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Workplace changes spark rise in south Australian mature aged student numbers

25 June 2014    

The latest figures from TAFE SA show a dramatic rise in the number of mature aged students (aged 45 and over) undertaking courses as older workers switch careers to stay in the workforce for longer.

Over the last four years, mature aged student numbers at TAFE SA rose by 15% with more than 20,000 undertaking courses in 2013.

Already in 2014 (January to May), nearly 10,000 mature aged students have enrolled in a TAFE SA course.  

This number is expected to rise as applications for Semester 2 opened on Monday June 2.

With people no longer having a career for life and the pension age increasing to 70 from 2035, TAFE SA is predicting a steep rise in the number of mature students over the next decade.

TAFE SA Chief Executive Jeff Gunningham said more South Australians are actively planning for the next stage of their working lives.

“Over the last decade we’ve seen a big shift in the industries providing employment opportunities in South Australia,” said Mr Gunningham.

“We’re likely to see further changes over the next decade as South Australia moves away from its traditional manufacturing base to other industries including technology, advanced manufacturing and professional services.

“TAFE SA continues to align our course structure to the future skills demands of industry and the key drivers of economic growth for South Australia.

“Mature aged students are attracted by TAFE SA because we give them practical training and the job ready skills employers are seeking.

“TAFE SA also often compliments student’s existing university or tertiary qualifications by giving them the practical skills required to find employment.

“The flexibility of TAFE SA also allows students to continue to work while they study so they don’t lose income during their transition to a new career.”

Forty-nine year old Paul Dellar returned to study at TAFE SA last year and is half way through his two-year Certificate III in Plumbing. Paul was last at TAFE SA in 1983 when he studied Carpentry and Joinery.

“It’s been a challenge to return to study but I’ve received great support from my employer and TAFE SA, said Mr Dellar.

“I’ve been labouring for BE and PE Jones Plumbing for a number of years but getting a recognised qualification will enhance my future prospects with the company.

“Next year, I plan to undertake a Certificate IV which will give me a plumbing contractor’s licence.”

On Monday (June 2), TAFE SA opened applications to 497 Award Courses, 120 university pathway courses and 395 short courses available at TAFE SA learning centres, online and a mix of both

TAFE SA award courses range from Certificate I to Advanced Diploma and Degree
For more information on TAFE SA