One of the great things about Australia’s education system is the way in which it makes higher education accessible to all citizens. TAFE is designed to bridge the gap between school and university, providing important theory and practical experience in several fields of study for students of all ages. They can also be used as a pathway to undergraduate degrees.
All of the courses conform to a predetermined national standard to ensure consistency in the quality of the education, as well as consistency in the material covered. Each region in Australia has its own TAFE institutes, which we will explore in more detail.
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Table of Contents
What is TAFE?
TAFE is Australia’s way of ensuring that its citizens have the knowledge and the skills needed to thrive in the workplace. It helps to address the country’s skills shortages in essential fields by allowing students to progress step-by-step, at their own pace through the different levels of qualifications available. In this way, people are able to reach their full potential and help drive Australia’s economy forward.
TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. Its approach to education is comprehensive in that it combines essential, industry-relevant practical skills with essential, industry-relevant theory. The result is students with well-rounded knowledge of their chosen field.
TAFE, VET & AQF
TAFE and VET overlap in many ways, but there are some differences between them.
VET (Vocational Education and Training) concentrates on a specific vocation. The education and training provided are narrowly focused on a particular job within a field, and not on the broader field itself. The courses are primarily practical and non-academic. VET courses are often geared towards school-leavers who are going to enter a specific trade; for example, plumbing or bricklaying. However, VET courses in Australia are starting to broaden, providing students with a more holistic education.
TAFE (Technical and Further Education) courses have a strong practical element, they also have an academic focus. This provides a more comprehensive view of the field, and not just the specific trade. The qualifications are graded, so Certificate I courses are suitable for those who may not have completed high school. They may then work up the ladder to Advanced Diploma level, which allows them to enter university and complete undergraduate degrees.
AQF stands for Australian Qualifications Framework; it regulates the training and education sector, which includes school, VET, and TAFE qualifications, as well as the institutes that provide the qualifications. It allows students to trust the quality of their education, and it allows employers to trust the quality of their new recruits.
Why Go To TAFE?
There’s plenty of benefits to going to TAFE, which can really help your career and experience. Some of the best reasons to go to TAFE include:
What Study Options Are Available?
TAFE is extremely flexible. It comes in a variety of formats which suit just about any lifestyle. There are part-time and full-time courses, and courses that can be considered a hybrid of both. There are on-campus options and online courses for people who may not be geographically close to an institute or who need to balance work, study, and family commitments. There are also semester-based courses and rolling courses, which are usually offered by online TAFE providers.
TAFE semester courses are structured according to predetermined dates: application dates, starting dates, assignment dates, exam dates, and closing dates, etc. All on-campus courses are semester based, but not all online courses are. Semesters vary from region to region and institute to institute, so TAFE in NSW may not start at the same time as those in QLD.
Most TAFE institutes offer students online study options, even though they may be traditional brick and mortar institutions. It’s important to note that not all courses are suited to online study. If this is the case, some institutes may offer hybrid courses in which students have to attend a certain number of practicals, tutorials, or lecture hours per study unit or course.
TAFE short courses serve a number of purposes. They can be introductory courses for certain applications, like beginners courses in Microsoft Word. Interested parties can then increase their skills with intermediate and advanced courses. They can also top up existing skills, for example, research methodology for doctorate students, or BAS Registration for accountants and tax professionals. Short courses vary in duration from half-day to six weeks.
TAFE in Australia – Institutes by State
Every region in Australia has its own TAFE institutes, many of which have campuses spread across all the major cities and towns. Many of the major cities have several different TAFE providers. Some institutes specialise in certain fields of study, while others offer the full variety of courses.
TAFE in Queensland
There are six TAFE institutes in Queensland (QLD), which are known as the collective TAFE Queensland Institutes. TAFE Queensland was formed through the amalgamation of the Brisbane North Institute (BNIT), Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE (MSIT) and the Southbank Institute of TAFE.
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TAFE East Coast
The Sunshine Coast is provided TAFE courses through TAFE East Coast, which has a number of locations along the East Sunshine Coast, including; Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, Nambour, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Gympie and Maryborough. It offers students pathways to undergraduate degrees at the University of the Sunshine Coast. It offers a diverse range of courses in the fields of Business, Engineering, IT, Graphic Design, and Health, among others. Browse TAFE East Coast Courses
The Tropical North Queensland has many TAFE campuses provided through TAFE North, based in and around Cairns. It’s other campus locations include; Atherton, Bamaga, Bowen, Burdekin, Cairns (Great Barrier Reef International Marine College), Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Ingham, Innisfail, Mount Isa, Normanton, Palm Island, Thursday Island, Townsville and the Whitsundays. It specialises in marine-related courses, but it has faculties in Business, Environment, Sustainability and Tourism, Heath and Community Care, Marine and IT, Trade and Outdoor Industries.
TAFE Gold Coast
TAFE Gold Coast has campuses along Queensland’s famed Gold Coast, with locations in Ashmore, Coolangatta, Coomera and Southport. It offers various apprenticeships and traineeships, TAFE certificates and diplomas, government funded programs, and indigenous programs. It provides pathways to several universities, including Queensland University of Technology, Griffith University, University of Southern Queensland, James Cook University, and Australian Catholic University. Browse TAFE Gold Coast Courses
TAFE in New South Wales
There are ten TAFE institutes in New South Wales (NSW), including the Hunter Institute, Riverina Institute, and, New England Institute. It also has over 140 campuses. The institutes and campuses have the entire territory covered, but there is some overlap as different institutes are present in the same city. For example, Sydney has four TAFE institutes. View our guide to TAFE Courses in New South Wales.
Sydney is one the biggest TAFE locations in NSW, with four institutes with campuses throughout the inner city, eastern suburbs and southwards. The TAFE Institutes include; Northern Sydney Institute of TAFE, South Western institute of TAFE, Sydney Institute of TAFE and Western Institute of TAFE. It offers a number of apprenticeships and training programs as well and includes state-of-the-art facilities. Browse TAFE Sydney Courses
Illawarra Institute of TAFE has eight campuses in NSW, including Wollongong, Wollongong West, Bega, Cooma, Goulburn, Moruya, Nowra, Shellharbour and Yellah. Qualifications on offer include TAFE Statement of Attendance, TAFE Certificates I – IV, TAFE Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas, and Graduate Certificates and Diplomas. Wollongong is Illawarra’s biggest campus. Browse TAFE Wollongong Courses
New England Institute of TAFE (NSW) has two specialised campuses, one of which is in Tamworth, and the other, Armidale. Tamworth is the biggest of the Institute’s campuses in the territory with the widest range of study options. Tamworth provides education in some fields, including; aged care, animal care, business community services, horticulture, hospitality and IT. Armidale, on the other hand, offers specialised training in agriculture, children’s services, film and television and massage.
Port Macquarie TAFE
Port Macquarie is just one of North Coast TAFE’s fifteen campuses in the state. Port Macquarie offers over 600 nationally accredited courses that include massage therapy, hospitality, assorted design courses, and assorted business courses. Online and distance learning are provided by the North Coast TAFE Open Campus. Browse TAFE Sydney Courses
TAFE in the ACT
ACT is Australia’s smallest territory, so it’s not surprising that it has the fewest TAFE institutes: One, to be exact. Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) offers training and education to over 20,000 students every year, from 86 different countries. Its part-time courses are very popular, as is its Adult Migrant English Program. View our guide to TAFE Courses in Australian Capital Territory.
Canberra Institute of Technology has six campuses in the city: Bruce, Fyshwick, Gungahlin, Reid, Tuggeranong, and Woden. It offers over 400 courses, including apprenticeships, traineeships, certificates, diplomas and degrees. The subjects available are incredibly diverse and include Accounting, Aged Care, Drainage, Information Technology, Nursing, Travel and Tourism, Visual Arts, Welding, and Youth Justice. Browse Courses in Canberra
Victoria (VIC) has many TAFE institutes and universities that provide courses to local and international students. Some of the institutes include the Gordon Institute of TAFE in Geelong, Wodonga TAFE, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, and Kangan Institute.
If you’re in Melbourne, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to TAFE providers, as most have at least one campus in the city. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
(previouslyNorthern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) has seven campuses: Preston, Collingwood, Fairfield, Epping, Heidelberg, Prahran and soon the newly refurbished Greensborough campus. The centres specialise in different subjects such as Welding, Food Technology, Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Manufacturing, Hospitality, Performing Arts, Aquaculture, Cattle Farming, and Wine Making. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
Victoria University TAFE
Victoria University (VU) offers a variety of courses from its different campuses in the territory through its TAFE branch, Victoria Polytechnic. Study fields include Arts, Business, Education, Engineering and Science, Health and Biomedicine, Law and Justice, and Sport and Exercise Science. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
Box Hill TAFE
Box Hill Institute offers courses across three campuses in the East Melbourne area. The campuses include; Lilydale, Box Hill and City Campus. Courses are available in a number of different fields, including Animals and Science, Arts and Music, Automotive and Transport, Business and IT, Construction and Plumbing, Education and Languages, Electrical and Refrigeration, Engineering and Manufacturing, Hair and Beauty, Health and Community, and Hospitality and Tourism. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
Holmesglen Institute of TAFE has five campuses in Melbourne: Chadstone Campus, Southbank City, Moorabbin Campus, North Melbourne, and Glen Waverley Campus. It offers over 100 courses in various forms, including short courses, apprenticeships, online courses, university preparation courses, TAFE certificates and diplomas, and bachelor degrees and graduate certificates. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
Chisholm offers courses from south east Melbourne. It has six campuses: Bass Coast, Berwick, Cranbourne, Dandenong, Frankston, and Mornington Peninsula. In addition to on-campus study opportunities, there are online learning options and even options to complete TAFE in your workplace. Chisholm TAFE provides pathways to several universities, including Monash University, Deakin University, La Trobe University, Swinburne University, and Victoria University. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
Kangan Institute of TAFE
Kangan Institute offers nearly 300 courses from six campuses in Melbourne, including Broadmeadows, Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Richmond, and Docklands. It also has 10 training centres that cover fields such as Aviation, Automotive, Fashion, Health, and Engineering. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
Bendigo TAFE has three campuses in Bendigo, as well as two others in Echuca and Castlemaine in northern and central Victoria. TAFE certificate through to diploma courses are available in a variety of fields, such as Occupational Health and Safety, Conservation and Land Management, Engineering, Visual Arts, Nursing, Mental Health, Allied Health, Beauty Therapy, and Information Technology Networking. Browse TAFE Courses in Melbourne
TAFE in Tasmania is provided by two institutions: TasTAFE and the Australian Maritime College.
TasTAFE has 13 campuses across the state; Alanvale, Inveresk, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport, Smithton, South Burnie, Bathurst Street, Bender Drive, Campbell Street, Claremont, Clarence and Drysdale. It offers a wide range of courses, available through full-time and part- time study methods, as well as a select range of online courses. Just about every field of subject is covered, with a combined total of 400 courses. Browse Courses in Tasmania
TAFE SA offers over 1,300 courses to students in South Australia. TAFE SA diploma and advanced diploma courses provide a pathway to Flinders University. Various types of courses are available, including TAFE VET courses for secondary school students, apprenticeships, award courses, and short courses. TAFE SA has many, many campuses in Adelaide and regional South Australia, including Barossa & Riverland, Eyre & West Coast, Southern Regions, and Yorke and Northern Regions. View our guide to TAFE Courses in South Australia.
TAFE SA campuses in Adelaide include; Adelaide Campus, Regency Campus, Elizabeth Campus, Gilles Plaines Campus, Morphettville Campus, Parafield Campus, Salisbury Campus, Tee Tree Gully Campus, Port Adelaide Campus, Urrbrae Campus, Tonsley Campus, Noarlunga Campus and Adelaide College of the Arts. Courses cover a wide range of study areas, such as Agriculture, Design, Engineering, Marketing, Education, Beauty, Tourism, IT and Health. Browse Courses in South Australia
TAFE in WA has undergone recent changes, similar to other states around Australia in the past few years. A number of prominent TAFE institutes in the state have become amalgamated, to form five new TAFE providers based across the wide expanse of Western Australia. These former TAFE providers are now known as the collective TAFE WA institutes of North Metropolitan TAFE, South Metropolitan TAFE, Central Regional TAFE, South Regional TAFE and North Regional TAFE. These former providers include:
North Metropolitan TAFE is the primary TAFE provider in the Perth region, the campuses include; Leederville, East Perth, Mount Lawlet, Northbridge, Joondalup and the recently acquired Balga and Midland. Courses range from certificate to advanced diploma level, with full-time, part-time and online options available as well as short courses. just about every subject is also covered, from agriculture, construction, engineering, through to beauty and hospitality. Browse Courses in Perth
TAFE in Bunbury is provided by South Regional TAFE. Bunbury is the institute’s main campus. It offers students many state-of-the-art facilities, serving a wide range of course subject offerings. South Regional TAFE provides certificate to advanced diploma level courses, as well as a number of short courses and university pathway options for future study. Browse Courses in Bunbury
TAFE in Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) is provided by Charles Darwin University. Charles Darwin University reached its status as a TAFE course provider via a circuitous route that involved the merger of several other colleges, institutes, and universities. View our guide to TAFE in Northern Territory.
Charles Darwin University offers a comprehensive range of TAFE across several industries, including Agriculture, Conservation and Land Management, Children’s Services and Education Support, Community Services and Health, Business, IT and Library Studies, Tourism and Hospitality, Construction, Drafting and Industry Skills Training, Plumbing, Metal Trades, and National Transport and Logistics Training. Browse Courses in Darwin
Types of Government Funding
The Australian government wants to make higher education and training accessible to all its citizens. As a result, it has launched several government funds and subsidy programs for people who want to improve their skills through TAFE and VET courses. Subsidies are also available for employers who want to help develop their staff members’ skills.
Australian Apprentices Program
There are several apprenticeship funding programs designed to encourage training and development in the emerging workforce.
Some of the programs include:
Other Funding Programmes
National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF): Aims to encourage organisations to assess their current and future workforce development needs, so that they can apply for the funding necessary to train new and existing workers to meet those needs. Applications are open to organisations, Registered Training Organisations, existing workers, and new workers.
Skills Connect Fund: Allows employers to comprehensively address their development needs by accessing TAFE and VET courses, and mentoring programs and support services.
Auswide Colleges New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS): For unemployed people who are over 18 years old and who want to start their own small business. The program is funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Participants are required to complete TAFE Certificate IV in Small Business Management, and will receive a further 52 weeks of income support and mentoring.
Loan Schemes & Financial Assistance
In Australia, subsidised higher education fees and government loans are called HELP (Higher Education Loan Program). There are several different types of HELP available. These include:
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