More than 13,000 jobseekers enrolled in the Andrews Labor Government’s Free TAFE initiative across TAFE Gippsland, Box Hill Institute and Chisholm Institute last year, making rewarding career pathways a reality for thousands of Victorians.

In its first two years, the Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative has helped more than 70,000 Victorians learn new skills or bolster their resumé – with students across Regional Victoria saving over $37 million.

More than 2,294 Free TAFE students were enrolled at TAFE Gippsland last year, up by 29 per cent on 2019, more than 3,314 at Box Hill Institute, up by 17 per cent on 2019, and more than 8,150 at Chisholm Institute, up by 13 per cent on 2019.

Among the most popular courses were the Diploma of Nursing at TAFE Gippsland, with an enrolment increase of 59 per cent, the Diploma of Nursing at Box Hill institute, which grew by 50 per cent, and the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care at Chisholm Institute which rose by 306 per cent – supporting industry demand across Eastern Victoria.

Importantly, Free TAFE has provided even more Victorians with the skills they need, with overall enrolments at the end of 2020 increasing by 21 per cent on the previous year. It has also improved access to training for women, Aboriginal and CALD Victorians. The number of Aboriginal students enrolled at TAFE Gippsland grew by 81 per cent, CALD and unemployed students grew by 87 per cent, while the number of women, disabled, CALD, and unemployed students at Chisholm Institute all more than doubled.

An increasing number of jobseekers are turning to Free TAFE, with the initiative expanding to offer more than 50 courses and support almost 93,000 students commencing since the initiative began. Importantly, training is meeting student expectations, with satisfaction rates reaching more than 84 per cent among graduates.

The Free TAFE initiative began in 2019 and allows eligible students to apply for fully subsidised courses that directly lead to jobs now and into the future.

Since 2014, the Labor Government has made a record $3.2 billion investment to rebuild TAFE and support universities and higher education to ensure Victorians have access to high quality education and rewarding career pathways.

Explore the 2020 Free TAFE Report Card at

Quote attributable to Harriet Shing Member for Eastern Victoria

“Free TAFE has made an extraordinary and life-changing difference to the pathways and opportunities for people of all ages and experience across Eastern Victoria. 

“Having so many course options made available via Free TAFE has provided thousands of additional students access to training and skills for jobs and careers in growth industries.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney

“This new report card shows the tangible benefits of Free TAFE on jobseekers, our local workforce and economy – and that’s exactly why we are making record investments in TAFE and training.”

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