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Guide to TAFE Courses in New South Wales

New South Wales (NSW) is the most populated state in Australia, so it’s fitting that it has the most TAFE institutes and campuses in the country. Students from all over Australia, and the world, flock to NSW to take advantage of the range of quality courses available. Students don’t, however, actually have to be in New South Wales to take TAFE courses, as many of the institutes have online courses geared towards people who can’t physically attend classes.

Here is an overview of what’s available.

Popular TAFE Courses in New South Wales

Find more TAFE courses in New South Wales here.

What TAFE study options are available to me in New South Wales?

You have plenty of options if you want to take TAFE courses in NSW. In addition to the certificate, diploma, and advanced diploma courses, there are also degree level qualification, short courses for personal and professional purposes, apprenticeships and traineeships, and TVET courses for secondary school students.

There is also a great deal of flexibility in terms of registration. Classroom-based courses are offered on a semester basis, but you can register for online TAFE courses from OTEN at any time during the year.

TAFE NSW Sydney Institute
TAFE NSW Sydney Institute

Semester courses

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to registering for semester courses. All of the courses from all of the TAFE institutes in NSW comply with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The vocational training programs are also Nationally Recognised Training (NRT) certified.

Essentially, it doesn’t matter whether you complete a Statement of Attainment, Certificate, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, or Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma, your qualification will be recognised everywhere in the country. Furthermore, the qualifications gained can be used as credits towards the next level of education. So, you can use diploma and advanced diploma courses to enter university.

The range of TAFE and VET courses is also diverse enough for students to enter any industry they choose, including:

  • Agriculture, mining, and natural resources
  • Arts and media
  • Business
  • Construction
  • Beauty
  • Healthcare
  • IT
  • Communication
  • Engineering
  • Sport and recreation
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Transport

Note: Not all courses are available at all of the TAFE institutes in NSW, so you’ll have to check that the campus you have your eye actually does cater to your needs.

Short courses

People choose to take short courses for a number of reasons. They could, for instance, want to improve their photography skills so that they can wow their friends at their amateur photography club. Or, they may want to turn their hobby into a career. Or, they may need to take a certain number of short courses per year as part of their continuing professional development.

As with the TAFE semester and online courses in NSW, there are different levels of qualifications, from the nationally recognised and accredited short courses that result in a Statement of Attainment to the TAFE Certificates on Attendance that not nationally recognised or even assessed.

Short courses are also available in a number of different fields, including:

  • Accounting
  • Business and management
  • Engineering
  • Graphic design
  • IT
  • Law
  • Mathematical sciences
  • Nursing
  • Public health
  • Teacher education
  • Veterinary studies

Short courses can take anything from half a day to three months to complete.

Correspondence courses

Correspondence courses in NSW are provided by the different TAFE institutes and OTEN. OTEN (Open Training and Education Network) is aligned with the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE. It offers over 200 courses to students across Australia and around the world. In addition to the range of TAFE courses available and the flexibility that online study affords, OTEN also provides students with comprehensive support services via Online Learning Support (OLS) and OTEN Counselling and Career Development. Some of the services provided by OLS and OTEN Counselling and Career Development overlap, but it’s nice to have alternatives when you need to contact someone for advice or guidance ASAP.

OTEN offers TAFE and TVET courses in several different fields, including:

  • Animal studies
  • Logistics
  • Construction
  • Business services and management
  • Community services
  • Design
  • Electrotechnology
  • Environment
  • Hairdressing
  • Hospitality, tourism and events
  • IT
  • Sport and recreation

New South Wales TAFE Institutes

TAFE NSW Hunter Institute

Hunter Institute offers students the full range of study options; full-time, part-time, and online courses, as well as on-the-job-training, apprenticeships, TVET, and higher education programs. The 15 campuses include:

  1. Belmont
  2. Cessnock
  3. Glendale
  4. Gosford
  5. Hamilton
  6. Hunter Street
  7. Kurri Kurri
  8. Maitland
  9. Muswellbrook
  10. Newcastle (TAFE Hunter’s largest campus)
  11. Ourimbah
  12. Scone
  13. Singleton
  14. Tomaree
  15. Wyong

TAFE NSW Illawarra Institute

Illawarra Institute has 14 campuses offering courses that vary from TAFE certificates and diplomas to university degrees. It offers four fields of specialist training: GreenSkills Training Australia, Hazardous Areas Training, TAFE RMS AIS Training, and TAFE BlueScope Steel Training. There are a variety of study formats, so you can complete courses on campus, online, and on-the-job. The 14 campuses include:

  1. Bega
  2. Cooma
  3. Dapto
  4. Goulburn
  5. Moruya
  6. Moss Vale
  7. Nowra
  8. Queanbeyan
  9. Shellharbour
  10. Ulladulla
  11. Wollongong (TAFE Illawarra’s main campus)
  12. Wollongong West
  13. Yallah
  14. Yass

TAFE NSW New England Institute

New England Institute offers a selection of study opportunities from 11 campuses in the north west region of NSW. For example, in addition to the standard TAFE and TVET courses available, there are also industry-specific training courses for businesses looking to invest in employee training, and an Engineering Skillset Course for those who want to build on their vocational training in the metal and engineering industry. The 11 campuses include:

  1. Armidale
  2. Boggabilla
  3. Coonabarabran
  4. Glen Innes
  5. Gunnedah
  6. Inverell
  7. Moree
  8. Narrabri
  9. Quirindi
  10. Tenterfield
TAFE NSW Armidale Campus
TAFE NSW Armidale Campus

TAFE NSW North Coast Institute

North Coast TAFE has 17 campuses that offer over 600 nationally accredited and recognised courses. Its location amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the state has prompted it to incorporate aspects of ecological sustainability in many of its courses. Its 17 campuses include:

  1. Ballina
  2. Casino
  3. Coffs Harbour
  4. Coffs Harbour Education Campus
  5. Grafton
  6. Kempsey
  7. Kingscliff
  8. Lismore
  9. Macksville
  10. Maclean
  11. Murwillumbah
  12. Port Macquarie (one of TAFE North Coast’s largest campuses)
  13. Taree
  14. Trenayr
  15. Wauchope
  16. Wollongbar
  17. Open Campus – for online and distance TAFE courses

TAFE NSW Northern Sydney Institute

Northern Sydney Institute has seven campuses which offer a range of TAFE courses that cover industries, from arts and business to construction and education. It provides students with several learning pathways so that they can easily build on their existing levels of education, such as school to TAFE, TAFE to university, and TAFE to work. The seven campuses include:

  1. Bradfield (TAFE Northern Sydney Institute’s senior college)
  2. Crows Nest
  3. Hornsby
  4. Meadowbank
  5. Northern Beaches
  6. Ryde
  7. St Leonards

It also has six specialist training centres:

  1. Cisco Academy Training Centre
  2. Restaurants at NSI
  3. Sydney Academy of Hair, Beauty and Make-up
  4. The Sydney Coffee Academy
  5. The Sydney Gallery School
  6. The Sydney Wine Academy

TAFE NSW Riverina Institute

Riverina Institute is spread across a whopping 19 campuses. Among the usual TAFE certificates and diplomas, apprenticeships and traineeships, and short courses, Riverina Institute includes an outstanding Aboriginal Education and Training program in which it partners with Aboriginal communities to provide skills and training in several key areas, such as community services, business administration, and hospitality. Its 19 campuses include:

  1. Albury
  2. Coomealla
  3. Cootamundra
  4. Corowa
  5. Deniliquin
  6. Finley
  7. Griffith
  8. Junee
  9. Lake Cargelligo
  10. Leeton
  11. Narrandera
  12. National Environment Centre
  13. Primary Industries Centre
  14. RI@Hay
  15. Temora
  16. Tumut
  17. Wagga Wagga (TAFE Riverina’s largest campus)
  18. Young
  19. West Wyalong

TAFE NSW South Western Sydney Institute

South Western Sydney Institute consists of 10 colleges or campuses, each with its own specialities. Courses are available on-campus and online, with the option for blended learning or hybrid courses. It has courses for national and international students, and also offers workforce development courses to provide for businesses’ training needs. Its 10 colleges include:

  1. Bankstown
  2. Campbelltown
  3. Granville (TAFE South Western Sydney’s largest college)
  4. Chullora
  5. Lidcombe
  6. Liverpool
  7. Macquarie Fields
  8. Miller
  9. Padstow
  10. Wetherill Park

TAFE NSW Sydney Institute

Sydney Institute has eight colleges and campuses from which it offers its highly reputable TAFE courses and degree programs. Its course offerings include apprenticeships and traineeships, TAFE for schools programs, associate and bachelor degrees, Aboriginal education and training courses, sustainability and green skills training, women’s education and training, returning to study programs for people over 45 years old, and government funded programs. Its eight colleges and campuses include:

  1. Design Centre Enmore
  2. St. George College
  3. Eora College
  4. Gymea Campus
  5. Petersham College
  6. Loftus Campus
  7. Randwick College
  8. Ultimo College (TAFE NSW’s largest college)
TAFE NSW Ultimo Campus
TAFE NSW Ultimo Campus

TAFE NSW Western Institute

Western Institute has 24 colleges, which is only right considering it covers the largest area of all the TAFE institutes in NSW. One of the other facts that make the institute is so notable is the sheer number of scholarships it makes available to students every year. For example, students who meet certain criteria may apply for TAFE Western Aboriginal Student Scholarships, TAFE Western TVET Student Scholarships, BBM Youth Scholarships, NSW Youth Scholarships, and CSU TAFE to University Scholarships. Its 24 colleges include:

  1. Bathurst
  2. Bourke
  3. Brewarrina
  4. Broken Hill
  5. Cobar
  6. Condobolin
  7. Coonamble
  8. Cowra
  9. Dubbo
  10. Dunedoo
  11. Forbes
  12. Gilgandra
  13. Grenfell
  14. Lightning Ridge
  15. Lithgow
  16. Menindee
  17. Mudgee
  18. Nyngan
  19. Orange
  20. Parkes
  21. Walgett
  22. Warren
  23. Wellington
  24. Wilcannia

TAFE NSW Western Sydney Institute

Western Sydney Institute has several awards for the quality of its TAFE courses, including the 2010 Australian Large Training Provider of the Year. Its home to OTEN, NSW’s premier online TAFE course provider and offers students world-class training facilities at its specialist centres that cater to a diverse range of industries, e.g., Animal Studies and Horse Industry, Automotive, Logistics, Maritime and Transport, Design, Creative Arts and Entertainment, Electrotechnology, Engineering and Manufacturing, and Information Technology and Library Services. Its eight colleges include:

  1. Blacktown
  2. Blue Mountains
  3. Mount Druitt
  4. Nepean
  5. Nirimba
  6. OTEN
  7. Richmond
  8. The Hills

New South Wales for students

New South Wales is one of the most student-friendly regions in the world. Not only does it have superior quality higher education, but it also has a wealth of culture and an abundance of natural beauty for students to enjoy. And then there is the entertainment. It’s hard to beat Sydney, the vibrant capital city, for entertainment, from the ever-so-posh opera to the clubs that come alive at night.

Public transport is not a problem and the healthcare system is top-notch.

The climate is heavenly, so expect to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, sunning yourself on the beach, hiking up mountains and exploring forests.

The cost of living is reasonable, depending on where you live. The major cities, especially Sydney, can be a bit on the expensive side, but shared accommodation, public transport and cheap shopping at a variety of markets will help bring down your expenses.

Government funding

There are several funding options for students who want to take TAFE courses in NSW. The criteria for each differ according to the level of education, the course studied, applicants’ socio-economic background, and who is footing the bill – students or businesses.

For example:

  • Businesses are offered financial incentives to invest in apprenticeship and trainee programs.
  • Rural and regional funding programs are available to encourage those in the outlying regions to train in the skills that are on the national shortage list.
  • Workforce diversity programs are available for indigenous Australians, people with disabilities, and the long-term unemployed.
  • Strategic Skills Program is aimed at those who are going to study skills on the NSW skills shortage list.
  • Various HELP options are available for students, such as FEE-HELP and VET-HELP.