Stephen Kydd is living the dream as a primary school teacher' thanks to CQUniversity and the TAFE Priority Skills Fund (TPSF).
Stephen' who is now a health and physical education teacher at a Rockhampton area primary school while studying Fitness' encouraged others to apply for TPSF funding to pursue their passions.
"I am currently doing a Certificate III in Fitness. When I was 40' I started my Bachelor in Learning Management (Primary) at CQU'" he said.
"I always wanted to be a teacher' however when I left school in 1981' I didn't receive the score that was required to do teaching.
"The Certificate III training will help me with the Year 6 students. They do a unit on fitness and the new knowledge I have acquired will enable me to do different activities and exercises with them."
Prospective and current CQU TAFE students like Stephen have new incentives to pursue their passions and career goals in 2022.
The Queensland Government's $200 million investment in the JobTrainer Fund' coupled with Free TAFE for Under 25s and TAFE Priority Skills Fund subsidies makes vocational education and training (VET) at CQU TAFE more affordable than ever and' in some cases' without fees.
CQUniversity Deputy Vice-President of VET Peter Heilbuth said initiatives like the TAFE Priority Skills Fund' JobTrainer and Free TAFE had seen an increase in the number of students enquiring about CQU's TAFE courses.
"CQU is seeing a significant increase in interest around subsidised training compared to last year. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen people re-evaluating their lives and careers and TAFE courses – and the subsidies – are a viable option for them'" Mr Heilbuth said.
"In 2021 we saw a five per cent increase in enrolments in our TAFE courses and in fact' we've had good growth for the last couple of years."
Stephen said the TPSF gave him the access he needed to CQU's Certificate III in Fitness training.
"I chose CQU TAFE as most other training organisations want the fees for their courses upfront before you start and I couldn't afford to do this'" he said.
"The mode of delivery that CQU offers is also very beneficial to my commitments to family and work hours. Everything about the course has been easy to follow and to understand."
Mr Heilbuth said the TAFE Priority Skills Fund was also of significant benefit to people – and employers – looking to upskill with a certificate III' IV or diploma-level qualification.
"An additional benefit of this funding is that you may be eligible even if you already hold a qualification' giving you a second chance for subsidised training'" he said.
He said growth in enrolments is expected to continue in 2022' supported by the broad range and improved access to subsidised training.
"Free TAFE for under 25s lets students gain a qualification in a high-priority study area without the cost'" Mr Heilbuth said.
"There are fully subsidised courses in areas of horticulture' early childhood education' community services' hospitality' laboratory skills and more.
"Our training provides students with work-ready skills for industries where workers are in high demand. The figures bear this out with 88 per cent of our students either employed or in further study six months after completing their study with us."
Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said the nationwide labour shortage has highlighted the importance of investing in skills and training.
"Our record $1 billion per year skills and training budget is all about investing in Queensland's greatest resource – its people'" the Minister said.
"And with labour shortages increasingly a challenge' that investment is more important now than ever.
"It is key to making sure Queensland has a highly skilled and adaptable workforce – one that can meet the needs of employers and be ready for emerging opportunities across all regions and industries.
"That's why we have committed a further $100 million to extend JobTrainer' complementing our existing free TAFE and apprenticeship program.
"Together' our investments have seen more than 45'700 Queensland apprentices and trainees commence in the last financial year - a 56.6 per cent rise on the year before."
Minister Farmer said the $200 million Future Skills Fund was also delivering world-class infrastructure' including the $7.5 million CQU Mackay Ooralea Trade Training Centre expansion' and $8.4 million toward the CQU Rockhampton campus consolidation business case and stage 1 of CQU's TAFE Centre of Excellence.
"As we continue to grow our economy' investing in skills and training will help even more Queenslanders find the right job' and there's no better place to get that training in Central Queensland than CQUniversity."
The Free TAFE and TAFE Priority Skills Fund are initiatives of the Queensland Government.
Mr Heilbuth said JobTrainer' which was established by the Australian Government' in partnership with the Queensland Government in response to COVID-19 also provided free or low-fee training courses.
"Job seekers and young people' including school leavers' can take advantage of subsidised training to learn skills for jobs in demand'" he said.
"Students are eligible to access training under JobTrainer regardless of any prior qualifications completed or held.
"All of these initiatives offer people an affordable entry into vocational education and training – a chance to follow their pursuits' acquire valuable skills' or change their careers."
Anyone wanting to learn more can visit our TAFE Subsidised Training page.