Skills First for TAFE and community training providers

From January 2017, Victoria’s training and TAFE system was overhauled. A new approach to training was implemented, setting a high benchmark for training quality, and supporting the courses that are most likely to lead to employment.

VET funding contract offers for 2018-19 have been made. See: apply for a VET funding contract

A new vision for TAFE

Through Skills First, the Victorian Government’s vision for a stable, trusted training and TAFE system built on quality and integrity, with TAFEs at the centre will be realised. TAFEs will act as the engine room for jobs: partnering with industry to deliver apprenticeships and traineeships, and retraining workers with new skills for the jobs of today - and tomorrow.

Trades in the future will involve more technology-based skills and workers will need training to be competitive in the job market. New trades and professions will emerge and require quality training programs and upskilling courses.

Strong TAFEs can provide Victorians with access to quality training across the state.

The distinct role of TAFE

Class based trainingTAFEs have a distinct role as public providers to:

  • lead the training system in excellence and innovation
  • provide essential life skills and support services
  • help disadvantaged students and communities.

TAFEs have unrivalled course offering and are located across Victoria. They deliver benefits to students and industry in a way other training providers can't, in terms of access and breadth.

Skills First requires TAFEs and dual sector universities to work collaboratively to meet the increased expectations of Government, industry and students.

There is funding each year to recognise their distinct role as public providers setting quality benchmarks, fostering the skills students need to be job-ready, and driving productivity improvements across Victoria.  

TAFEs maintain over $2 billion of state-owned assets, have experienced teachers and have established relationships with industry and their local communities.

TAFEs will be:

  • A benchmark for quality and a trusted adviser to Government: delivering the training needed to drive key Victorian priorities.
  • Centres of Excellence: competing on a global stage by partnering with industry to ensure productivity, innovation and the skills students need to get a job. A number of TAFEs already host Centres of Excellence, which provide leadership, best practices, research, support and training. The Government will continue to support industry-specific Centres of Excellence.
  • Providing more than just training: addressing the training and support needs of students to ensure they are work-ready graduates, providing a campus experience with support and other essential services, and helping disadvantaged and high needs students who might otherwise slip through the cracks.
  • Pivotal in regional communities: continuing their links with local businesses, and knowing what skills employers seek. Last year, almost half of all regional students went to TAFE for their training. Students benefit from being able to study close to home, while TAFEs help boost local economies by providing a steady flow of trained graduates.
  • Leaders in international education: working collaboratively, Government will enhance TAFEs’ global reach and support an expansion ininternational education. Global demand for training is expected to grow significantly, especially the delivery of training off shore. An increased profile ininternational education will assist in improving ther evenue base for TAFEs.

Focusing on these areas will see TAFEs:

  • Lead the training and TAFE system in excellence.
  • Partner with more enterprises to lift productivity through higher workforce skills.
  • Increase participation of people facing barriers to education.
  • Deliver on key Government initiatives such as the response to family violence and the roll out of the NDIS.
  • Produce the skilled workers needed to support Government infrastructure projects, including the Metro Rail Tunnel and the Level Crossing Removal project.

Strengthening regional communities

Childcare trainingOne of the TAFE sector’s greatest strengths is its links with regional communities. Rural and regional industries benefit from locally trained workers, who are less expensive to recruit and more likely to stay in the area, increasing staff retention. Locals often regard their TAFE as a significant community asset that can play a role much broader than simply that of a training provider. TAFE facilities are often used by local communities, often free or at low cost.

To better enable students in rural and regional communities to access local training that meets their needs, we introduced targeted funding for training providers. In 2017, an initial $30 million in funds is available for regional and specialist training.

Training in niche occupations, particularly in regional and emerging markets, will be funded through the Regional and Specialist Training Fund, ensuring the training and TAFE system is responding to the Victorian economy’s current and future needs.

To find a TAFE in your region, see: TAFEs and Other Public Providers 

An innovative TAFE network

Digital technology trainingTAFEs can deliver the skills needed to drive state priorities. This will ensure Victoria can provide the skilled workers needed for the six sectors primed for major job growth: medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy technology, food and fibre, transport, defence and construction technology, international education and professional services.

The Workforce Training Innovation Fund will foster partnerships between industry, TAFEs and other training providers to work together to drive innovative collaboration through new qualifications, approaches to the delivery of training and curriculum development.

Setting up for success

A new TAFE Performance and Accountability Framework and public compacts will ensure that Government support of TAFEs’ distinct role will lead to better student and employer outcomes and a more efficient network.

Community training providers

Supporting Learn Locals

Community training providersLearn Locals are community-based organisations. They include not-for-profits and neighbourhood houses that deliver community based-training. They provide skills and training with a focus on individual needs and tailored programs for students, including older people, people with special needs and those from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Under Skills First, Learn Locals are eligible to receive funding to build on their important role inproviding training to their local communities, through the extension of the Reconnect program.

Learn Local Quality Partnerships

The Victorian Government is committed to working in partnership with the Adult, Community and Further Education Board. We recognise how crucial Learn Locals are to communities across the breadth of Victoria, often providing opportunities to some of the most disadvantaged. We have already introduced restricted contracts of 200 training places, particularly to meet the needs of smaller Learn Locals.

For more information about Learn Locals, visit the Learn Local website

Fact sheets

Get advice

For more information on how Skills First will benefit TAFE and community training providers, email: