An additional 100,000 free TAFE courses means Gunnedah residents now have more choice and easier access to training for jobs.
The extra courses will be made up of 70,000 new fee-free courses for young job-seekers taking on traineeships, and 30,000 free TAFE places for mature-aged workers.
This addition means the total number of free courses will be almost 700,000 in the next four years.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the state-wide plan, and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson welcomed it for the Gunnedah community.
“This is great news for our young people and mature-aged students seeking a career pathway and wanting to train local, to stay local," Mr Anderson said.
Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce president Stacey Cooke said the announcement would be good for the shire.
“I encourage people to contact Gunnedah TAFE and make enquiries to take advantage of this opportunity to expand on their existing skills or to create new skills,” Ms Cooke said.
“It’s vital that our local business community support these opportunities and I encourage local business owners to liaise with Gunnedah TAFE and their staff to enhance skills - it’s a win/win for all.”
Chamber member Michael Broekman echoed her praise.
"Trades are in short demand, and the cost to hire a tradesman these days is astronomical," Mr Broekman said.
"Allowing more people to get skilled ... and to be able to tap into the financial gains by having a trade certificate or qualification is wonderful news for that sector.
Mr Anderson said this would help address the skills shortages in the area.
“These free courses will cover areas with key skills shortages, such as aged care, childcare, information and communication technology and construction," he said.
People can get trained up on these industries and we’ll need an educated workforce into the future as they are growing rapidly.Stephen Mears, Labor candidate
He said it would also help those struggling financially.
“[The courses are] all about removing cost barriers to ensure those who wish to access TAFE training to start their career or secure another job can," he said.
Labor candidate Stephen Mears said a similar TAFE plan had already been announced by the Labor government.
"It’s extremely pleasing after eight years of nothing [that] Mr Anderson has announced a similar policy that has been announced by Labor, who will introduce over 600,000 courses," he said.
"There’s lots of people entering disability support with no training, it'll be a real boost for training and will help companies themselves.
"People can get trained up on these industries and we’ll need an educated workforce into the future as they are growing rapidly."
The free courses will target those in the community who need it most, and will build on the free courses already being offered to apprentices and disadvantaged people.