The Australian government is dedicated to eradicating the country’s skills shortage. A critical part of the plan is to provide a variety of funding options and incentives for students of all ages.
There are a number of government funded courses available from TAFE institutes and universities across Australia. Many of these are typically at a Diploma level or above, however, there are a number of options and assistance packages available for qualifications in a Certificate level.
There’s also a number of Government incentive and student programs, which offer subsidies and loan sums to eligible students. These can vary on a state level, so it’s best to check out the Government’s MySkills website to check out the full list.
What is Government Funding?
The Australian Government – both state and federal – are committed to building the skill set of the Australian workforce. Providing high-quality training and skill-building to Australians sits at the forefront of government responsibility, as it is essential that the Australian workforce remains upskilled and future-proof across every industry area, with qualifications at both certificate and diploma level.
As a result of this, the Australian Government has extensive funding options in place, to incentivise and encourage students to participate in training and courses that as subsidised.
This means that for selected courses, the government covers a substantial portion of the course and training costs.
What are the different government funding options in Australia?
The government funding schemes available are:
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The Smart and Skilled scheme – a reform of the NSW Vocational Education and Training (VET) System – is a subsidised initiative for training by the NSW Government that offers eligible students the chance to acquire the skill set they need to enter and progress within the workforce.
Qualification levels that qualify for subsidy go up to and include training courses Certificate III, with Certificate IV and above (Diploma and Advanced Diploma) qualifying in selected priority areas.
The Certificate III Guarantee offers eligible Queenslanders the opportunity to take up government-subsidised training for their first certificate III level qualification in targeted priority areas. The scheme also focuses on supporting students who may need assistance in developing some skills areas before commencing a Certificate III course, with foundation skills including language, literacy and numeracy, along with Certificate I and II qualifications that lead to the Certificate III included in the initiative.
South Australian government program ‘Skilling South Australia’ is a Vocational Education and Training (VET) initiative that offers funding towards training, employment and skills. The initiative aims to invest in targeted education for high priority industry areas and provide funding for traineeships, in order to fill skills gaps in the Australian workforce and cater to emerging job opportunities.
Queensland’s Higher Level Skills initiative offers eligible participants with the opportunity to undertake one subsidised qualification at Certificate IV and above (in targeted priority areas). This program is designed to help participants acquire the necessary skill sets needed to enter into the workforce or progress their career, within selected priority industry areas.
This scheme also gives employers the ability to implement approved training to help contribute to workforce advancement.
The Jobs and Skills program in Western Australia is government investment in specialised training to help prepare individuals with the abilities needed to meet current and future industry and employer demands. The scheme offers eligible participants government-subsidised training for State Priority areas in Western Australia. State Priority training consists of 150 qualifications and many traineeships.
Australian Apprenticeships (User Choice) is the ACT’s national policy scheme that assists in the progress of distributing funding to Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). The initiative has been created to ensure that Vocational Education & Training (VET) is more active in satisfying both workforce and industry needs. User Choice funding is given directly to the related RTO.
User Choice collaborates with Australian Apprenticeships, to ensure that employers, apprentices, and trainees can:
Traineeships – Existing worker
This program is for those who are already been employed in their industry for more than three months in a full-time position (or 12 months at part-time), and is subject to preexisting qualifications. If eligible, participants may qualify for Commonwealth incentives of up to $3000 (up to $1,500 for part-time), paid directly to employers.
Traineeships – New entrant
This initiative is available to participants who have been employed for under three months in a full-time position (or 12 months at part-time), and is subject to preexisting qualifications. If eligible, participants may qualify for Commonwealth incentives of up to $4000 (up to $1,500 for part-time), paid directly to employers.
Government funded education and training courses are available to Australian citizens or permanent residents who are over 15 years old. Funding is primarily aimed at job seekers but is also available for those who are employed, as evident by the programs available. In some cases the full course fees are covered, some are subsidised, and others only an enrollment fee is required.
It depends on the course, the qualification level and the provider. Requirements may differ from state to state, so it’s best to contact the relevant authorities to find out about the differences in government funded training in QLD, Victoria, and NSW, etc.
How do I know if I am eligible for government funding?
To be eligible for government funding within Australia, you must be either an Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident that is a holder of a permanent visa or a New Zealand Passport holder that has been living in Australia for over six months. Additional participation requirements and eligibility criteria are subject to the individual schemes and differ in the levels of intricacies.
Types of Government Funding in Australia
VET Student Loan Program
Replacing the previous VET FEE-HELP in January 2017, it sets out approved courses and providers which offer loans to eligible students. Mainly at Diploma level or above.
Australian Apprenticeships Incentive Scheme
Provides incentives for existing worker traineeships and traineeships for new entrants. New entrant incentives are greater than those for existing workers.
Productivity Places Program
711,000 training places are to be introduced over five years, to ensure people have the ability to upgrade their skills or training in areas of skill shortage.
Investing in Experience
Skills Recognition and Training: Provides funding to mature students (over 50 years old) and allows mature workers to upgrade their skills to Advanced Diplomas.
Popular TAFE Courses
If you want to start your journey, check out some of most popular TAFE courses in Australia
Government funded courses are available from Certificates to Advanced Diploma levels throughout TAFE Australia-wide. In some cases, courses will be funded by state government departments (e.g. the Departments of Education in QLD, NSW, and Victoria), while others receive Federal Government funding. Online and classroom-based courses are both funded by the Government in some instances. You’ll find at least one government-funded course in the majority of industries.
Below are some courses that are often government funded, however, this can differ on a state level so make sure you do your research first. These courses are also some of the most popular:
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