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There are many reasons to choose a TAFE course.

  • TAFE NSW offers many courses in many career areas.
  • Flexible learning options are available including part-time courses, evening courses and distance learning.
  • TAFE courses are vocational and provide career pathways.
  • TAFE courses can be a pathway to university

The content of courses run by TAFE is vocationally orientated and usually requires students to participate in practical placements in the workplace. Employers then know that TAFE graduates may have practical experience in applying their skills. TAFE graduates may be able to claim credit toward higher level TAFE qualifications and toward some university degrees.

Within TAFE NSW there are 10 institutes at more than 130 metropolitan and rural campuses - sometimes campuses are called colleges.

In the Sydney metropolitan area there are 4 TAFE Institutes: Sydney, Western Sydney, Northern Sydney and South Western Sydney. Not all courses are offered at each Institute or at each campus. It is important to consider the feasibility of travelling to different campuses when you are choosing a course. The TAFE NSW website provides comprehensive information about courses and which campuses offer them. You can also pick up a course handbook at your local college.

TAFE NSW courses have flexible delivery options, which means you can design a study schedule to suit your needs. Distance education is also available through OTEN, the Open Training and Education Network, for people wishing to study away from campus and at their own pace.

Support at TAFE for people with a disability

TAFE NSW has specialist Teacher/Consultants (TCs) for students with disabilities. It's a good idea to talk with a TC before you enrol in any course. Discussions with a TC are confidential. You may need to provide some documentation of your disability in order to get adjustments – the TC will explain to you what is needed.

It's important to think through what you want to disclose about your disability. The TAFE TC will explain your options to you. The section on Disclosure in this website can help you think through the process.

TCs provide a range of services to assist students with disability. These include help choosing an appropriate course, help with the enrolment process and help determining the appropriate classroom support and assessment adjustments. Services provided may include tutorial support, the use of adaptive technology, a sign language interpreter, a note-taker or a disability assistant. These adjustments may also apply to students who have a temporary disability.

Different TCs have specialist disability areas – contact the TC relevant to your disability to discuss any assistance you may need. To find the TC at the campus you are interested in, look on the disability services section of the TAFE NSW website. Each individual TAFE institute's website also has disability information (links below).

TAFE entry processes

Check that you meet the entry requirements for the course. Before you can be considered for entry, you must meet all the entry requirements for the course or be accepted on the basis of a special admission. Entry requirements for specific courses can be found in the Find a Course section of the NSW TAFE website.

Some courses also require additional application procedures. You will need to find out whether you need to attend an information session, sit for a test, submit a portfolio of work or answer an additional questionnaire as part of the selection process. You will also need to enrol, either online or in person on specified enrolment days.

You should also be aware that a significant reform to the NSW Vocational Education and Training system, including TAFE, comes into effect on 1 January 2015. This reform is called Smart and Skilled. Under Smart and Skilled eligible individuals will be entitled to government subsidised training up to and including Certificate III, from TAFE or another approved training provider. Subsidised training at higher levels may also be available in certain priority industry areas. Under Smart and Skilled, it will cost students more to complete second or subsequent courses, so it will be more important than ever to make informed course decisions. Students with disability may still be entitled to fee exemptions or concessions for certain courses.

Further Information:

Links to metropolitan Sydney TAFE institutes and disability support information

National Disability Coordination Officer Program LogoWestern Sydney University