NEW courses are set to help combat the region's shortage of social housing and community service workers.
Additional Certificate IV in Social Housing and Certificate IV and Diploma of Community Services will be offered by TAFE NSW at its Tamworth and Gunnedah campuses to help fill the void.
The nationally accredited courses will include a variety of face-to-face learning, as well as flexible online study.
TAFE NSW regional general manager Kate Baxter said the sectors were likely forecast to "to have the biggest employment increase in regional NSW over the next three years."
"The Certificate IV in Social Housing, Certificate IV and Diploma of Community Services are nationally recognised courses that will equip students with the skills that they need to be employed to deliver social housing and a range of services to the community," Ms Baxter said.
"TAFE NSW are committed to providing regional places like Tamworth and Gunnedah with opportunities to upskill with experienced industry professionals."
TAFE NSW community services head teacher Scott Sears said the courses would commence in August.
"Successful completion of these courses can lead to crucial community service roles, such as a client services officer, youth case worker, mental health support worker or an alcohol and other drugs worker - just to name a few," Mr Sears said.
"It doesn't matter where people are living in the region, they will now have the opportunity to learn from a range of experienced teachers and industry experts at TAFE NSW.
"Students will get the job-ready skills they need by accessing a mixture of flexible online study, face-to-face workshops, and work experience at a range of regional service partners."
The courses will come after a Business NSW report forecast a potential 30 per cent drop in apprentices employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Business NSW regional manager Joe Townsend said additonal government support was needed in the training sector to avoid a further regional skills shortage.
"COVID-19 has had a huge impact on businesses, with many still willing but incapable of providing trading opportunist," Mr Townsend said.
"Taking action now will help the current and future generations of young people gain the skills they need to avoid a life on welfare.
"We can't leave it five years before doing anything. By then, it will be far too late."