TAFE flexibility attracts students

TAFE has been at the forefront of developing courses that can be undertaken wholly or partly online

TAFE has long prided itself on embracing innovative approaches to learning, and in an increasingly time-pressured world it appears this strategy is paying off. To take just one example, TAFE NSW Western Institute's Orange Campus, in regional NSW, has seen a huge spike in enrolments in 2013, with a 10 per cent increase (that's more than 315 students!) signing up to complete courses.

Institute director Kate Baxter credits TAFE's growing popularity to years of hard work aimed at providing cutting-edge services. As she told the Central Western Daily, "We're very pleased… It shows that people are willing to support our local TAFE and that we're meeting the needs of people in the region."

Though she's quick to point out that it's not just TAFE Western Institute's Orange College that's experiencing a surge in popularity: "Enrolment numbers appear to have increased at most of our colleges. In addition to enrolments in face-to-face courses offered at each of the Institute's colleges, almost 1000 students have enrolled in TAFE Western Connect courses, which offer students more choices in training through flexible and innovative delivery methods… People these days have a lot more options. You can work from home [on] the internet and that makes TAFE studies a lot easier to blend in with other important things in your life."

While many education providers now offer various forms of flexible learning, TAFE NSW has always recognised that the majority of its students have work and family commitments and that those in remote and regional areas face particular challenges when accessing courses. As a result, TAFE has been at the forefront of developing courses that can be undertaken wholly or partly online, while making sure students remain supported through regular online or phone contact with their teachers and classmates. The award-winning Western Connect initiative, for example, provides more than 50 online vocational courses that have already been completed by over 3000 students.

For more information on flexible approaches to learning that will help you acquire the qualification and skill set you require, visit TAFE NSW.