Victorian Minister for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney made the announcement at RMIT’s city campus on Monday, announcing an investment of more than $4 million to make several Auslan courses available fee-free from 2023.
The courses will be delivered by RMIT and Melbourne Polytechnic.
“This is an important investment that will have a ripple effect throughout our community by boosting the number of Auslan interpreters and making Victoria a more inclusive and diverse place,” Minister Tierney said.
RMIT Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Alec Cameron said providing interpreting services and boosting the Auslan interpreter workforce in Victoria is critical to promoting inclusivity and accessibility in the Victorian community.
"RMIT is committed to improving inclusion and accessibility for all Victorians. We believe that accessibility in the modern workplace, places of education, at public events and within the community in general, must be a priority.
"Today’s announcement will go a long way to satisfying the increasing demand for Auslan interpreters, directly help students train in meaningful careers, and provide a pathway to high-demand industries,” he said.
Free TAFE was introduced by the Labor Government in 2019 and has helped more than 100,000 Victorians gain access to training and rewarding career pathways, while saving them more than $240 million in course fees.
Since then, the initiative has grown to more than 60 courses, enabling more Victorians to gain access to training and helping to address the state’s skills and training needs for its future.
RMIT’s College of Vocational Education Deputy Vice-Chancellor Mish Eastman said the addition of Auslan courses to the Free TAFE program will directly help students train in meaningful careers and help strengthen community participation and quality of life for deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing Victorians.
“This new funding is key to removing the financial barriers faced by many students and ensures even more students have access to qualifications that can support Victoria’s deaf and hard of hearing community.” she said.
RMIT has a long history of delivering interpreting qualifications, with its translating and interpreting program established in 1975. For more than 45 years it has delivered interpreting and translating certificates, diplomas and degrees, which are intrinsic to an inclusive society.
RMIT offers the Advanced Diploma of Interpreting (Auslan stream) and the Diploma of Interpreting, as well a range of other certificates and postgraduate courses.
Story: Rachel Wells