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31st January 2024

• Classes have commenced at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute for some of the region’s newest health heroes, enrolled in a Diploma of Nursing under Free TAFE.
• The Diploma of Nursing program is expected to save future over $24,000 in fees.
• Students on the Sunshine Coast will receive training at the Sunshine Coast Health Institute – a partnership between the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, the University of the Sunshine Coast, and TAFE Queensland.

Thousands of future nurses will receive free training as part of the Miles Government’s $87.5 million investment in the Diploma of Nursing under Free TAFE.

There are 3,500 Diploma of Nursing places on offer this year, with more than 1,700 students enrolled for Semester One.

The Free Diploma of Nursing is being delivered by TAFE Queensland, CQUniversity and Mater Education at locations across the state.

On the Sunshine Coast, training will be facilitated by the Sunshine Coast Health Institute.

Last year, more than 3,100 students commenced a Diploma of Nursing under Free TAFE, including more than 150 in the Sunshine Coast region.

There continues to be strong interest in the Diploma of Nursing across Queensland, with more than 2,500 people expressing an interest in studying the qualification this year.

Health Care and Social Assistance is the fastest growing industry on the Sunshine Coast region, with Jobs Queensland data projecting the local industry will grow 22.3% by 2025-26.

It is estimated that the industry will employ almost 40,000 local people by 2025-26, with the largest occupational groups including registered nurses.

The National Skills Partnership between the Queensland and Australian Governments will see 43,400 Free TAFE places available in Queensland over the next three years – backed by a $170 million investment.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Training and Skills Development, Lance McCallum:
“Nurses are the frontline heroes of health care in Queensland.

“They dedicate their lives to helping people from the moment we come into the world as babies, through childhood and adulthood, and in our twilight years.

“Nursing is a rewarding, highly skilled and highly sought after profession.

“Last financial year, more than 55,000 people moved to Queensland, and as our state grows, we are growing our health sector with record numbers of frontline health workers.

“That’s why the Miles Government is committed to supporting future nurses, by offering a Diploma of Nursing under the hugely popular Free TAFE initiative.

“By removing the financial barrier, we’re helping even more Queenslanders pursue exciting and rewarding careers in health.

“While nursing students will save over $24,000 in study fees, all Queenslanders will benefit from their service, contributing to a stronger and more responsive health system.

“This valuable initiative also provides a financial incentive to students when cost of living is at the forefront of Queenslander’s minds.”

Quotes attributable to Jason Hunt, Member for Caloundra:
“Whichever way you look at it, Free TAFE is such a great initiative.

“It supports training and learning, it is building for the future, creating a home-grown workforce in areas of need like health care and it’s giving Queenslanders an opportunity to have fulfilling and lifelong careers.”

Quotes attributable to Rob Skelton, Member for Nicklin:
“Saving over $24,000 in fees is a huge incentive for those considering a career in nursing.

“Free TAFE is the kind of innovative policy making you see from Labor government’s and we’re no different in Queensland.

“The Miles government invest in people and skills plus we’re opening TAFEs not shutting them down.”

Further information about Free TAFE:
The Free TAFE initiative is available to eligible Queenslanders to study priority skill sets and qualifications, providing opportunities to upskill, reskill or start a career in high-demand industries.

In 2024, the Australian and Queensland Governments will provide around 14,500 free places to Queenslanders, with a similar number of places planned for 2025 and 2026.

These places form part of the Australian Government's commitment to deliver a further 300,000 Free TAFE places across Australia over three years from January 2024.

Queenslanders can access 74 free courses and qualifications, including in priority areas such as nursing, agriculture, aged care, and cyber security.

More information is available here:

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