As part of the 2017-18 State Budget, Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery today announced more than $90 million would be spent over the next four years to return the delivery of several qualifications to Western Australia, upgrade vital training infrastructure and improve training affordability through the TAFE fees freeze.
In response to industry concern, training for apprenticeships in the craft industries including upholstery, flooring and furniture finishing will return to WA TAFE colleges in 2018 after previously being delivered in the Eastern States.
South Regional TAFE’s Esperance campus will receive more than $17.8 million in capital works to provide industry standard training facilities and expand job opportunities in the region.
Upgrades will include a new trade workshop for light automotive, metal trades and farm machinery training, and a specialist space for hairdressing apprentices and beauty therapy.
The new facilities will be built on an available site at Esperance Senior High School so secondary students can access vocational education and training programs. The new campus is expected to open in 2021.
Funding totalling $200,000 for initial planning, scoping and industry consultation work to upgrade facilities at the ageing Collie campus have also been allocated.
Remedial works totalling $54 million will improve rundown infrastructure at TAFE colleges across the State. Essential minor works at the Albany, Bentley, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, Karratha, Mount Lawley, East Perth and Northbridge campuses will support positive learning outcomes for students.
Classrooms at Central Regional TAFE’s Northam campus will be repurposed into a simulated ward for nursing and aged care training to support the Wheatbelt’s ageing population.
Along with first-class facilities, students will be encouraged into vocational education and training through a TAFE fee freeze where there will be no increase to fees in the next four years.
Previous fee increases put TAFE out of reach for many young people. The cost of the freeze is estimated at $11.8 million over four years with $600,000 allocated in this year’s Budget, and will be paid for by the Foreign Buyers Surcharge.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said
“Returning training to Western Australia, freezing fee increases and revitalising critical infrastructure will enhance our training system and allow us to maximise training and job opportunities in the State.
“This demonstrates this Government’s commitment to defining the needs of local industry and responding to market conditions to ensure we are well-placed to grow our State’s economy.
“These Budget commitments align with the State Government’s Plan for Jobs, which puts a healthy vocational education and training sector at the forefront of job creation.”