Free TAFE, VET courses for WA students

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Thousands of West Australians will be offered free TAFE and vocational education and training courses under a major investment by the state and federal governments.


The $112 million deal will fund 18,800 places across priority areas to address skills shortages in WA's booming economy.

Students enrolled in 58 full qualification courses and 56 short skills set courses will have their fees covered for the duration of their learning.

It is expected to cover 8500 positions in the care sector, 2400 in technology and digital, 1900 in agriculture and 1500 in construction.

"If you have got one of these technical skills, you are needed now across our labour market," Education Minister Sue Ellery told reporters on Monday.

"It's not just the resource industry."

Ms Ellery said the agreement would increase opportunities and workforce participation for priority groups including First Nations people, unpaid carers and people with disabilities.

With competition for workers in the mining sector pushing up wages across other parts of the economy, Ms Ellery said more West Australians were completing vocational education and training courses than university courses.

'That's the first time that's happened," she said.

"You can get a high-paying job now if you have one of these technical qualifications, and people are grabbing that."

She added the state government wanted high school students to be challenged regardless of which path they chose.

"People are still going to university, they're just getting there a different way," she said.

Federal Skills and Training Minister Brendan O'Connor said the deal recognised the urgency of the skills crisis facing the nation.

"To provide greater opportunity for Western Australians to have secure and rewarding employment, we must be able to skill and reskill our workforce," he said.

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