Settlement Guide

Did you know you can access adult learning in Australia?

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If you're looking to start your career, want to upskill or change path, Australia’s public provider of vocational education and training might have a course to get you job-ready.


  • TAFE provides vocational education, training and career advice across Australia
  • Citizens, permanent residents, international students and some temporary visa holders can go to TAFE
  • Free courses are available for jobs in some sectors

Completing a higher education course can lead to your first job in Australia, help you upgrade your skills to get a better job, or even help you change your career, altogether.

The Technical and Further Education system (TAFE) is the public provider of vocational education and training in Australia.

TAFE institutes in each state and territory, offer part-time and full-time courses, on-campus options and online courses, across a wide variety of industries and professions.

kitchen staff, cooking class, TAFE
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The Executive Director of the Victorian TAFE Association, Andrew Williamson, says TAFE offers over a thousand different courses from accounting and automobile industries to hair and beauty, building and construction, business and marketing, community services, healthcare, early child education and many more.

Mr Williamson also says that prospective students can explore a range of options, get support and career advice at their local TAFE.

We're able to have qualified career advisors sit down with our prospective students and talk through their options and what they want to achieve in their career.

man at drilling machine, TAFE
Getty Images/Peter Muller

Not all courses have entry requirements, but the ones that do are not nearly as strict as the ones for university study, and they might include conditions like minimum qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience you would need for successful course completion.

Mandy Nour, the Adult Migrant English Program lead for TAFE New South Wales, says some courses necessitate a certain level of English proficiency as an entry requirement.

If you don't meet the entry requirement for the course, we can advise you on other ways to get there. For example, it might be possible to start with a lower level course.

Many TAFE staff members speak languages other than English, but if at your local TAFE no staff can speak your language, you can use free phone interpreting service provided by the Department of Home Affairs.

To access an immediate phone interpreter, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 131 450.

Once you are connected to an interpreter who speaks your language, you will need to provide your local TAFE number before the phone conference can start.

two man working on assignment, TAFE
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For jobs that are in high demand, there is a list of government-subsidised courses in several states.

Mr Williamson says that in Victoria there are 40 to 50 free courses that range from pre-apprenticeship courses to certificates IV and to diplomas.

The government will pay the TAFE directly instead of a student having to pay the course fees.

Free and partially subsidised courses are mostly available to citizens, permanent residents, refugees and asylum seekers.

Mandy Nour says that for temporary visa holders or people who need financial help there are also some options.

Course fees can be paid in instalments, and we have, for the higher-level courses, debt student loan or FEE-HELP, which is funded by the Commonwealth government and allow people to study now and pay later.

To take the next step in your career and find out what financial help is available, get in touch with your local TAFE.

For general TAFE related information, please visit

In Victoria, visit TAFE Victoria or call 131 823.

In New South Wales, visit TAFE NSW or call 131 601.

In Western Australia, visit TAFE WA or call 1300 300 822 

In South Australia, visit TAFE SA or call 1800 882 661

In Queensland, visit TAFE Queensland or call 1300 308 233

In Tasmania, visit TasTAFE or call 1300 655 307

In Northern Territory, visit Charles Darwin University  or call 1800 061 963

In Australian Capital Territory, visit Canberra Institute of Technology or call 02 6207 3188 

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