Thousands of students head back to TAFE fee-free in 2024

The State Government's investment in fee-free TAFE training is supporting thousands of Western Australian students to kick off their training in 2024 and prepare for skilled jobs in priority sectors.


  • State Government investment in training supporting thousands of WA TAFE students
  • High demand for fee-free TAFE courses continues in 2024, with more than 130 fee-free qualifications and skill sets available
  • Health and care sector qualifications among the most popular fee-free courses
  • Almost 39,500 fee-free course enrolments recorded in 2023.

The State Government's investment in fee-free TAFE training is supporting thousands of Western Australian students to kick off their training in 2024 and prepare for skilled jobs in priority sectors.

Enrolments for 2024 are still being finalised, however there have been a record number of applications to study fee-free courses in 2024 - a 29 per cent increase on applications compared to this time last year. There has also been a 25 per cent increase in applications for TAFE courses overall.

Health care and social assistance qualifications continue to attract strong interest among fee-free courses into 2024, after recording some of the biggest enrolment increases in 2023.

Health and care sector qualifications made up seven out of the top ten fee-free full qualifications, with the strongest enrolment growth in 2023, compared to the previous year:

  • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care – 4,199 enrolments (up by 1,064 enrolments);
  • Certificate III in Individual Support – 4,450 enrolments (up by 693 enrolments);
  • Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance – 994 enrolments (up by 610 enrolments);
  • Diploma of Nursing – 2,426 enrolments (up by 514 enrolments);
  • Certificate IV in School Based Education Support/Certificate IV in Education Support – 1,141 enrolments (up by 387 enrolments);
  • Certificate IV in Mental Health – 965 enrolments (up by 291 enrolments); and
  • Certificate IV in Community Services – 896 enrolments (up by 192 enrolments).

Other courses in the top ten for enrolment growth last year include:

  • Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety (up by 839 enrolments);
  • Certificate IV in Information Technology/Certificate IV in Information Technology Networking (up by 473 enrolments); and
  • Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (up 239 enrolments).

Last year, there were almost 39,500 enrolments in fee-free TAFE courses and skill sets in WA, with the State Government funding additional places under its landmark partnership with the Federal Government to keep pace with demand. Targeted at boosting skills development in priority areas, the availability of fee-free courses in WA drove a 32.7 per cent increase in enrolments between 2022 and last year.

The Commonwealth and State Governments have now extended the agreement to deliver fee-free training until the end of 2026.

Running in parallel with the fee-free program, the State Government's 'Lower fees, local skills' initiative attracted almost 60,000 enrolments in low-fee courses in 2023. The State Government continues to provide 160 heavily discounted high-priority courses through this program in 2024.

The State Government is also driving the largest TAFE capital works program in WA's history, with 14 projects underway to upgrade essential infrastructure at TAFE colleges across the State thanks to a $243.3 million investment.

A further $25 million has been invested in modernising equipment at TAFEs across WA to ensure students have the opportunity to learn on modern industry-standard equipment, and are job-ready when they enter the workforce.

Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

"My Government is focused on creating jobs and opportunities for Western Australians, and supporting them to benefit from our State's strong economic position.

"Making training affordable and accessible for all is key to ensuring we have the skilled workforce we need.

"Our free and low-fee TAFE courses are targeted at industries that we know require workers, and students will be able to get employment in.

"They have been a huge success – for local workers and industries alike – and it is fantastic to see enrolments surging for in-demand fields like nursing, early childhood education, school-based education support and mental health."

Comments attributed to Training and Workforce Development Minister Simone McGurk:

"Training has the power to change people's lives – our vocational training sector is here to help all Western Australians get ahead by gaining the skills they need to land jobs.

"The Cook Government is committed to reducing barriers to training through our fee-free and low-cost initiatives, and it's exciting to see the demand for these courses is continuing to grow, particularly in the health and care sectors.

"Through our record investment to deliver new and upgraded state-of-the-art facilities at TAFE campuses across WA, we're also ensuring students have access to high-quality and industry-relevant training that gets them 'job ready' for the workplace."

Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:

"It's fantastic to see an increase of students enrolling in the Diploma of Nursing, as we expect WA will need 4,300 more nurses and midwives by 2033.

"Making training affordable to all Western Australians will help alleviate workforce pressures along with $28.5 million of new attraction and retention initiatives announced in last year's State Budget.

"We look forward to welcoming these future nurses into our WA public health system."