Building success through Free TAFE

From building a home to expanding her law practice, Zoe Edquist is one of many Bendigo TAFE graduates who are transforming their lives thanks to the Victorian Government’s Free TAFE initiative.

With a background in law, Zoe has always enjoyed working on her own renovation projects and chose to pursue the Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building) (CPC40110) at Bendigo TAFE to formalise her knowledge.

“I discovered that the Certificate IV in Building and Construction was free and it was a no brainer. I wouldn’t have done it without Free TAFE; it wasn’t affordable to me as a full-fee course,” she said.

Zoe is currently completing the build of her own home and plans to pursue a full Victorian Building Authority registration in time. She also plans to expand her law practice with her newfound knowledge.

“Apart from being an owner-builder and developer, I’m also a lawyer and the knowledge gained by doing the certificate IV has and will be very helpful in expanding my practice to include construction law - for which there is great demand at the moment,” she said.

Zoe’s journey reflects the success of the Victorian Government’s Free TAFE program, which has this week reported significant success in helping students start the training they need for in-demand jobs.

“Free TAFE has opened doors for so many trainees in Victoria and has had a huge impact for so many people getting into the workforce over the past year. The data released this week in the 2019 Scorecard already shows the real value in the program,” said Bendigo TAFE’s CEO Sally Curtain.

“We have been proud to play our part at Bendigo TAFE where we run more than 30 Free TAFE courses in agriculture, commercial cooking, dental assisting, education support, horticulture, disability support, nursing, building and construction and accounting.

“These are a mix of non-apprenticeship and apprenticeship pathway courses, which means we are able to support a range of students training preferences.”

Ms. Curtain said Free TAFE will remain a priority for TAFEs in line with its critical role in supporting Victoria’s recovery from the pandemic.

“Implementing the Free TAFE initiative was a priority for our wider organisation last year, and we had a total of 3,665 Free TAFE enrolments in 2019 across the Bendigo Kangan Institute network,” she said.

“As Minister Tierney noted this week, the Free TAFE program will now have an important part to play for Victorians needing to retrain as our state recovers from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We look forward to supporting these students and helping them get back into the workforce with practical qualifications.”

More information about Bendigo TAFE and its Free TAFE courses are available at ​