New Fee-Free TAFE agreement for 37,000 training places across Queensland, welcomed by CQUniversity

13 December 2022

CQUniversity has welcomed the Australian and Queensland Governments' commitment to deliver more than 37'000 Fee-Free TAFE places in 2023' saying it will be of great benefit to Central Queenslanders looking to study vocational education and training (VET).

The Queensland Government revealed the new 12-month Skills Agreement will inject more than $200 million into the state's skills and training sector' including Queensland's only dual sector university' CQU.

Under the Agreement' $9.68 million will be provided' in matched funding' to TAFE Queensland and CQU to enable them to provide wraparound support to participating students.

CQUniversity Deputy Vice-President' VET Peter Heilbuth said the announcement served to improve the skills shortages currently impacting the state.

"None of us are untouched by the significant and sustained skills shortages being experienced across so many important industries – we are all experiencing it' whether we are employers' job seekers or people seeking a service or product at the moment'" Mr Heilbuth said.

"This is a real commitment to public TAFE and to our region's prosperity' and the people within it."

Mr Heilbuth said for Central Queenslanders looking to change careers' upskill or improve their employment opportunities' now was the time to look to Fee-Free TAFE training.

"This is a real opportunity for those thinking of studying; thinking of increasing their skills; thinking of getting into a different role or workplace'" he said.

"I would urge people that now is the time to take the leap into their own future' through TAFE at CQU.

"I'd like to thank the Federal and State ministers and their departments for this significant investment in public TAFE."

He added that most people would be eligible to access the Fee-Free TAFE.

The funding and number of places is based on historical enrolments.

It is estimated there will be around 10'300 Fee-Free places in the care sector' 12'000 places aligned to the technology and digital sectors' 1'600 places in hospitality and tourism' 5'300 places in construction' 900 places in agriculture and 6'900 places in sovereign capability including the manufacturing sector.

The qualifications provided under Fee-Free TAFE reflect the diverse workforce and job opportunities across Queensland's regions' such as in supporting marine eco-systems' the film industry' community services' business' and education.

The Fee-Free TAFE program in Queensland will also deliver free qualifications as part of apprenticeships for young people.

The 12-month Skills Agreement is the first stage of delivering on the skills commitments in the Australian Government's Made in Australia Skills Plan.

It also confirms TAFE's central role in the VET sector' increasing opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups' while addressing critical skills gaps in the economy.

The agreement includes an Australian Government commitment of $5.8 million to immediately improve TAFE facilities in Queensland' and $930'000 for essential VET data infrastructure reform.

All Governments have also agreed to a vision and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.

Training through Fee-Free TAFE will help drive enrolments in sectors with recognised skills shortages by matching training identified through the skills priority list.

This investment is estimated to also support around 3'000 enrolments in aged care to provide a pathway for new learners to enter this critical industry' including tuition-free access to the Certificate III in Individual Support and the Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

To learn more about the Fee-Free TAFE places available and specific courses' visit

CQUniversity will also be holding TAFE Careers Expos on 18 January 2023 from 2-5.30 pm at the CQUniversity Mackay City campus on Sydney Street' the Gladstone Marina Campus on Bryan Jordan Drive and the Rockhampton City Campus on Canning Street.

Register to attend.