In a bid to increase the pipeline of the next generation of nurses, the Queensland Government has injected extra funding to bolster fee-free TAFE for nursing students.
An extra 3,500 free Diploma of Nursing placements will be offered in 2024, available through TAFE Queensland, CQUniversity and Mater Education, with the Government providing an additional $40.6 million on top of its existing investment, estimated at $46.9 million.
Students will save up to $24,000 under the scheme, the Government says, with 58,000 students already benefiting from fee-free TAFE this year, including 2,400 Diploma of Nursing students.
“As Queensland continues to grow, it is important we have a job-ready frontline health service to meet the needs of the future,” Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“That’s why our government is investing an additional $87.5 million to give future health heroes access to the skills and training they need, without the cost barrier.”
Ms Palaszczuk said feedback from students suggested that they would be able to follow their dream of becoming a nurse thanks to the program.
“Growing our next generation of healthcare workers is just the start as we chart a long-term blueprint on recruiting, retaining and building Queensland’s health workforce. And vocational education has a big role to play in that work.”
Queensland Health Minister Shannon Fentiman said the state’s health workforce was expected to grow by 16% by 2026, with the initiative just one of many measures introduced to help meet future healthcare demands.
“A Diploma of Nursing offers the nurses of tomorrow hands-on, industry-relevant training, including placement in a healthcare setting,” she said.
“If you want work that is meaningful, fulfilling, well-paying and secure, then choose health, and when you complete your studies, we will have a job for you.”