The Victorian treasurer Tim Pallas delivered his speech on the Victorian state budget recently. In this article we will highlight what’s in it for VET in general and with a focus on TAFE in particular.

One of the budget’s aims is to “help people access training and get the support and skills they need to find and succeed in work.” And as Victoria’s demand for skilled workers increases, the Government hopes to bring “employers, TAFE and training providers, universities and employment services together so businesses and industries have access to a world‑class workforce and more Victorians can achieve their education and career aspirations.”

Another aim is that TAFE and training sector are able “to deliver quality training that strongly supports industry to meet the evolving needs of the economy, promotes equity and addresses disadvantage, with an emphasis on growth sectors of the economy.”

According to the budget strategy paper, “the 2024-25 Budget invests $555 million in skills and TAFEs to grow our future workforce. This includes $394 million to boost access to vocational training and Free TAFE, which now offers more than 80 courses, $32 million for the Skills First Skill Set initiative to provide subsidised training to assist in addressing workforce shortages, and $11 million to support apprentices, trainees and their employers.”

In addition, this paper points out that:

“The Government is also investing $113 million for TAFEs to provide support services, training delivery, and help students get the most out of their training, with the regional TAFE network getting a share of this funding.”

The treasurer’s speech also highlighted other relevant budget items, including $117 million to continue supporting the TAFE network for students and teachers. In addition, his speech pointed out that:

“We’ve invested $370 million to bolster the early childhood workforce, and we’re setting up training centres to create our clean energy workforce. We’re also helping workers to upskill or change careers, with $32 million for retraining in high-priority industries like disability services, clean energy and construction.”

There is also an investment of $71 million that hopefully will better support students completing VCE and senior certificates in TAFEs.

According to another budget paper (No 3 – related to service delivery) funding will be provided to boost access to Free TAFE and training services “to meet expected demand for eligible students to undertake accredited vocational education and training to enhance their skills and employment opportunities, including through Free TAFE and expanded eligibility in priority areas.”

Another initiative provides funding “to plan and develop a modern human resources system that is purpose-built for TAFE teachers and support staff across the TAFE network. The system will be designed to promote staff recruitment, support staff mobility within the network, better manage teaching staff accreditation and improve workforce planning.”

Furthermore, funding is provided to support apprentices, trainees and their employers to meet Victoria’s workforce priorities as well as supporting those apprentices and trainees most at risk of not completing their training. This will be done through dedicated support by the Apprenticeship Support Officer program.

Retraining needs are not being ignored either with funding being provided “to continue enabling the rapid retraining of workers into high-priority industries through accredited skill sets listed on the Training Needs List.” It’s hoped that the provision of this government subsidised training “will support more workers to quickly upskill, improving industry responsiveness and business productivity.”

The TAFE Services Fund TAFE will be used to “continue to support the TAFE Network as Victoria’s trusted public provider of choice, including through the provision of student support services, student inclusion and wellbeing programs, training delivery in priority thin markets and regions, strong governance and a high-quality teaching workforce.”