MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:07:28): I rise to update the house on an additional two courses that will be added to Labor’s free TAFE course list as a result of Monday’s state budget. Next year the certificate III in early childhood education and care and the diploma of early childhood education and care will be fee free under Labor’s free TAFE initiative.
Last year Labor committed $5 billion over 10 years so that every three-year-old child in the state will have access to 15 hours of subsidised kinder by 2029.
Like free TAFE, this is a game-changing initiative and one that has been widely welcomed by Victorians.
To ensure that we have the workforce to support this increased delivery, from 2020 the free TAFE course list will also include these two early childhood qualifications.
This is a great example of not only how free TAFE is making vocational education accessible to Victorians but also how it is providing a pipeline of skilled workers for really important sectors such as early childhood education.
Students enrolling in an certificate III in early childhood education and care will save up to $5900. Students enrolling in the diploma will save up to $11 800.
It really is a significant amount of money, certainly enough to bring about an opportunity that for many just was not there.
We have seen the impact that free TAFE is having on enrolments in priority courses already, with more than 19 000 students enrolled in the first quarter of this year. This represents a doubling of enrolments compared to the same time last year, a great initiative and totally successful.