South Regional TAFE Albany leads enrolments surge after course fees cut

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
South Regional TAFE Albany nursing students Aphra Higham and Stacey Moulton.
Camera IconSouth Regional TAFE Albany nursing students Aphra Higham and Stacey Moulton. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Great Southern TAFE enrolments have jumped by 70 per cent in half-price priority courses since this time last year, with some students using COVID-19 as a catalyst for a career change.

Fees were slashed by 50 per cent across 34 courses in January in a bid to make “future-ready skills” more accessible to students under the WA Government’s lower fees, local skills push.

The move has triggered a 20 per cent enrolment surge across the State, with the biggest jump coming at Southern Regional TAFE’s Albany campus, where 422 students have taken up training.

In June, as WA emerged from COVID-19 restrictions, the State Government announced a $57m boost for the training sector.

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As part of the package, fees were reduced across a further 39 courses.

For South Regional TAFE student Stacey Moulton, the COVID-19 pandemic paired with lower fees meant she could finally pursue her decade-long dream of becoming a nurse.

Ms Moulton started a Preparing For Nursing certificate this semester and is on track to pursue her diploma.

“It worked really well for me and my family. I am just very lucky,” she said.

“There has been a need for more nurses, because we are going to get that second wave and we are going to experience things like this in the future.

“Hopefully I can inspire my little girl to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse.”

Albany TAFE student Aphra Higham had been mulling a career change before the pandemic and fee cuts, but said they had been a catalyst to take the leap.

The biggest growth in enrolments across the Great Southern has been in civil construction, hospitality, individual support, harvesting and haulage and allied health assistance courses.

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