300,000 Fee-Free TAFE enrolments strengthen priority workforces

The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training


The Albanese Government’s Fee-Free TAFE initiative is on track to welcome its 300,000th enrolment this year, smashing initial forecasts and underlining the strong desire Australians have for high-quality and accessible vocational education and training (VET). 

The program - which commenced at the beginning of this year - has far exceeded its initial target of 180,000 due to the strong performance of all states and territories, allowing a broad and diverse group of Australians to study for future jobs in areas where the economy needs them most. 

Newly reported figures show that Fee-Free TAFE enrolments totalled 296,107 as at September 30, including over: 

  • 65,500 enrolments in the (Aged, Disability and Community) Care sector  
  • 26,600 enrolments in the Technology and Digital sector  
  • 21,000 enrolments in the Construction sector
  • 14,300 enrolments in Early Childhood Education and Care sector
  • 11,900 enrolments in the Agriculture sector, and
  • 11,300 enrolments in the Hospitality and Tourism sector.

Over 138,000 Australians have enrolled in other National and State priority courses including; support teaching, VET workforce training, conservation and ecosystem management and accounting and bookkeeping.

The Albanese Government is grateful to all State and Territory leaders for their cooperation, collaboration and hard work which has helped guide hundreds of thousands of Australian students into VET courses in areas of workforce shortages.  

Enrolment figures show that Fee-Free TAFE is supporting disadvantaged and in-need Australians, including over 65,000 job seekers, over 22,000 people with disability and more than 14,000 First Nations Australians.

Women are strongly represented, making up 60 per cent of enrolments, with over 180,000 students enrolling in Fee-Free TAFE courses since January 1.

Students from regional and remote areas make up 36 per cent of enrolments, with over 105,000 Australians enrolling in a Fee-Free TAFE course this year.

Also taking up Fee-Free TAFE places are over 67,000 students who speak a language other than English at home.

The Albanese Government is committing a further $414 million to make another 300,000 places available from January 2024.

As at 30 November 2023.