AFTER spending years as a bookkeeper, Federation University student, Kasey Marnell, took the leap to study something that would challenge her.
It wasn't until after she enrolled in her course, she found out she wouldn't have to pay the $8000 TAFE fee as the Certificate III in Individual Support had been included in the new list of free TAFE courses.
Ms Marnell wanted to go into the aged care sector after a "tedious" path in bookkeeping.
"I've always liked older people, so I thought I would get into aged care," she said.
Ms Marnell left her full-time job, so knowing the burden of fees had been lifted as she changed careers was a relief.
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"I don't have to worry about an expensive bill at the end," she said.
"I'm only working part-time while I study."
Ms Marnell said free education is vital for the aged care and nursing areas.
"There is such a shortage of staff," she said.
"I might go on to nursing after I finish this certificate."
Liam Sloan, the Federation University Pro Vice-Chancellor of Vocational Education and Training and TAFE chief executive, said offering free TAFE courses supports growing areas.
"The Free TAFE initiative gives more people the opportunity to study courses that lead to good jobs in some of our fastest growing industries," Mr Sloan said.
Federation TAFE currently offers 31 Free TAFE courses.
Under the initiative's expansion announced today, the Certificate III in Information Technology and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment will move from fee-paying to free for eligible students in 2022.
The Free TAFE initiative allows students to gain qualifications in areas where there is a skills shortage and strong growth in jobs.
Almost 2,500 students have studied Free TAFE courses at Federation TAFE since the initiative began in 2019.
Ms Marnell said being able to study what she wanted without a fee was "brilliant."
"It was bit of a shock to go from working full time to none while I was studying," she said.
"But this has been fantastic and a relief."
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