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Settlement Guide: What is TAFE?

June 4, 2019 no comment kartik

If you’re looking to start your career in Australia or are already working and want to upskill or change path, TAFE might be a good option for you. It provides vocational education and training in every Australian state, covering many industries. This podcast tells what the TAFE system has to offer

The Technical And Further Education system (TAFE) is the public provider of vocational education and training in Australia.

It’s administered by each state and offers more than a thousand courses in many industries. TAFE courses tend to be practical courses to give skills for jobs. They range from short courses like the Responsible Service of Alcohol to longer apprenticeships for trades.

Some courses have entry requirements, like a certain level of English, while others do not. “If you don’t meet the entry requirement for the course, we can advise you on other ways to get there. For example, it might be possible to start with a lower level course,” explains Mandy Nour, the Adult Migrant English Program lead for TAFE New South Wales.

Free TAFE and financial help

While international students and temporary visa holders can go to TAFE, financial help is mostly available to citizens and permanent residents.

In several states, there’s a list of free TAFE courses, which are seen as strategically important. “There are 40 or 50 courses that range from pre-apprenticeship courses all the way to certificates IV to diplomas, where the government will pay the TAFE directly for the course fees instead of student having to pay those fees,” explains Andrew Williamson, Executive Director of the Victorian TAFE Association.

These free courses range from civil construction trades to community care and health care courses.

Refugees, asylum seekers, Aboriginal students and student with disabilities also have access to certain courses for free.

If you can’t access concessions and subsidies, Nour says your TAFE can help you in other ways: “We do also offer other options for people who need financial help. For example, the course fees can be paid in instalments, and we have, for the higher level courses, debt student loan or FEE-HELP, which is funded by the Commonwealth government and allow people to study now and pay later.”

The best way to know how much your course will cost and how much financial help you can get is to get in touch with your TAFE.

Get support and advice from your local TAFE

Your local TAFE can also provide career advice. “We’re able to have qualified career advisors sit down with our prospective students and talk through their options, what they want to achieve out of the course and into their career and to perhaps explore a range of options that might be suitable for the student,” says Williamson.

Your local TAFE can also help with course selection and enrolment. Many TAFE staff members speak languages other than English. It’s also possible to use the Translating and Interpreting Service by calling 131 450 if no staff can speak your language.

TAFE is for everybody

Whether you’re looking for a course that will lead you to your first job in Australia, help you upskill to get a better job or even completely change career, have a look at what TAFE offers.

Some people also use TAFE as a pathway to university or to learn more practical skills after a degree.

“The area that’s expanding the most rapidly is serviced by people who are qualified through the vocational education and training system. When you choose to study at a TAFE, you’re doing so at a public institution with a set of public values. That means that you’ll receive quality service, quality education from a trusted provider,” says Williamson.

If you want to learn more about TAFE courses, visit your local TAFE, give them a call or visit their website.


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