GAYLE TIERNEY (Western Victoria – Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education, Minister for Agriculture) (12:30): Free TAFE has changed lives throughout Victoria. It has provided quality education and skills and training so that people get the qualifications for a great career. This was absolutely on show when I recently visited South West TAFE Hamilton with Jacinta Ermacora, my fellow member for Western Victoria. We had the pleasure of meeting nursing students who were just so passionate about their studies and their future careers. Their personal stories really epitomised why the Andrews Labor government established free TAFE in 2019. Student nurse Bryan recalled how he had lost his job and retrained to work in aged care, and it was there that he discovered a real passion for supporting patients with dementia. Thanks to free TAFE he is studying nursing. Christina, another student, said that free TAFE had changed her life. It has given her the opportunity to follow her lifetime dream of becoming a nurse. As a mature age student she can now fulfil her career goals after raising a family.
Free TAFE is delivering the skills and training needed in regional communities. South West TAFE do an exceptional job of empowering people to gain the skills they need in their own communities. In addition to the delivery of courses across their campuses, they have just unveiled their new mobile nursing skills lab. It is a fully kitted out hospital room with external classroom capacity. I congratulate CEO Mark Fidge and all of the team at South West TAFE, who ensure that there is access to great skills and training where it is needed most. This is free TAFE at work in regional Victoria.