Victorian TAFEs must up their game to keep pace with skyrocketing interest in the state government's free qualifications scheme.
That's the message of Victoria's auditor-general after a review of five institutions following the introduction of free TAFE.
Fifty courses are being fully subsidised as part of a skills drive.
But the audit has criticised TAFE enrolment processes as uncoordinated, rigid and inefficient.
While the majority of students haven't experience difficulties getting into courses, the report calls on institutions to minimise burdensome bureaucracy.
Five providers - the Box Hill Institute, Melbourne Polytechnic, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, Swinburne University of Technology and William Angliss Institute of TAFE - were examined by the auditor-general.
The education department also copped criticism for onerous requirements placed on free TAFE providers.
They must assess prospective students' literacy and numeracy skills but this has led to previous qualifications being disregarded.
"Conducting literacy and numeracy tests is resource intensive for TAFEs and can be an unnecessary use of prospective students' time, especially those with previously demonstrated capabilities," the report said.
It called on the department to explain how TAFEs can take into account school certifications and other qualifications.
Subsidised enrolments across Victoria's TAFEs dropped from 211,812 in 2012 to 86,065 last year.
A $172 million program was announced in 2018 to get more students into areas including disability, community services and youth work, as well as pre-apprenticeship courses.
By January, more than 80,000 Victorians had put their hands up for a free qualification.