McGowan Government to bolster WA's future regional workforce

The McGowan Government has unveiled new initiatives in the 2023-24 State Budget that will support students in regional Western Australia while they study at TAFE and with contracted private providers.
  • McGowan Government commits funding to boost training outcomes in the regions and skill Western Australians for local jobs
  • $5.4 million investment in the 2023-24 State Budget includes practical measures to support students in regional Western Australia
  • Funding includes work placement and travel assistance for regional nursing students
  • Travel and accommodation allowance increased for regional apprentices and trainees
  • Funding reducing barriers for regional students to kick-start their careers

The McGowan Government has unveiled new initiatives in the 2023-24 State Budget that will support students in regional Western Australia while they study at TAFE and with contracted private providers.

Training Minister Simone McGurk and Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson made the announcement while visiting North Regional TAFE's Health and Community Services Training Centre at the Pundulmurra (South Hedland) campus.

A new package providing a weekly work placement and travel allowance for regional nursing students will help address the growing demand for skilled workers in the health sector.

The $2.9 million investment will commence in January 2024 for a two-year period and delivers on the McGowan Government's commitment to attract and retain skilled workers across the State - building a workforce for jobs of the future.

The initiative will provide eligible Diploma of Nursing students with financial support to undertake the up to 400 hours of practical placement required for their training where locally-based placements aren't available.

The allowance will be $350 per week with a travel allowance of $1,000 per training block for the Kimberley and Pilbara and $500 per block for other regions except Peel, which will be an allowance of $350 per week.

In a further boost for regional students, the travel and accommodation allowance for WA apprentices, trainees, cadets and interns who are required to travel long distances off-the-job for their training will increase.

To address rising costs of living and barriers to training for regional students, the per-kilometre rate will double from 20 cents to 40 cents. The accommodation allowance rate will also be boosted by up to 43 per cent.

The $2.5 million initiative will address the increased gap in out-of-pocket expenses for regional students for a two-year period from 1 July 2023.

This investment forms part of the McGowan Government's Budget initiatives to support WA industries to tap into the under-utilised areas of workforce by addressing barriers to participation in training and employment in WA.

Comments attributed to Training Minister Simone McGurk:

"As a Government, we're committed to building a skilled workforce now and into the future - and these initiatives will help remove barriers to training so regional students have more opportunities to boost their skills and take on local jobs.

"There are often additional expenses for students training in the regions and the incentives will not only provide cost of living support, but will result in more skilled Western Australians ready to join the workforce and meet the needs of industry across the State.

"This announcement forms part of our targeted programs aiming to boost participation and assist students to complete their training.

"We want to send a message to people considering a new career to follow their dreams - there has never been a better time to get into training in Western Australia, no matter where you live."

Comments attributed to Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson: 

"The weekly work placement allowance and travel allowance are great incentives for our nursing students living in regional locations to access work placements.

"As a Government, we are doing everything we can to attract healthcare workers to our world-class public health system.

"Now has never been a better time to train to become a nurse and work in some of the most interesting parts of the State."

Comments attributed to Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel: 

"It's a reality in the Pilbara that students can sometimes be required to travel long distances as part of their training and this boost to travel and accommodation allowances will reduce out of pocket expenses.

"There are plenty jobs out there, and we want to help ensure students finish their qualifications so they can work right here, and the benefits flow on to local communities."

Training Minister's office - 6552 6600
Health Minister's office - 6552 5900