Bremer State High school students Maddison Hoffman, Anne-Marie Reinke and Kasey Binns are visited by state MP's Jennifer Howard and Jim Marsh at the free Tafe for Year 12 launch.
Bremer State High school students Maddison Hoffman, Anne-Marie Reinke and Kasey Binns are visited by state MP's Jennifer Howard and Jim Marsh at the free Tafe for Year 12 launch. Rhiannon Keyte

Tafe program allows students to think outside the box

YEAR 12 students are being offered a free stepping stone towards their future careers with the state government encouraging them to try a year of Tafe with no out-of-pocket costs.

The government hopes the initiative will bolster enrolments and meet ongoing skills shortages throughout Queensland.

Students at Bremer High were visited by Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard MP and Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden on Friday, who said that the 'free Tafe for Year 12 graduates' program would come as welcome relief to parents of senior students who might otherwise head straight for university or unskilled labour.

Mr Madden noted that while demand was high, Tafe's fee structure meant that initial out-of-pocket costs often scared away parents and students.

"This is wonderful news, this program addresses the need to remove cost impediments for Year 12 students who want to continue," he said.

Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard MP said that Tafe was a critically important part of the community, and as a TAFE graduate herself, she encouraged students to look past myths about TAFE being a 'second-class' option compared to university.

"This is a great opportunity for those who want to follow a path in any number of careers," Ms Howard said.

"School leavers can kick-start their careers by learning skills employers want, without the financial burden of student contribution fees."

Senior students Maddison Hoffman, Anne-Marie Reinke and Kasey Binns said the program made vocational education a more attractive option, giving them the opportunity to try out a field like health services or early childhood before committing to a long, expensive Bachelor degree program.

"It opens doors for students and kids to experiment with what they want to do without worrying about the cost," said Miss Reinke. All three students are already studying Certificate III-level courses at school, but welcome the opportunity to try something new.

Free courses are available across a wide range of in-demand disciplines including aviation, meat processing and beauty. To see the full range of courses and check eligibility, go to training.qld.gov.au/freetafe



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