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Guide To TAFE Courses in Western Australia (WA)

Western Australia is without a doubt the biggest state in Australia. Even though people have all this space, however, most of them congregate in the little corner in the south-west. Like most of Australia, it boasts an impressive array of wildlife, giving inhabitants unique opportunities to reconnect with nature. But it’s also filled with all the delights of big city living, and that includes high quality education.

Let’s look at the TAFE opportunities that you’ll find in Western Australia.

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TAFE Courses WA
Swan River, Perth, Western Australia

What TAFE study options are available to me in Western Australia?

There are several TAFE institutes in Western Australia (WA), giving students the opportunity to take everything from short courses and apprenticeships to advanced diplomas and even bachelor degrees. The fields of study are almost limitless, varying from blue collar trades like bricklaying to high-flying white collar careers in international financial management.

There are options for school leavers and professionals already immersed in successful careers. Anyone can take a TAFE course in Western Australia; you don’t even need to have completed school. Furthermore, various funding options are available to ensure that everyone, no matter what their financial or socio-economic status, can get higher education qualifications.

In recognition of changing lifestyles, higher education has become more flexible than in the past. Now, you can take courses full-time or part-time, online or on-campus. You can even enjoy the benefits of blended learning, which combines the advantages of both online and classroom-based learning. Semester courses and short courses are available, so you can choose the option that best suits your schedule, not to mention your interests.

The WA TAFE courses, at least those from properly registered course providers, are nationally recognised and accredited, so you can be sure of their quality and their credibility.

Semester courses

TAFE Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma courses are available on a semester basis. Most institutes give students the choice between online and classroom-based semester courses, both of which can be completed full-time or part-time.

The thing to remember about semester courses is that they do not provide the flexibility of rolling courses. This means that you have to make a note of all the important dates – registrations, assignments, tutorials, and exams – so that you don’t miss anything. It’s also important to prepare a study timetable, so that you stay on top of the work requirements.

Short courses

TAFE short courses are great for those in WA who want to build upon their professional skills, or meet their continuing professional development requirements. Accredited short courses are recognised as prior learning so that they can be incorporated into certificate qualifications.

And then, of course, there are the short courses for those who simply want to learn more – more about their hobbies, more about the world, or more skills. These are the recreational students.

The diversity of short courses available is incredible, from new acrylic painting techniques and ceramic jewellery making to motorcycle maintenance and advanced firefighting.

Correspondence courses

Online courses are increasingly popular, with the result that even practical courses that have not traditionally been offered online are now offered electronically. This is because online learning has become more interactive with podcasts, video tutorials, online chat rooms, and assorted other facilities that make training and education possible from a distance.

Many online courses from bricks and mortar WA TAFE institutes follow the semester structure of classroom-based courses. There are, however, online-only course providers that are able to provide their students with complete flexibility, which means rolling registrations and entirely self-paced study. These are great if you have the discipline to manage your workload, but can prove problematic if you find that time has a nasty habit of slipping away from you.

Western Australia TAFE Institutes

There are 11 TAFE institutes in Western Australia. Some institutes and campuses specialise in certain study areas, while others provide the full spectrum of courses. Online and on-campus courses are usually available.

Central Institute of Technology

Central TAFE, Perth, Western Australia

Central TAFE Campus, Perth, Western Australia.

Central Institute of Technology has five campuses in Perth which offer approximately 400 TAFE courses in just about every field imaginable, including Business & Legal, Health, Education & Community Service, Science & Sustainability, and Tourism. Your options include short courses for professional or recreational purposes, apprenticeships and traineeships, VET for Schools, intellectual and learning disability programs, and courses for international students. Some of its TAFE Certificate IV, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma courses provide pathways to university degrees. Partner universities include Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, University of Western Australia, the University of Notre Dame Australia, the University of Southern Queensland, Swinburne University, and Box Hill Institute.

Its campuses include:

  1. Perth Campus in Northbridge is the Central Institute of Technology’s largest TAFE campus and is known as the Knowledge Industries Precinct of Central as it specialises in Building & Engineering, Creative Industries, Travel & Tourism, and English and other language courses.
  2. Leederville Campus is close to Perth’s city centre and is home to the Central Institute of Technology’s Community Learning Centre, which specialises in Community Services, Children’s Services, Aged Care, Disability Services, Youth Work, and Mental Health TAFE courses.
  3. East Perth Campus is the Central Institute of Technology’s Resources Precinct and it offers a range of TAFE courses, including Computer Systems, Engineering, Sustainability & Renewable Energy, Building & Construction, Mining, Surveying, and Science & Technology.
  4. Mt Lawley Campus, in the northern suburbs in Perth, specialises in Health Services, including Enrolled Nursing, Pathology, Allied Health Assistance and Anaesthetic Technology courses.
  5. Nedlands Campus specialises in Dentistry and offers TAFE courses from the Oral Health Care Centre of Western Australia, which is in turn a partnership between the Central Institute of Technology, the University of WA, and Curtin University.

Challenger Institute of Technology

Challenger Institute of Technology offers its range of classroom-based and online TAFE courses, short courses, and apprenticeships and traineeships from several campuses training centres south of Perth, WA. All TAFE institutes focus on providing relevant, current, and practical qualifications in line with industry demands, but Challenger Institute of Technology seems to go all out with high-tech industry training centres and ‘live works’ venues where students apply their learning and training to real-life work situations. For example, Challenger’s ‘live work’ Visage Health and Beauty Clinics at the Fremantle (Beaconsfield) and Peel (Mandurah) campuses, which give students the chance to apply the knowledge gained during their beauty therapy, massage, aromatherapy, and naturopathy TAFE courses.

Its campuses include:

  1. Boddington Campus
  2. Fremantle Campus (Beaconsfield)
  3. Fremantle e-Tech Centre, which specialises in IT and Communication TAFE courses.
  4. Fremantle Campus (Maritime), which is home to the WA Maritime Training Centre and which, unsurprisingly, specialises in maritime-related TAFE courses.
  5. Fremantle (Quinlan’s On High), a ‘live works’ Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre for students in the food and beverage industry.
  6. Fremantle (Visage Beauty Clinic)
  7. Heathcote Campus
  8. Henderson Campus (Engineering & Shipbuilding)
  9. Kwinana Campus (Automotive), where you’ll find the Automotive Technology Skills Centre
  10. Mundijong Campus
  11. Munster Campus, which is home to the Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT), which specialises in courses related to the oil, gas, mineral and chemical processes industries.
  12. Murdoch Campus, which contains one of the jewels in Challenger’s TAFE crown, a state-of-the-art nursing facility with high-tech broadband training capabilities.
  13. Peel Campus, which has branches of the Challenger Institute of Technology’s Construction Industry Skills Centre and Information Technology & Business Skills Centre.
  14. Pinjarra Campus
  15. Rockingham Campus, which is one Challenger Institute of Technology’s campuses with a Construction Industry Skills Centre and which specialises in Bricklaying & Blocklaying, Mortar Trades and Locksmithing TAFE courses. It is also home to one of the branches of the Information Technology & Business Skills Centre, as well as the WA Centre for Access, Leadership, Community & Cultural Development.
  16. Waroona Campus
  17. Polytechnic West

Polytechnic West is the new and improved version of Swan TAFE. The award-winning institute offers a selection of study opportunities, ranging from pre-apprenticeship courses to advanced diplomas. Its study areas are varied and include Aerospace, Animals & Horticulture, Business & Finance, Health, Fitness & Occupational Health and Safety, IT, and Refrigeration, Plumbing & Gas. It has six campuses and two specialist training centres.

Campuses include:

  1. Armadale Campus, which is south-east of Perth’s metropolitan area, specialises in Business, IT, Equine Studies, Community Services, Childcare, and Education Support TAFE courses, and is home to the Equine Training Centre.
  2. Balga Campus, which just north of the CBD in Perth specialises in Building & Construction, Community Services, Business & Business Administration, English Language, Computing and IT, and Hairdressing TAFE courses.
  3. Bentley Campus, in south Perth, specialises in Hospitality, Commercial Cookery, Baking, Meat Processing, Animal Care & Veterinary Nursing, and Fashion and Textiles TAFE courses.
  4. Carlisle Campus specialises in anything automotive-related, air conditioning and refrigeration-related, and automation and robotics-related. It also offers a range of Engineering, Community Services, Youth & Aged Care, and Occupational Health and Safety TAFE courses for students in Perth.
  5. Midland Campus, in the Swan Valley region of Perth, boasts a specialist metals and engineering centre, and provides a range of TAFE courses that includes IT, Engineering, Fluid Power & Robotics, Horticulture, and Business Administration & Management.
  6. Thornlie Campus, outer Perth, is Polytechnic West’s largest campus and it specialises in TAFE courses related to Community Services, Mining & Engineering, Business, IT, and Building & Construction.

West Coast Institute of Training

West Coast Institute of Training provides its range of TAFE courses from four campuses in north Perth. It keeps classes small to ensure that students get the individual attention they deserve. Courses are available full-time, part-time, on-campus, and online. Workplace training is also available. In addition to its TAFE Certificate I to Advanced Diploma qualifications, West Coast Institute also offers apprenticeships, traineeships, VET in Schools, and international education programs. Another outstanding feature is its Academies of Excellence. These provide specialist education in certain study areas.

  • Aboriginal Academy of Sport, Health & Education at Joondalup Campus has tailored TAFE programs to meet Aboriginal students’ unique training needs and to provide pathways to other higher learning opportunities.
  • Academy of Health Sciences at Joondalup Campus provides a perfect blend of online, classroom and on-the-job training to ensure that students studying health sciences are fully equipped to enter the workforce.
  • Academy of Hospitality & Culinary Arts is the only training provider in Australia to be recognised by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS). It is located at Joondalup Campus, as well as Baytree Deli and Pavilion Restaurant.
  • Trades North provides specialist school-based, pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, and post-trade training in Construction, Automotive, Electrical, Engineering, and Horticulture. It’s located at Clarkson Main Campus, Wangara Automotive Training Centre, and Joondalup Eco Centre.
  • Academy of Digital Technologies provides specialist training in Animation, 3D Modelling, Augmented Reality, CGI, and Programming. It is registered by CISCO Networking Academy and Microsoft Academy. It is located at the Joondalup Campus.

Campuses include:

  1. Joondalup Campus
  2. Clarkson Campus
  3. McLarty Campus
  4. Wangara Campus
  5. Durack Institute of Technology

Durack Institute of Technology offers its range of courses from four campuses. Its range of offerings includes 12-week pre-apprenticeships, 12-month traineeships (or more depending on whether it’s full-time or part-time), 4-year apprenticeships, short courses, and full-time and part-time TAFE certificates, diplomas and advanced diplomas.

Campuses include:

  1. Geraldton Campus, which includes the Zeewijk Training Restaurant, Ciba Tek Centre, and Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI).
  2. Carnarvon Campus, which offers a range of courses that include IT, Hospitality, Business & Business Administration, Financial Services, and Community Services.
  3. Wiluna Campus, whose range of courses includes IT, Building & Construction, Textile/Arts, Business Administration, Automotive, and Horticulture.
  4. Exmouth Campus, which offers courses in study areas that include Retail, Teacher’s Assistance, Tourism, Hospitality, IT, Horticulture, Marine, Art, and Business Administration.

C.Y. O’Connor Institute

C.Y. O’Connor Institute offers its range of TAFE online, classroom, and industry-based courses from four campuses in the Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, which includes the Perth metropolitan area, the Mid-West region, and the Goldfields-Esperance region.

Campuses include:

  1. Northam Campus is C.Y. O’Connor Institute’s main campus, at least from an administrative perspective, its courses are geared towards its particular region of the Wheatbelt, but students are by no means limited to subjects like Horticulture and Grain Production.
  2. Narrogin Campus is home to the wool and shearing academy, the high-tech automotive workshop, a top-of-the-line arts centre, and an enviable horticulture nursery. It also focuses on Wheatbelt-related fields such as aquaculture, horticulture, pig production, and grain production.
  3. Moora Campus
  4. Merredin Campus, which has satellite learning centres at Kellerberrin and Quairading.

Great Southern Institute of Technology

Great Southern Institute of Technology’s 10 sites have to work hard to cover its massive geographic region. The courses are nationally accredited and form part of the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). Many of the TAFE Certificate IV and Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses provide pathways to university degrees. Partner universities include Edith Cowan University, University of Southern Queensland, Curtin University, Southern Cross University, Charles Sturt University, University of South Australia, and University of New England.

Campuses include:

  1. Albany Campus, which is the main campus
  2. Denmark Campus
  3. Mount Barker Campus
  4. Katanning Campus, which specialises in courses that are related to the area such as agriculture.
  5. Kimberley Training Institute

Kimberley Training Institute has six campuses offering students in the region a chance to enjoy some of the best TAFE opportunities in Western Australia. It also boasts two centres of excellence: Broome Aquaculture Centre and Broome Maritime Simulation Centre. Standard TAFE certificate and diploma courses are available, as are traineeships and apprenticeships, short courses, online courses, and VET in Schools.

Campuses include:

  1. Broome Campus, whose range of courses includes Agribusiness – Land, Agribusiness – Sea, Beauty, Business & IT, and Hospitality & Tourism.
  2. Broome Aquaculture Centre
  3. Broome Maritime Simulation Centre
  4. Kununurra Campus
  5. Derby Campus
  6. Fitzroy Crossing Campus
  7. Halls Creek Campus
  8. Wyndham Campus
Cable Beach, Broome
Cable Beach, Broome. Taken Before sunset.

Pilbarra Institute

Pilbarra Institute offers over 160 TAFE qualifications through varied courses to nearly 10,000 students in North West WA. It consists of eight campuses/training centres. There is also the Pilbarra Skills Centre which caters to business and industry training across several areas, including Industrial Skills Training, Occupational Health & Safety Training, Business, Computer & Education Training, and Lifestyle courses.

Campuses include:

  1. Karratha Campus
  2. South Hedland Campus
  3. Pundulmurra Campus
  4. Newman Campus
  5. Tom Price Campus
  6. Minurmarghali Mia Campus
  7. Onslow Annexe
  8. Wintamurra Training Centre

South West Institute of Technology

South West Institute of Technology offers a range of TAFE study options from six campuses in the region. It’s particularly well-known of its hospitality and beauty therapy live training programs, which get students out of the classroom and into real work environments as quickly as possible.

Campuses include:

  1. Bunbury Campus is the institute’s main campus and offers students a selection of TAFE study areas, including Food & Beverage, Building, Plumbing, Mining, Pathology, Agriculture, Horticulture, and Land Management.
  2. Busselton Campus, which offers courses in Aged Care, Childcare, Office Administration, Small Business Management, Teacher’s Assistant, Visual Arts, and Youth Work.
  3. Collie Campus, which offers certificate and diploma courses in Aged Care, Childcare, Disability Work, IT, Office Administration, Rural Operations, Teacher’s Assistant, and Visual Arts, as well as Forklift and Chemcert short courses.
  4. Harvey Campus, with courses that include Aged Care, Childcare, Disability Work, Office Administration, and Teacher’s Assistant.
  5. Manjimup Campus offers courses that relate to the region’s industrial, commercial, and farming sectors, including Agriculture, Horticulture, Viticulture, Aquaculture, and Tourism. Other options include IT, MYOB, Special Needs Assistant, Conservation & Land Management, and Visual Art.
  6. Margaret River Campus is located within a wine-rich region, so it should come as no surprise that it specialises in courses related to viticulture. It contains a Centre of Wine Excellence. Other courses available include Commercial Cookery, IT, Wine Studies, Visual Arts, Small Business Management, and Hospitality.

Goldfields Institute of Technology

Goldfields Institute of Technology is one of the youngest TAFE institutes in Australia, let alone Western Australia. It has a big job, as it has to offer its services to the biggest region in the state, and it has to do it from just two campuses. It offers students a wide range of study opportunities, including short courses, full-time or part-time online or classroom-based TAFE certificates and diplomas, and apprenticeships in several different industries. Study areas include Agriculture, Business & Occupational Health & Safety, Creative Graphic Arts, Engineering & Mechanical, Hospitality & Commercial Cookery, Nursing, Education & Community Services, IT, Retail, Beauty & Hairdressing, and Sport & Recreation.

Campuses include:

  1. Kalgoorlie-Boulder Campus, which specialises in mining, agriculture, and tourism.
  2. Esperance Campus, which specialises in tourism, agriculture, and fishing.

Western Australia for Students

Western Australia is enormous, stretching from the very south to the very north of Australia. So, there is not one prevailing climate. Most of the state’s population lives in the south west, in and around Perth, which has a Mediterranean climate. Conditions in other regions vary from arid desert to the wet and humidity of monsoonal Asia.

The cost of living in the state is affordable. Even Perth is not as expensive as some other capital cities in Australia. Bear in mind that as a student you will be on a tight budget, so you may have to do some comparison shopping and bargain hunting to make your allowance stretch that little bit further.

Public transport across the entire state, even in remote regional towns, is considered highly reliable. Options include trains, busses and, in Perth, ferries. One of the reasons Western Australia is so student-friendly is its 40% discount for students on all public transport. Cycling is also a very popular option in Perth, as the city has many on-road and off-road cycling paths.

Accommodation options are varied. Students can choose from homestays to shared or private apartments. You’ll have to consider your budget carefully before choosing your accommodation. You may not like the idea of sharing your space with too many other people, but your budget may say otherwise.

There are plenty of affordable things for students to see and do. The beach is always an option. It costs nothing to sit on the sand and swim in the sea, and it costs next to nothing to get a surf board and learn to surf. Then there are all of the other watersports available. There are several festivals that cater to many different tastes, such as the Fremantle Street Arts Festival, the Perth International Comedy Festival, and the Perth Fashion Festival. Eating out is a blast as the multicultural nature of the state means that you can travel the world gastronomically-speaking; choose from Indonesian to Mexican food and everything in between. If you like nature you can always explore the Valley of the Giants which is famous for its enormous Karri and Tingle trees, or swim in Ningaloo Reef, or just pop into Perth Zoo. Western Australia is full of indigenous fauna and flora, so you’re never short of options.

Valley of the Giants
Valley of the Giants

Government funding

There are several government funding and financial assistance programs for TAFE students in Western Australia. Some of these include:

  • Austudy for full-time students and those in a full-time Australian Apprenticeship. You must, however, be 25 years old or more and meet certain personal income and residence eligibility criteria. You also need to study an approved course.
  • Youth Allowance for those between 16 and 24 years old who are studying full-time, are in a full-time Australian Apprenticeship, or who are engaged in approved training.
  • ABSTUDY for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying an approved course or in an approved apprenticeship. Costs covered include course fees, accommodation, living expenses, transport, and even prescription medication.
  • Newstart Allowance for those who are 22 years old or more and who are engaged in studying or training while looking for work.
  • VET FEE-HELP, a loan scheme that pays education fees upfront and then allows students to repay the loan once they have gained permanent employment and are earning a decent salary. Although, voluntary repayments are encouraged.

Ready to start a certificate or diploma TAFE course? Take a look at the TAFE courses in Western Australia now.