TAFE NSW is an Australian vocational education and training provider. Annually, the network trains over 500,000 students in campus, workplace, online, or distance education methods of education. It was established as an independent statutory body under the TAFE Commission Act 1990. The Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business is responsible for TAFE NSW.

TypeTechnical and further education
Established1 March 1833
  • TAFE NSW Hunter and Central Coast
  • TAFE NSW Illawarra
  • TAFE New England
  • TAFE NSW North Coast
  • TAFE NSW Northern Sydney
  • TAFE NSW Riverina
  • TAFE NSW South Western Sydney
  • TAFE NSW Sydney Metro
  • TAFE NSW Western NSW
  • TAFE NSW Western Sydney

TAFE NSW awards qualifications as specified in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), and accredited to the Vocational Education and training (VET).[1] Qualifications awarded can also be attributed as partial credit towards bachelor's degree-level studies in universities.


TAFE NSW has existed for over 130 years aiming to upskill the workforce of New South Wales. Demand for vocational education suffered during the early years of the Depression until a decision to expand training services was made to help decrease high unemployment rates by the mid 1930s.[2] Growth also occurred in the industry after World War I and World War II in response to the need to support Australia's war effort. It also played a part in transitioning the population back into civilian work post war.[3]

The establishment of the Technical and Further Education Commission (TAFEC) alongside Commonwealth funding was a key historic moment – Technical Education then became known as TAFE and was established as its own educational body. Local education needs were then met by the regionalisation of community colleges to allow its expansion across the state.


Over 100,000 courses are offered annually. Some courses are available in different study formats, such as full-time, part-time, or online and distance learning.

Qualifications awarded:

Geographical AreasEdit

TAFE NSW comprises 130 campuses grouped by geographic area into ten Institutes:

  • TAFE NSW Hunter and Central Coast
  • TAFE NSW Illawarra (including Karoona Gallery)
  • TAFE NSW New England
  • TAFE NSW North Coast
  • TAFE NSW Northern Sydney
  • TAFE NSW Riverina
  • TAFE NSW South Western Sydney
  • TAFE NSW Sydney Metro
  • TAFE NSW Western Sydney
  • TAFE NSW Western NSW

All TAFE NSW Institutes were united as one 'TAFE NSW' registered training organisation from 1 January 2019.[4]

TAFE NSW Sydney MetroEdit


Each institute has their own main campus, e.g. Newcastle Campus is the main campus of Hunter Institute. In addition to campuses, TAFE NSW provides specialised study spaces and facilities such as Hair Beauty Academy or the Hunter Valley Hotel Academy.

TAFE NSW's online platforms have previously been named OTEN, TAFEnow and TAFE Online. Now known as TAFE Digital,[5] it is Australia's largest online education provider. It offers 250 industry courses across different industries.

TAFE NSW offers skills training for companies.[6] Some of the training areas include leadership and management, business and administration, customer service, HR training, ICT, marketing and communications, and compliance.[7]

TAFE Vocational Education and Training (TVET)Edit

The aim of the TAFE NSW delivered Vocational Education and Training (TVET) qualification is to allow high school students to be more prepared for work,[8] while still being at high school.[9] TVET courses are considered ‘dual accredited’, which means they count as units of study towards both a Higher School Certificate (HSC), and a TVET qualification. All TVET subjects contribute towards a student's HSC units, and have the same unit value as other HSC elective subjects. Some subjects may also contribute to a student's Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for a university admission.


University pathways are available to those seeking additional qualifications to enter University, would like to utilise practical training at TAFE NSW to reduce the time needed to study at University, and/or want to be work-ready with practical skills before the completion of a University degree.[10]

TAFE NSW has more than 435 agreed higher education pathways via more than 80 nationally recognised courses.

International studentsEdit

TAFE NSW offers work-related training courses, intensive English programs, and 300 approved and accredited courses for international students.[11]

An International Student Coordinator is assigned to each international student. The coordinator's duty includes meeting with them when they arrive at their designated campus, assisting with their orientation program, answering questions about their units, and helping them access support services.

Facilities, support and servicesEdit

The institution provides students access to their libraries and other facilities, which include individual, group study and social spaces, access to computers, and photocopy and printing. Online libraries are also available to students 24/7.

There are over 30,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled at TAFE NSW.[12] The institution offers financial help to eligible Aboriginal students who live or work throughout New South Wales, or live in identified border postcodes. This includes scholarships, and financial help with travel, accommodation and meals. If eligible, Aboriginal students may be able to receive government financial help through ABSTUDY from Centrelink. To support Aboriginal students, Aboriginal support officers are available to help with enrolment, course selection, study support and employment opportunities.

TAFE NSW enrols a number of students with a disability, offering a range of support services. This includes counselling, helping students choose the right courses for them, identifying support and assessment modifications, and access to services such as disability assistants, adaptive technologies, and sign-language interpreters.[13]

Students who are parents or caregivers have the opportunity to put their children in childcare facilities, which are provided at some TAFE NSW locations.[14] If places are available, children can be enrolled as early as six weeks old up until they are five years of age.[15]

TAFE NSW offers personal and vocational counselling that is free and confidential. Students are able to discuss any study or personal matters with a counsellor.[16] When seeking advice on course and career choices, students are able to get assistance on job opportunities, CV writing, applications, and interview skills.

TAFE NSW provides multicultural services to students with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.[17] This includes learning support for students from non-English speaking backgrounds enrolled in mainstream vocational courses, and advice on Temporary Visa Holders (TVH) for enrolling students.

TAFE NSW is home to active student associations in the Central Coast, Illawarra, New England, North coast, Northern Sydney, Sydney and Western Sydney. These associations provide facilities and services for members, including social and cultural activities and events. They are furthermore non-political, and not-for-profit.[18]

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, TAFE NSW offers the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), providing students up to 510 hours of free English lessons and childcare to newly arrived eligible migrants, and refugees.[19]

The institution offers the Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) program, an Australian government initiative. The program aims to improve reading, writing and maths.

Centres of ExcellenceEdit

TAFE NSW is home to many Centres of Excellence. Nationwide these facilities include:

  • Aeroskills Centre
  • Allied Timber Trades Centre
  • Australian Patisserie Academy
  • Centre for Digital Media and Design
  • Centre for Inland Engineering
  • Children's Services Centre
  • Cisco Academy Training Centre
  • Design Centre Enmore
  • Design Centre Hunter
  • Engineering Services
  • Equine Studies Centre
  • Fashion Design Studio (FDS)
  • Floor Covering Centre
  • Forest Industry Training Centre
  • Glass and Glazing Centre
  • Grafton Music Centre
  • Hair and Beauty Academy
  • Health Services Building
  • High Performance Sports Hub
  • Hunter Valley Hotel Academy
  • Illawarra Mechanical Engineering Centre
  • Information and Communication Technology Centres
  • Macarthur Building Industry Skills Centre
  • Mining Skills Centre
  • Nepean Health Precinct
  • Newcastle English Language Centre
  • Newcastle Hair & Beauty Academy
  • Newcastle Maritime Training Centre
  • Northern Beaches Community Health and Fitness Centre
  • Nursing Unit, Gunnedah
  • Polymer Processing Centre
  • Regional Institute of Performing Arts
  • Stonemasonry Centre
  • Sydney Health Precinct
  • Sydney Language Centre
  • Sydney Maritime Simulator
  • Sydney Media Centre
  • Sydney Wine and Coffee Academy
  • The Sydney Academy of Hair, Beauty and Make-up
  • TwentyTwenty Training Restaurant
  • Yallah Centre of Sustainability[20]

Financial and attendance issuesEdit

Between 2012 and 2016 attendance at TAFE NSW campuses dropped by 83,000 students. In the same period, fees had increased substantially. In a bid to curb this reduction in attendance, 2016 fees were frozen at their 2015 level.[21]

In September 2015, a leaked document revealed the State government intended to close 27 sites in order to reduce costs and raise funds.[22]

On Thursday 16 June 2016 the NSW Government announced that the EBS4 student management system for TAFE would be scrapped. NSW Skills Minister Mr John Barilaro has directed TAFE NSW to develop a new system in time for the 2018 peak enrolment period. The EBS4 rollout for TAFE NSW resulted in extensive major problems with enrolments, inability to track student financial data and generate testamurs, and a project budget over run of approximately $100m.[23][24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Vocational Education and Training". training.nsw.gov.au.
  2. ^ "Our history - TAFE NSW". www.tafensw.edu.au. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  3. ^ Bradford, Tracy. Second Chance Not Second Best. University of Technology, Sydney.
  4. ^ "One TAFE NSW - TAFE NSW". www.tafensw.edu.au. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  5. ^ "TAFE Digital Headquarters opens in Armidale". armidaleexpress.com.au. 26 March 2018.
  6. ^ "TAFE NSW aims to shake up business, government training". theaustralian.com.au. 26 June 2018.
  7. ^ "About - TAFE NSW".
  8. ^ "Jon Black: Skills will pay the bills". The Daily Telegraph. 2 August 2018.
  11. ^ "About TAFE NSW". 2012.
  12. ^ "Stan Grant to talk in Dubbo about his Indigenous education mission". 7 September 2018.
  14. ^ "New childcare facility to help migrants who wish to study English at the TAFE". 15 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Wollongong migrant now teaching English to inspire new Australians". 8 October 2018.
  19. ^ "Armidale welcomes refugees from Syria and Iraq". 26 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Centres of excellence". www.tafensw.edu.au. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  21. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (12 January 2016). "TAFE NSW: Fee freeze not enough to save institution, say teachers". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  22. ^ Needham, Kristy (13 September 2015). "TAFE to sell off 27 sites, close regional campuses". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  23. ^ Anonymous (16 June 2016). "Troublesome TAFE IT system scrapped by NSW Government". ABC.
  24. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (16 June 2016). "TAFE NSW: government dumps multimillion-dollar enrolment system". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media.

External linksEdit