The NSW Government has announced a $108.5 million funding boost over four years to back “revolutionary new institutes” of applied technology, in a further push to address two critical areas of educational demand: the digital technology and digital construction industries.
The funding commitment, part of the state’s 2022-23 Budget, has been earmarked for two new TAFE NSW Institutes of Applied Technology (IAT), with the Government expecting more than 26,000 students who are “exploring careers in critical industries” to benefit from the investment.
The investment also builds on an existing $222.5 million commitment from the state Government to design and construct the two pilot institutes.
One of the institutes, the IAT for Digital Technology at Meadowbank, will be created in partnership with Microsoft, focusing on key areas of industry demand, including big data, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI).
The institute will also partner with the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University.
The second of the two institutes, the IAT for Construction at Kingswood, will focus more on digital construction skills, project management and leadership, with a delivery partner to be announced soon.
Minister for Skills and Training, Alister Henskens, said the two new IATs, paired with “world-class universities” and industry leaders, would offer a “hands-on learning experience” for students while delivering “cutting-edge courses” and “a pipeline of job-ready graduates”.
“This is the future of skills and training and the NSW Government is leading the nation in investing in this critical infrastructure which will help people get the skills to grow our economy and create a brighter future for our state.”
According to Treasurer Matt Kean, the 2022-23 NSW Budget would establish a new education model combining the best of university and vocational education.
“The Budget will deliver a record investment for TAFE NSW, both in terms of operation funding and capital expenditure to improve facilities, upgrade teaching equipment and create modern learning spaces,” Kean said.
The two IATs are also expected to deliver on a recommendation of the Gonski-Shergold review into the NSW vocational education and training sector.
The review was conducted in 2020 by Professor Peter Shergold and David Gonski to help identify opportunities that would ensure NSW remains nationally and internationally competitive.
As a result, the review recommended that NSW should trial “a bold new approach to tertiary education through the establishment of a NSW Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) that fully integrates the delivery of employability skills”.
Other recommendations from the review included the establishment of Careers NSW, advocacy for VET student loans, improved vocational education and consultations with industry experts on VET course curriculums.