Year 12 graduate and TAFE Queensland horticulture student Ben Waddell has been able to set himself on the path to success by learning valuable skills that will help him one day grow his own business, after receiving a helping hand from the Queensland Government.

Under the State Government’s Free TAFE initiative, Year 12 graduates who enrol in a high priority qualification within 12 months of leaving school are eligible to receive their course free, enabling eligible school leavers to pursue their dream careers without incurring any fees.

After graduating from Suncoast Christian College at the end of last year, Ben planned to start his own lawn mowing run; however he wanted to ensure he had as much information as possible to ensure he had the best chance at growing a thriving business.

“When I heard about the funding, it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” Ben said.

“That’s why I decided to make the most of the funding and do something that will boost my business, both now and into the future.”

Ben found out about Free TAFE from his parents and was excited to discover the Certificate III in Horticulture (AHC30716) was on the list of subsidised courses. Now, as a recipient of the funding, the plucky 18-year-old has been able to kick-start his career at no cost, allowing him to gain the knowledge and skills he needs to achieve his goal.

Data from the Labour Market Information Portal shows a projected employment growth of 14.8 per cent in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing on the Sunshine Coast over the next five years, providing plenty of opportunities for nature lovers like Ben.

General Manager for TAFE Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay campuses, Ana Rodger said she was excited to help the region’s youth kick start their careers.

“Supporting young people to gain the skills and understanding that can launch a rewarding career path offers long-term benefits for them, employers and our economy,” said Ms Rodger.

Free TAFE for Year 12 graduates supports 160 qualifications, with 17 delivered at TAFE Queensland’s Nambour campus alone, including apprenticeships in electrotechnology, plumbing and other trades, the Certificate II in Engineering traineeship, and the Certificate III in Education Support.”

“It’s fantastic to see someone like Ben receive the support to gain the skills he needs to succeed in his future endeavours,” she said.

“Ben’s ambition and commitment to his goal is to be commended, and I can’t wait to see where his studies with TAFE Queensland take him.”

Free TAFE for Year 12 graduates is available in the calendar year after students graduate.


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