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Guide to TAFE Courses in Cairns

Cairns is considered the gateway to Far North Queensland. While it’s not a major city by Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne standards, it is very popular with international tourists and plays an important role in Queensland’s economy. The local government has made significant investments in projects to keep the employment healthy, so students can be confident of their chances of finding a job once they’ve graduated.

As far as vocational education is concerned, TAFE QLD’s Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) Institute of TAFE takes care of Cairns’ needs.

Let’s take a closer look at the institute.

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Guide to TAFE Courses in Cairns
Guide to TAFE Courses in Cairns

What TAFE study options are available to me in Cairns?

TNQ offers the full range of TAFE courses in Cairns. This means that you can study everything from short courses and pre-apprenticeship programs to university pathway certificates and diplomas. Online courses are also available for those who can’t or don’t want to attend bricks and mortar classes.

Full-time and part-time courses are also an option.

Semester courses

Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE offers a range of semester courses for domestic and international students, as well as semester-based apprenticeships, short courses, and online courses. TAFE certificate (I-IV) and diploma courses are available in the following study areas:

  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Programs
  • Building & Related Trades
  • Business, Management & Financial Services
  • Community Services
  • Sports & Recreation
  • Creative Arts, Entertainment & Design
  • Education & Training
  • Engineering & Related Trades
  • Environment, Agriculture & Sustainability
  • Health & Beauty
  • Hospitality, Tourism & Events
  • Information Technology
  • Skills & Work Preparation
  • Marine

Short courses

Cairns TAFE short courses include those for recreational and professional purposes. Courses are available in just about any field, so it doesn’t matter what skill you want to learn or what subject piques your interest. Some of the short courses available include:

  • Hobby Welding
  • Introduction to AutoCAD
  • MYOB Computerised Accounting
  • Senior First Aid & CPR
  • Computers for the Terrified
  • Digital Imaging (Photoshop)
  • Responsible Service of Alcohol
  • Follow Workplace Hygiene Procedures
  • Visual Arts – Figurative Sculpture and Life Drawing

The short courses available change with each semester, so you’ll have to keep an eye on the website to see what’s on.

Correspondence courses

Not everyone can study full time on campus; not everyone wants to. TNQ Institute of TAFE gives Cairns’ students options with online and flexible learning. Online courses are available through my.TAFE, which allows students to access course material, communicate with lecturers, tutors and other students, participate in forums and live chats, and submit assignments.

Flexible learning programs are like correspondence or online programs, but they allow student to enroll and start their studies at any time during the year, in other words, they are not semester-based.

Cairns TAFE Institutes

Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE

Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE has study options for everyone, from those still in school to seasoned professionals who want to explore something new. High school students, for example, can take advantage of one of three programs:

1) SchoolTech, which allows Year 11 and 12 students to complete school-based apprenticeships or traineeships in trades like hairdressing, construction, and fabrication.

2) MarineTech, which allows students to obtain a Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) so that they can get apprenticeships or traineeships in the marine industry.

3) TAFESEC, which provides students with practical skills and qualifications that can be used as credits for apprenticeships, traineeships, and other higher qualifications. Courses available include Certificate II in Hairdressing, Certificate III in Events, and Certificate III in Tourism.

TNQ Institute of TAFE also offers students pathways to university. This means that students can use some TAFE diploma and advanced diploma courses as credit towards certain undergraduate degrees. Partner universities include Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of Southern Queensland, University of the Sunshine Coast, Bond University, Australian Catholic University, CQUniversity Australia, James Cook University, University of New England, and Southern Cross University.

Some of the articulation courses include:

  • Diploma of Management
  • Diploma of Hospitality
  • Diploma of Beauty Therapy
  • Diploma of Business
  • Diploma of Nursing Enrolled-Division 2 Nursing
  • Diploma of Justice Studies
  • Diploma of Children’s Services – Early Childhood Education and Care

Cairns is TNQ’s main campus, as such it has the most diverse range of TAFE training facilities and services available. For example, it boasts Tropics Restaurant (an award-winning training restaurant) and Tropics Cafe and Coffee Shop, which are fantastic training facilities for students in the hospitality and food and beverage programs. Hairdressing and beauty salons also provide students with training opportunities, while Cairns’ residents get low-cost treatments. There are state-of-the-art nursing, horticulture, and trades training precincts. The Banggu Minjaany Art Gallery provides the perfect showcase for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts students and professional artists.

Cairns for Students

Cairns rainforest
Cairns rainforest

According to TNQ, Cairns is the only place in the world where two World Heritage areas meet; the two in question being the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest. It’s one of the fastest growing towns in the country and offers students a diverse range of activities, from shopping and movie watching to trawling museums, dancing in night clubs, and swimming in Esplanade Lagoon.

It’s one of the country’s most affordable student towns, with an estimated cost of living of between AU$16,000 and AU$19,000 per year.

There is a wealth of student accommodation available, from short-term temporary accommodation in backpackers’ hostels to homestays and private apartments and rooms to rent.

There is plenty of reliable public transport in the form of buses. Taxis are also available. Most students, however, choose to cycle. Cairns is a comfortable size for cyclists to be able to get to all major destinations with much fuss (or sweat).

Finally, Cairns is full of fun and, above all, cheap things to do. For example, it’s full of art galleries, which is perfect for culture hounds. You can get in some great bargain food shopping at Rusty’s Markets every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The beaches are free, which is great for beach babes and bums. You can stroll in Cairns Botanic Gardens, which contain a tropical rainforest. You can explore Mt Whitfield and many of the other mountains in the region. And, you can play beach volleyball or go skateboarding at Cairns Esplanade, which boasts several other facilities and activities.

Government Funding

Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE offers several government funding options and programs to students in Cairns. Take a look at our Guide to TAFE Courses in Queensland to see your options.