If you’re looking to train for your first job, retrain for a career shift or upskill for a promotion, here’s everything you need to know about what’s going on at TAFE SA.
A new 10-year Roadmap for the Future is set to cement TAFE SA’s position as our state’s biggest and best vocational training provider. This marks the next major step in the State Government’s push to bring young South Aussies back to TAFE SA and address the state’s skills shortages.
How reforming TAFE SA will ease the skills shortage
Over the next five years, South Australian education providers, including TAFE SA, will need to deliver 90,500 vocational education and training (VET) qualifications to meet South Australia’s demand for skills.
There are currently skills shortages in 285 occupations, up from 149 in 2021. The demand is particularly high for workers in defence, construction, retail and hospitality, manufacturing, education and training, and health and social assistance sectors.
Of these, around 60,000 will be new entrants into the labour market, while the remainder will be broadening or upskilling their qualifications.
South Australia is currently experiencing strong employment growth with the unemployment rate sitting at 3.6 per cent.
VET qualifications represent more than half of SA’s total demand for skills, making them more in need than university degrees over the next five years. That means providing those VET qualifications is key to bringing down the unemployment rate while easing the skills shortage.
The TAFE SA road so far – A quick recap
Since 2022, the State Government has been in the process of reviving TAFE SA to attract more South Australians to train there.
In April last year, the State Government reinstated aged and disability care, health care and childcare courses in metropolitan TAFE SA campuses to address the serious skills shortages in these industries.
In an Australian first, fee free training began this year through TAFE SA and other SA vocational training providers. A $65 million government partnership is making 12,500 training places in 110 courses available for South Australians to train, retrain or upskill at no cost in high-demand industries, including community, aged and disability services.
These changes have boosted this year’s TAFE SA enrolments by more than 20 per cent, but more reform is needed to make TAFE SA the place where all South Australians can access quality, affordable vocational training which leads to rewarding work.
Roadmap for the future
Commissioned by the State Government and driven by wide consultation with members of key industries, unions, the federal government, and TAFE SA staff and students, the Roadmap for the Future sets out an ambitious 10-year vision to place TAFE SA back at the centre of South Australia’s training system, after a tough few years.
In order to make this happen, the Roadmap is structured around six goals:
- Transforming South Australia
- Industry partnered
- Job outcomes
- Students at the centre
- Future focused
If that list sounds vague, it’s because those are just the headlines: the entire Roadmap is 96 pages long and sets out a whole lot of ideas about what needs to be done at TAFE SA to ensure it meets the training needs of South Australians.
We called TAFE SA Chief Executive David Coltman to break it down for us
TAFE SA Chief Executive David Coltman says the Roadmap “reflects the voice of South Australians” and their views about what they want from their TAFE SA.
“The leader of the Roadmap, Associate Professor Jeannie Rea, spoke to more people than I could imagine, and provided the opportunity for everyone to really say what they wanted from their (TAFE SA) organisation,” David says.
“And that’s what the Roadmap is … it’s the people’s view, if you like, and so for us as an organisation, this is a really rich document to have … it’s been incredibly well received by our staff and our students.
“The Roadmap signals a commitment (for TAFE SA) … to be part of the services available to the community to ensure that people are able to participate equitably in the employment opportunities, but also a commitment of government to industry to ensure that there is the appropriately skilled workforce ready to meet the opportunities that industry wants to bring.”
David says that right now, TAFE SA staff are meeting those industry needs by working on courses to roll out in the coming years which will provide South Australians with the skills for one of the 4000 to 5500 shipyard jobs expected to be created to build the nuclear-powered submarines at Osborne.
The Roadmap lays out just how important it will be for TAFE SA to be flexible with the courses it provides as the job market undergoes enormous change.
“What we’re seeing obviously, in both South Australia and the world … is this labour shortage and skill shortage coming together and creating a very different economic environment and work environment,” David says.
“We’re also seeing a transformation in digitisation, across all work sectors, that’s requiring retraining people to be much more flexible and agile in terms of the skills they bring. And we’re seeing new industries being prioritised … we’ve got the opportunities around defence and hydrogen.
“We also know that people don’t get a job for life anymore, so the ongoing retraining that’s required means that people are looking to take in VET programs to change and increase the skills they need, so that they can pivot their jobs according to where they are at and what the opportunities are in the area they love.”
While TAFE SA will always have a focus on core areas such as skilled trades and paraprofessional technical roles, the Roadmap also focuses on pivoting to provide new skills. For instance, David says one of the TAFE SA program areas with the largest growth right now is cybersecurity – which didn’t even exist a decade ago.
Other key actions set out in the Roadmap include:
- More fee free TAFE courses over the next five years, under a new funding agreement expected early next year between the State and Federal governments
- The chance for students to create business start-ups and incubators on TAFE SA campuses
- The creation of TAFE SA job centres to ensure students at all stages of their studies are guided towards the courses they need to secure the job they want
- The expansion of preparatory courses that give people from disadvantaged backgrounds the skills and assistance they need to succeed in TAFE SA courses
- The expansion of the TAFE SA Women’s Education Program to provide women with the confidence and skills, as well as the support networks, needed to enter or re-enter the workplace
- Community and industry input to ensure each campus provides the courses needed by community members to get a local job, especially in regional areas.
What happens next
The State Government has accepted all six goals set out in the Roadmap and will take some immediate actions to begin the reform of TAFE SA, including:
- Consult on the potential changes to the TAFE SA Act 2012.
- Implementing an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan for First Nations voices to be heard and responded to with meaningful actions
- Consulting on the shared use of TAFE SA campuses to benefit local communities
- Accelerating the creation of TAFE SA’s Student Hubs to provide a central space for study, socialising and accessing general information
- Enhancing enrolment processes
- Offering more courses in regional and rural South Australia.
Meanwhile, TAFE SA is developing a 10-year strategic plan that responds to the Roadmap with ways for the organisation to implement its goals. This will be delivered to the State Government before Christmas.
Click here for more information on TAFE SA courses and enrolment.
To read or download the full TAFE SA Roadmap for the Future click here.