New plan to get an extra 9,000 WA students into VET courses

Posted on January 28, 2021
  • Re-elected McGowan Labor Government to deliver a major boost in VET places for school students
  • Extra funding will create an additional 4,000 places at WA TAFEs for secondary students by 2024
  • VET courses provide crucial training for Year 11 and 12 students, creating a pathway to quality apprenticeships and long term careers here in Western Australia
  • Builds on McGowan Government’s historic investment in TAFE

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will increase the number of Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses at WA TAFEs, paving the way for over 46,000 school students over the next four years to enrol in a VET course that can lead to a quality job.

VET courses provide a crucial introduction to training for Year 11 and 12 students, and assist in helping them to plan career options. They can also give students a nationally recognised qualification when they leave school, and contribute to them attaining a Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE).

VET courses include pre-apprenticeships, which give students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills to begin an apprenticeship when they leave school. Pre-apprenticeships are highly valued by employers, and they allow students to remain at school to obtain their WACE while getting a head start on their career via an industry approved pathway to a full-time apprenticeship.

The $29.8 million plan will see the number of Year 11 and 12 students able to access VET courses each year increase to 2,000 from 2022, then to 3,000 in 2023 and then to 4,000 in 2024, providing 9,000 additional students with the opportunity to study a VET course. It will prioritise STEM courses, including pre-apprenticeships, where industry has identified a need, providing more than 46,000 school students with the opportunity over the next four years to study a qualification in high demand.

Courses will be available in areas including automotive, building and construction, electrical, baking, hospitality and tourism, light manufacturing (cabinet/furniture making, glass & glazing), metals, manufacturing, refrigeration and aeroskills, primary industries (landscaping, parks and gardens, nursery).

The McGowan Government has already invested $4 million to expand VET for secondary student places in 2021, to meet increased demand. This delivered an additional 1,250 training places via TAFE colleges and 100 additional school-based pre-apprenticeships/pre-traineeships training places this year.

The program will give schools the flexibility to negotiate the most suitable courses and delivery arrangements with their local TAFE colleges.

The commitment builds on the McGowan Governments ‘Lower Fees, Local Skills’ initiative that saw TAFE fees slashed by up to 72 per cent on 180 courses, and the $229.2 million investment in TAFE and training to build a pipeline of skilled workers and support the State’s economic recovery.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“This is all about ensuring young Western Australians get the training they need to begin their careers, and builds on our massive reductions to TAFE fees.

“A re-elected WA Labor Government will continue to make TAFE a priority, so every Western Australian has the opportunity to get a quality job.

“We have worked with industry to ensure TAFE and training is focused in areas that we know there is a need for workers. This policy will ensure there are strong links between schools and industry, and will deliver a major boost to students who want to enrol in VET courses.

“VET courses provide Year and 11 and 12 students with a range of pathways to training and jobs when they leave school. They recognise the fact that not all careers require university qualifications, and for many students, a VET course is an important first step in their employment journey.

“We know that students who have completed VET courses, particularly pre-apprenticeships, are valued by employers, because they commence their apprenticeships having already experienced on-the-job training.

“My WA Labor Government is committed to providing world-class training to young Western Australians to give them the best opportunity to get skilled employment and ensure WA has a strong future.”

What the McGowan Labor Government is already delivering:

  • Slashed TAFE fees by up to 72 per cent on 180 courses
  • A record $167.4 million investment in upgrades to TAFE infrastructure across the five Western Australian TAFE colleges, as part of the WA Recovery Plan
  • Introduced free TAFE short courses to upskill thousands of Western Australians
  • $182.4 million Employer Incentive Scheme, which offers employers $8,500 towards the costs of employing an apprentice or new entrant trainee
  • $4.8 million for the Apprenticeship and Traineeship Re-engagement Incentive, providing financial support to employers who take on a displaced apprentice or trainee
  • $8.5 million for $20,000 incentives for defence manufacturing industry employers to train apprentices in key trades
  • Established Jobs and Skills Centres across WA –  one-stop shops for careers, training and employment advice and assistance.