Fee-free TAFE courses will continue in New South Wales as the state government invests $16.3 million to deliver nearly 40,000 new apprentices and trainees.

The money will cover $2000 in apprentices’ student fees and $1000 in student fees for trainees, removing the upfront cost of the courses.

Trades like carpentry, plumbing and electrical are eligible for the fee-free scheme, as well as in-demand traineeships like childhood education and care, aged care and disability care.

TAFE NSW, Ultimo campus. 14th July 2020 (Louise Kennerley)

The NSW Government said an increase in tradies was critical to delivering their housing supply strategy to build 377,000 new homes across the state by 2029.

Minister for Skills and TAFE Steve Whan said the funds would help address skills shortages in critical sectors.

“The Minns Labor Government has an absolute focus on trying to overcome the shortage that we have in residential accommodation in NSW and developing the skills to build those houses is a key part of delivering on that commitment,” Whan said.

“We are reducing costs to employers and removing financial barriers for those wanting to move into the skills workforce in highly paid, highly skilled jobs.”

Minister for Skills and TAFE Steve Whan said the funds will help address skills shortages in critical sectors. (Dion Georgopoulos)

A further $190.2 million has been allocated for upgrades to TAFE NSW campuses across the state.

Previous underfunding of TAFE campuses left “dilapidated buildings, outdated digital devices, and unreliable Wi-Fi,” the Minns Government said.

The funding comes after a record $300 million investment in last year’s budget, which went towards building repairs and wifi upgrades at 28 regional campuses. 

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