MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (12:26): As I am sure everyone in this chamber knows, a great teacher can change lives. In the TAFE network we have incredibly dedicated and passionate teachers who share their industry expertise and skills every day. I am grateful to every single TAFE teacher for the work that they do to build the pipeline of skilled workers that Victoria needs, and we need a bigger pipeline. That is why we are seeing more and more students studying at TAFE. There are more enrolments in government-funded TAFE courses than in our first year of government. That is because we have restored the status of vocational training. It is an equal first to university.
When you back TAFE, you need more TAFE teachers, and I am pleased to update the chamber that 125 industry experts have been signed up for the TAFE teacher training scholarships that we launched last year. Fifteen per cent of those experts are in nursing. Twelve per cent will help upskill the next generation of plumbers. I was pleased to meet scholarship recipient Danielle Wright at Glenormiston College last February. Danielle is a dairy farmer who is now on the path towards teaching agriculture at South West TAFE. Her passion for the agriculture industry is contagious, and I am sure that passion will inspire more locals to take up a career in the industry.
I am proud of our investments in the TAFE workforce. We back our teachers each and every day. These scholarships are critical to getting more experts into the TAFE network, and I look forward to seeing even more Victorians sign up.