A comprehensive package is set to boost WA’s TAFE and training sector in a bid to help the state’s recovery from COVID-19.
The McGowan Government will allocate $57 million for the package, announced on Thursday, which it said will align with WA’s immediate economic needs following the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the package, $25 million will be devoted to 15 free TAFE short courses to upskill Western Australians focusing on current and emerging job opportunities.
$32 million will also go towards major reductions in TAFE fees in an expansion of the Lower Fees, Local Skills initiative rolled out before COVID-19, that will slash fees for a further 39 courses by as much as 72 per cent.
It will include 27 Certificate courses reduced from between 50 and 67 per cent for areas including plumbing, agriculture, METRONET courses, construction, electrical trades, health, fabrication, mental health and disability services.
Fees for six diploma courses including Diploma of Nursing, Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Diploma of Community Services will reduce by 72 per cent.
A further six pre-apprenticeship courses will have fees cut by 67 per cent, which will involve areas including automotive electrical technology, engineering, plumbing and building and construction.
It is expected that adding a further 39 courses to the initiative will increase annual enrolments by more than 6,000 students and provide fee relief to more than 27,000 enrolments over the second half of 2020 and 2021.
Premier Mark McGowan said TAFE was a major part of the state’s COVID-19 recovery.
“Our training-led plan will prepare Western Australians to get back into jobs to meet the economy’s immediate workforce needs following the impacts of the pandemic,” Mr McGowan said.
“As we continue the recovery process, we will continue to focus on getting Western Australians back to work in areas that will drive economic activity across the State.”
Education Minister Sue Ellery said it was important that WA made education and training available to support the state’s economy.
“As the economy recovers, skilled workers across a range of trades and occupations will be in high demand,” Mrs Ellery said.
“It’s essential we provide as much support as possible.”