chalmers said.

More budget news:

“And we’re creating 300,000 fee‑free TAFE places to train Australians in critical and emerging sectors.

“And we’re encouraging more women into apprenticeships through a new Australian Skills Guarantee.”

The government said the fee-free TAFE places will help students with cost-of-living pressures.

What are ‘critical’ and ‘emerging’ industries?

The government said the industries include care, clean energy and digital sectors.

“The new Agreement presents an opportunity to jointly set strategic priorities for our VET system, boost productivity, support gender equality and close the gap for First Nations Australians,” the budget papers said.

What else is the government doing to invest in skills?

The government will redesign Australian Apprenticeship Support Services to improve apprenticeship career pathways and provide more support for completions.

“A re-designed program model will assess the needs of every apprentice to support their success, help remove barriers for women in male-dominated trades and strengthen support for First Nations apprentices, apprentices with a disability and those in remote areas,” the budget said.

“These apprentices will have access to foundation skills training, personalised assistance and mentoring from commencement through to completion of their apprenticeship.”

When will the 300,000 extra TAFE places become available?

The 300,000 free TAFE places are expected to become available from January 1, 2024 as part of the 5‑year National Skills Agreement the federal government is negotiating with the states and territories.

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