Technical and further education or TAFE (/ˈteɪf/) institutions provide a wide range of predominantly vocational courses, mostly qualifying courses under the National Training System/Australian Qualifications Framework/Australian Quality Training Framework. Fields covered include business, finance, hospitality, tourism, construction, engineering, visual arts, information technology and community work.
Individual TAFE institutions (usually with numerous campuses) are known as either colleges or institutes, depending on the state or territory. TAFE colleges are owned, operated and financed by the various state and territory governments. This is in contrast to the university sector, whose funding is predominantly the domain of the federal government and whose universities the state governments predominantly own. TAFE colleges award Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications accredited in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector that align to Certificate I, Certificate II, Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma qualifications. In many instances, TAFE study at a Diploma or above level can be used as partial credit towards bachelor's degree-level university programs.
From 2002, the TAFE education sector has been able to offer bachelor's degrees and post-graduate diploma courses to fill niche areas, particularly vocationally focused areas of study based on industry needs. As at June 2009 TAFE colleges (mainly in New South Wales, Victoria, but also Western Australia, ACT, and Queensland) now confer their own degree-level, awards and post graduate diplomas, though initially not beyond the level of bachelor's degree. However, Melbourne Polytechnic has been accredited in 2015 to offer two master's degree courses. Similarly, some universities (e.g., Charles Darwin University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) offer vocational education courses (traditionally the domain of TAFE); these are funded by the local state and territory governments. Some high schools also deliver courses developed and accredited by TAFEs.