HUNTER school leavers still deciding on tertiary options and residents looking for a career change have been urged to study areas of skills shortages.
TAFE NSW regional general manager Marie Larkings, who oversees the area from Gosford to Kingscliff, said there was "really strong demand from industry" for employees trained in community services, health care, early childhood and traditional trades including building.
"In a lot of caring industries there is turnover of staff and so they need to keep up with the right number of trained people to backfill those jobs," Ms Larkings said.
"There is work out there and there is jobs growth.
"No-one is ever guaranteed a job, but we have high uptake of students with these qualifications."
She said many are offered employment after work placement they complete as part of their studies.
Ms Larkings said prospective students may be eligible for government subsidies if their qualification is on the NSW Skills List.
Students may also be eligible for fee-free traineeships.
She said TAFE should be seen as a Plan A, not a Plan B to university.
"People think the only way to a well paid job is through a degree, but a lot of vocational areas can earn just as much," she said.
"It's about demand and there is demand for vocational skills.
"Vocational training is a big part of the workforce mix and can get you a job that pays as well and allows you to earn money quicker."
Ms Larkings said at TAFE, students could access training face to face, online, a mix, or from Connected Learning Centres in Scone and Singleton - and eventually Tomaree - where they can connect to teachers in other locations.
Ms Larkings declined to provide the number of students enrolled for 2020, saying the organisation is still registering students.
Most will commence in February.
Despite upheaval since the state government opened the market up beyond TAFE to a range of registered training providers, she said "we have not seen any decline - our enrolments are really strong" compared to recent years.
TAFE will host information sessions and campus tours next as part of InfoFest, from January 20 to 24.