Fee-free training to deliver 40,000 new apprentices and trainees

The NSW Government will invest $16.3 million to continue fee-free training.

A man looking at a construction site. A man looking at a construction site.

The NSW Government will invest $16.3 million to continue fee-free training for apprentices and trainees across the state, which will fund more than 20,000 new apprentices and 19,000 trainees.

The investment covers student fees of up to $2000 for apprentices and up to $1000 for trainees, removing any up-front costs for those taking up apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities.

This ensures that anyone who wants to access vocational training and education can afford to do so.

The program is critical to build a future workforce in areas such as carpentry, plumbing and electrical – all critical skills to the delivery of the NSW Government’s housing supply strategy.

The most popular traineeships are also in high-demand areas such as early childhood education and care, aged care, disability care and other sectors of the economy such as retail, hospitality and administration.

Importantly, the program reduces administrative red tape and business costs for employers, and addresses cost of living pressures on our emerging skilled workforce, who are predominantly young people. The places will be available to all new apprentices and trainees starting their courses during the next financial year.

Additionally, the government will invest $190.2 million to undertake urgent repairs at TAFE NSW campuses across the state.

This will help to address chronic underfunding by the former government which resulted in dilapidated buildings, outdated digital devices, and unreliable Wi-Fi.

The new funding builds on a record $300 million capital investment in last year’s budget, which has gone towards building repairs and updating Wi-Fi systems at 28 of our regional campuses.

This investment sits alongside the joint Commonwealth and NSW Government fee-free TAFE initiative, which has delivered more than 156,000 enrolments in vocational education since April 2023.

This announcement is part of the NSW Government’s commitment to addressing skills shortages in critical sectors, delivering apprentices and trainees across housing, construction, manufacturing, childcare, disability, and aged care.

This is part of the government’s plan to build a better NSW.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Skills, TAFE and Tertiary Education, Steve Whan:

“The 2024-25 Budget continues to demonstrate the Minns Labor Government’s commitment to addressing skills shortages in critical sectors supported by apprentices and trainees including housing, construction, manufacturing, childcare, disability and aged care.

“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.

“The Minns Labor Government also 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.

“In order to attract and retain a skilled workforce in NSW, we know we have to deliver world-class educational facilities. We have over 1700 TAFE buildings in the State and know that they were left to ruin after the neglect of the Liberal and National Government.

“We’ll invest in fixing our TAFE NSW infrastructure and expanding the access to Wi-F across our regional campuses in order to give our apprentices and trainees the best possible starts to their careers”.

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