Significant economic, industry, and policy changes have influenced TAFE Queensland over the past 135 years. Our form has changed many times throughout our proud history from 1882 to now, but our vision has remained true: to be the market leader of high quality education and training in Queensland and beyond.
On 4 September 1882, we started with just a dozen students for a mechanical drawing class in the garret of the North Brisbane School of Arts. That same year we expanded our course offerings to include geology, bookkeeping, French, German, and the history of the British Empire. Prior to this, post-school education was expensive and generally reserved for the wealthy. Technical colleges gave a greater number of people access to the skills they needed for employment.
By the 1900s, due to economic growth, we had expanded our footprint within the greater Brisbane region and across the state. The South Brisbane Technical College was founded when the South Brisbane Municipality took over the Mechanics Institute, and we commenced operations in Townsville, Maryborough, Normanton, Hughenden, and Rockhampton.
During the early 1900s, a number of significant changes impacted on technical education in Queensland, including the creation of the Board of Technical Education. In response to a number of economic factors, a number of smaller campuses in regional areas closed while larger ones such as Mackay, Warwick, and Charters Towers flourished. The Depression caused a downturn in the trades, but as the 1930s progressed, the economy slowly began to recover and we worked with industry to offer new courses such as waitressing.
The Second World War (WWII) significantly impacted technical education in Queensland. In 1940 our Rockhampton, Ipswich, and Central Technical Colleges began training men and women as munitions workers and technicians for the Army and the Air Force under the Commonwealth Technical (War Time) Training Scheme. Five years later the Brisbane Technical Correspondence School opened offering 38 courses in art, commerce, literature, mathematics, rural studies, trades, and domestic science. These courses were targeted at serving and discharged members of the armed forces.
Over the next few decades we continued to deliver training across the state, influenced by local, industry and economic needs. In 1974, with the release of the Kangan report, all Technical Colleges became known as Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Colleges.
TAFE Queensland was officially established by the TAFE Queensland Act 2013 as a statutory body on 1 July 2014. This legislation defines the objectives and functions associated with the governance of TAFE Queensland. One year prior on 1 July 2013 it also influenced the amalgamation of TAFE institutes across the state into six regional Registered Training Organisations (RTOs): Brisbane, East Coast, Gold Coast, North, SkillsTech, and South West.
Brisbane was amalgamated from the Southbank Institute of Technology, the Brisbane North Institute of TAFE, and the Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE. East Coast combined the Sunshine Coast Institute of TAFE and the Wide Bay Institute of TAFE. Gold Coast was formed from the Gold Coast Institute of TAFE. The North region merged the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE and Tropical North Queensland TAFE. SkillsTech, located in the greater Brisbane area, was previously known as SkillsTech Australia and the Trade and Technician Skills Institute. South West was formed by merging the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE and The Bremer Institute of TAFE.
From 1 July 2017 we commenced the process of consolidating our six regional RTOs into a single RTO. This work was critical to ensure we could continue to deliver practical, industry-led training to students and business across the state in the most efficient and effective ways possible. While this transition is largely an administrative change, operating as a single RTO will make it easier to study and do business with us. We have been in the business of training for more than 135 years, educating more than 7 million students, and we will continue to make great happen for years to come.
We make great happen every day. But don't just take our word for it, listen to what our students have to say.