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20th May 2024

• New Miles Government plan delivers one million subsidised training places for Queenslanders to access good high paying jobs.
• Plan extends Free TAFE cost of living measure with 70,000 Free TAFE places.
• Sunshine Coast region predicted to have the second fastest employment growth in the state (12.5% since 2021-22) – employing almost 204,000 people by 2025-26.

In the biggest skills and training reform in almost a decade, the Miles Labor Government will fund one million training places for Queenslanders – easing cost-of-living pressures for those who want to train, upskill, reskill, and pursue careers in the state’s priority industries.

The Good Jobs, Great Training: Queensland Skills Strategy 2024 – 2028 will help address local skills and workforce priorities on the Sunshine Coast including in the care, nursing, construction, retail, and tourism sectors with more free and subsidised training for locals.

The strategy extends the Queensland Government’s Free TAFE program, funding up to 70,000 Free TAFE places – including 30,000 new places – to bring down costs for Queenslanders to get into better paid jobs or start a career in high-demand industries.

It will also fund one million publicly subsidised training places in health, social services, hospitality, clean energy, construction and more.

It will build on the success of Labor’s Free TAFE initiative, which has provided free training for more than 6,300 students across the Sunshine Coast since the start of 2023.

Across five focus areas and five years, the strategy sets out to maximise productivity and participation, unlocking billions in annual skills investment – including a $370 million funding uplift to help kickstart the new strategy.

Quotes attributable to Member for Caloundra Jason Hunt MP:
“The new Queensland Skills Strategy will include so many more Free TAFE places locals in our community – allowing people who have never been able to afford training to gain new skills to enter or re-enter the workforce.

“More training places aligned with high-skilled, priority sectors will be critical to meet the demand triggered by the $1.2 billion investment for the Big Build on the Sunshine Coast - which will create an estimated 3,400 jobs.

“Around 1 in 5 workers on the Sunshine Coast will be employed in the sector by 2025-26 – with significant, sustained demand for nurses, aged care and disability workers, and mental health professionals.

“This Queensland Skills Strategy from the new Miles Government will also encourage more people to train and upskill in our region’s fastest-growing sector – Health Care and Social Assistance.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Nicklin Rob Skelton MP:
“I was so proud to meet Sunny Coast local Michaela Sykes who is accessing our Free TAFE to transition to a rewarding health career in our region.

“After spending 35 years as a seamstress, Michaela resigned from her job in July 2023 to study full time – pursuing a Certificate IV in Mental Health under Free TAFE.

“Her interest was first sparked by her own lived experience with mental health care, and now Michaela has come full circle – a successful graduate, employed as a mental health support worker here on the Coast.”

Quotes attributable to Michaela Sykes, Certificate IV in Mental Health graduate:
“I decided I needed to give back and help people find hope and happiness in their life like I have.

“I couldn’t be happier (and) I owe it all to TAFE Queensland and my teachers, especially Tracy Galaud.

“I started the course scared and thinking, ‘What have I done?’, but because of Tracy and the teachers I have thrived and found my confidence.

“Now I have a job, a new career and believe in myself again.”

ATTENTION MEDIA: Please click here for a photo of Michaela.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Training and Skills Development Lance McCallum:
"We want Queenslanders at the front of the line for good jobs in Queensland and this investment will ensure we make the most of this golden decade of opportunity.

“This strategy is not just real cost of living relief now, but a chance at a better life, with better pay and a better job, helping grow our economy right across the state.

“Labor’s Free TAFE has changed lives–people who were facing homelessness, mothers returning to work, and young people who haven’t completed high school–have completed free TAFE courses and come out with good jobs.

“There’s no clearer difference between Labor and the LNP who will jack up course fees and make young Queenslanders pay for their apprenticeships–they’ll have to, because David Crisafulli doesn’t back the coal royalties that pay for it.”

Further information:
• Jobs Queensland data projects that the largest employing industries on the Sunshine Coast in 2025-26 will be:
1. Health Care and Social Assistance
2. Construction
3. Retail Trade
4. Accommodation and Food Services
5. Education and Training

• Higher-level skills are also being sought by employers, with nine out of 10 new jobs requiring post-school qualifications over the 10 years to 2033 according to Jobs and Skills Australia.
• Development of the Good Jobs, Great Training: Queensland Skills Strategy 2024 – 2028 is a key action under the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022 – 2032.
• For more information and to read the Good Jobs, Great Training: Queensland Skills Strategy 2024 – 2028, visit

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