The introduction of free TAFE courses is having a tremendous impact on South West TAFE this year, which is already recording excellent outcomes for students with the latest National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) figures among the best in the country.
The recently released NCVER 2018 Student Outcomes report shows 91.3 per cent of South West TAFE graduates were employed or in further study after training. This compares to 84.2 per cent for TAFEs across Victoria and 84.4 per cent across Australia.
The feedback from students was also overwhelmingly positive, with 92.8 per cent saying they would recommend South West TAFE.
The survey used data collected in mid-2018 of graduates who completed their vocational education and training in 2017.
South West TAFE CEO Mark Fidge said TAFE was very proud of these results.
“It’s a great outcome which we can attribute to staff engaging with our local employers and industry partners to understand their training requirements and then making sure our students are trained accordingly and prepared for employment at the end of their courses,” Mr Fidge said.
“We aim to run courses that lead to employment outcomes and driving that ideal has led to these excellent results.”
The Victorian Government’s Free TAFE initiative also focuses on high-demand jobs and has led to a massive 35 per cent increase in enrolments across South West TAFE so far this year.
Mr Fidge said growth was particularly strong in bookkeeping and accounting, education support, tourism, horticulture, agriculture, community services and aged care courses.
“There are great outcomes for jobs across south-west Victoria in these fields,” he added.
Student numbers in government-funded programs have increased to almost 3000, up from 2100 this time last year. Mr Fidge said South West TAFE had been able to cope with the additional demand, including basing some courses at the Deakin University Warrnambool campus and hiring new staff.
“To accommodate Free TAFE and our growth in general, we’ve employed 60-70 new staff this year. About half of those have been involved in local industry and obtained their training and assessment qualification to become teachers, while others have moved here which has provided an economic benefit and helps to grow our region.”
South West TAFE has also worked closely with industry to ensure all students have practical placements which enhance their learning experience.
Free TAFE will continue next year and be expanded into children’s services.