AT LEAST five TAFE courses will be available to study free of charge at the Leongatha campus of Federation Training, under sweeping changes to the TAFE system announced as part of the Labor Government’s 2018/19 budget last week.
Labor’s biggest announcement for education in Victoria was that from January 2019, the State Government will cover the cost of 30 TAFE courses and 18 pre-apprenticeship courses in “high-priority” fields.
Federation Training’s Leongatha campus currently offers five of the 30 specified courses: Certificate III in Hospitality, Certificate III in Individual Support, Diploma of Nursing, Certificate III and Certificate IV in Education Support.
And with Federation Training poised to take over as the main provider of agricultural training in Gippsland, after the closure of GOTAFE late last year, it’s possible that Certificates II, III and IV in Agriculture, and Certificate III in Agriculture (Dairy Production), which were also named in the Andrews Government’s priorities list, could also be offered free of charge for eligible students at Leongatha soon.
The course offering at the Leongatha campus may expand even further in 2019 and beyond, with Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney also announcing last week $1.96 million under the Regional and Specialist Training Fund (RSTF)for Federation Training to deliver new training courses in horticulture, conservation management, health, and construction, across multiple campuses, and to offer additional places in existing certificate and diploma courses such as Mental Health, Allied Health Assistance, Building & Construction and Visual Arts (Photography).
A spokesperson for Federation Training said the organisation is still working through the “broader implications” of the budget announcements and how they apply across all Federation Training campuses, which include Bairnsdale, Chadstone, Forestec (East Gippsland), Lakes Entrance, Morwell, Traralgon, Warragul, Yallourn and Sale.
“It is early days however Federation Training fully supports the Victorian Government’s initiative to boost TAFE training opportunities for regional students,” the spokesperson said.
“We are working through details of the government announcement in relation to the free priority training courses and how the availability of these training courses will meet the employment needs of local industry and the business community.
“Federation Training is looking at a range of programs, in consultation with our South Gippsland business and industry partners, as part of our curriculum planning process.
“We are not currently running courses in South Gippsland related specifically to the RSTF funding announced by the Minister last week, however that could certainly change as we plan for 2019 and beyond.
“We should be in a position able to provide more clarity and further information around mid-year once we have worked through all the details.”
Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said the government was “making the investments needed to rebuild our TAFE system” after “years of devastating cuts by the previous Liberal Government”.
“We’re supporting Federation Training to make sure students in Gippsland have access to training that meets the needs of local businesses and industry,” Ms Tierney said.
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the funding boost would open more places at TAFE for people in our community.
“We want everyone across Gippsland to have access to the training they need to get a job,” Ms Shing said.