With a lot of people suddenly out of work as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns, many state governments have pivoted to quickly provide funding to tertiary education like TAFE to ensure that people wanting free courses to upskill during the shutdown can get about that without having to burn a hole in their bank accounts.

Just about every state has a range of free short courses that you can do from home during the shutdown, that will keep your skills sharp or even giving you some new knowledge you can take out into the world when the restrictions have eased.

There are so many to choose from, so we decided to pick out our fave short courses (or “micro-credentials”, which is SO cute) from each state that’s offering them, so you can get inspired to keep your brain ticking over in isolation.

Free TAFE Short Courses To Keep Your Noggin Sharp In Isolation

New South Wales

TAFE NSW’s free short courses are limited to two courses per person, and eligibility rules apply. A lot of the courses run for 12 weeks and require anywhere from 2 hours up to 12 hours of study time per week.

There’s a whole bunch of free TAFE courses available, but here are our picks of the bunch.

Get your Myspace-era HTML skills back up to scratch again with the Building Digital Literacy with Coding (HTML & CSS) course. Coding is seriously such a handy thing to have in your back pocket and on your CV, and you never know when it’ll come in handy.

Microsoft Excel (Intermediate Level) is a skill that, despite feeling like you never tamed that beast successfully in high school, will always rear its head in your working life somehow. Plus you’ll feel like some kind of computer sorcerer once you learn the secret tricks and forumlas of Excel.

If you want to learn how to take a good photo (both handy for work and also for the content) give Creative Digital Imaging (Photoshoots & Photoshop) a crack. Learning tips about Photoshop is always handy – if only to learn how to successfully ‘shop yourself into literally any photo.

Creating and Maintaining Simple Websites is handy for your ~side hustle~ or if you want to start a new business from isolation, or your parents/bosses have a billion questions about the internet.

If you wanna know more about your own body and how it handles and fights off nasties, then Introduction to Infection Prevention will likely be super interesting. Plus you can lord it over your mates when they’re coming down with some mystery illness and you can give them all your knowledge and wisdom (and tell them to actually get some fkn rest.)

Victoria

Boasting an impressive list of free short courses for everything from horticulture, to accounting, to youth work, the Victorian Skills Gateway has pretty much something for everyone. If you’re looking to totally change careers during the iso shutdown, there are also a whole bunch of free pre-apprenticeship courses you can check out as well.

Thinking about doing a full career pivot and heading out to the country to toughen your hands up a bit? Certificate II, Certificate III, and Certificate IV in Agriculture is available for the undertaking, so you can learn the lay of the land and (maybe) become a Real Farmer.

Certificate III & Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance is also available, and super informative if the whole pandemic thing has inspired you to get into the medical field and help out people around you.

If helping out other young legends around Australia is your calling, you can kick off a Certificate IV in Youth Work while in iso. I know a bunch of youth workers and every one of them says that their job is challenging but super rewarding, so what better time than now?

Certificate IV in Mental Health is gonna be helpful if you want to kick off a career in the mental health sector, which is always keen to take on more support. If you do it and realise it’s not for you, at least you’ve got some skills to keep yourself and your friends and family’s mental health in check, too.

If iso is making you realise you’ve got a bit of a green thumb, keep the gloves on and try out a Certificate III in Horticulture. Worst case, you might learn how to not kill all your indoor plants.

South Australia

Divided into metropolitan and regional courses, South Australia has a selection of courses available on-campus and on & off-campus at TAFE, subsidised by the state government. Unfortunately, none of the online-only courses have been subsidised at the time of writing, so please make sure you’re maintaining social distancing when you’re out and about for classes and study.

Thinking about making the leap post-COVID-19 and finally starting that new business? Small Business Financial Planning is probably good to know and learn, so you don’t blow all your money on something trivial.

Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) and Liquor Licensing is ALWAYS a good one to keep updated and refreshed on. You’ll legit never know when you’ll suddenly need to jump behind the bar at a sports club preso or something and can serve booze both responsibly and legally.

WordPress can be a fickle beast to wrangle and tame, so if you’re looking to start a new website through that content management system (CMS), whip through a Create a Business Website with WordPress short course before you begin.

Introduction to Shearing and Wool-Handling. Nothing witty or cute to write about this, it’s just great and makes me want to bail from the city and live a simple life with lanolin-soft hands in the country.

Queensland

Asking the question “why isolate, when you can isolearn?” QLD TAFE has provided a bunch of free skill sets and hour-long micro-credentials available on subsidy for eligible Queenslanders, including mental health, communication technology, and intro to hospitality.

If the shutdown has you thinking about your co-workers and friends’ mental health, maybe a Mental Health Peer Work is something you can take on to help out in the virtual (and physical) office down the track.

Community Care is all about communicating respectfully with clients and colleagues, and people in general, really.

Sticking with my sudden desire to bugger off and live in the country, an Introduction to Farm Labouring is all about learning the basics of horticulture and agriculture, including machinery, chemical handling, and weed control while protecting the environment.

Health Service Support is a good entry-level course if you’re looking to get into the health sector. The course has a focus on respect toward diverse communities, especially Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Other Courses

Other companies are also doing free courses nation-wide. Coursera are doing free courses until the July 31, according to their blog, including courses like Algorithms from Princeton Uni, and Successful Negotiation. Pretty schmick stuff to learn if you wanna get ahead of the business game.

Online upskilling site Udemy is also offering free courses during the COVID-19 crisis. Head here to check ’em out, they’ve got great stuff like coding for gaming, HTML5 and CSS3, and Adobe classes.

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Image: Tribeca Film