The short answer is yes - they can!
Here's the long answer: Registered Home Educated students in NSW can access Smart & Skilled funded TAFE NSW courses from age 15. TAFE provides a really important and accessible pathway to tertiary study for many young people. TAFE are great at supporting their students, and it can be a really gentle entry point into institutionalised education, especially for students who had difficult school experiences or who have extra learning needs. Tafe is an 'adult learning environment' which give a lot more freedom of self control to the students; sometimes young people find this learning environment suits them better than school.
Home schooled students do not follow the same enrolment process as students under 17 leaving mainstream school to enrol in TAFE. If you are wanting to enrol your 15-17 year old home educated student in TAFE, here's what you need to know to make the process as smooth as possible:
Enrol in person at the campus, rather than online (the online system is designed for 17+ years old)
Enrol in TAFE Digital (online TAFE) by phone.
Show a current certificate of registration for homeschooling. The registration must continue for the full period of the course (if it expires part way through, you can contact email@example.com (for more information).
Attend Information Sessions. They are a good way to find out about the course, and meet teachers.
If you are applying for a concession or fee exemption, you need to provide evidence to confirm fee status.
Maintain your Home Education Registration. You can be both registered for home education and enrolled in a TAFE course. In fact - you need to be registered in order to access the Smart & Skilled funding.
Include the TAFE course as part of your student's education plan (i.e. it's not an extra in addition to a full study load)
Help your student to work out which course is suitable for them. Many home educated students successfully enter at Cert 3 or 4 level.
You do not need to provide a certificate of completion for year 10
You do not need to provide a letter to TAFE 'signing off' the student or otherwise giving permission to not attend school or any kind of letter of permission from NESA
You do not have to meet with an under 17s counsellor
You do not have to undertake tests
Smart and Skilled factsheet for home schooled students:
Students aged 16 and over may also be eligible for the current fee-free job trainer short courses. To access this program you must enrol before September 2021. You can find more information about that program here: https://www.tafensw.edu.au/jobtrainer#eligibility
If your enrolment process at TAFE isn't going smoothly, the HEA may be able to help. For support, email: firstname.lastname@example.org