A new initiative to attract international students to live, work and study at Western Australia’s regional TAFE colleges and help alleviate shortages in priority skill shortage areas in regional areas is set to begin next year.
A $5,000 bursary will be provided for up to 200 students in selected courses across the State’s regional TAFE colleges, as well as support to find part time work and accommodation. The $2.4 million package responds to ideas raised by industry leaders through the recent Perth and Regional Skills Summits, which emphasised the need for innovative solutions to address skills shortages and support regional industries.
The bursaries will target occupations such as aged and disability care, childcare and hospitality and tourism, which due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and low unemployment have a critical shortage of workers. Students will be able to study at campuses across WA's three regional TAFE colleges: North Regional TAFE, Central Regional TAFE and South Regional TAFE. Some students are anticipated to commence in February 2023, with the majority expected in Semester 2. On graduation, international students may be able to access migration pathways to extend their stay in Australia.
To help promote the initiative, TAFE International Western Australia (TIWA) is hosting the first agent familiarisation tour, showcasing regional WA to agents from across the globe to promote the two-year pilot program. The international education agents from key markets of Italy, Brazil, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Colombia, Korea, Sweden and Mauritius are seeing the best of Broome, Geraldton and Albany as part of visits to North Regional TAFE, Central Regional TAFE and South Regional TAFE this week. TIWA will host a second tour in early 2023, to showcase further regional locations.
“The return of international students to Western Australia is a priority for our government. This initiative is a practical solution to attract international students to the regions in industry sectors with critical skills shortages." says International Education Minister David Templeman. "With quality programs, a great lifestyle and a wealth of employment opportunities, Western Australia is well positioned to provide international students with the knowledge, skills, support and connections they require to enter the increasingly competitive global job market. This program will also diversify the State’s economy through exporting vocational education and training in the regions.”