Government Funded Courses and Subsidised Training

Government Funded Courses and Subsidised Training

In Australia, both state and federal governments are committed to filling skill gaps in industries that lack a qualified workforce. To do this, they offer incentives and funding options for students who wish to qualify in those in-demand skills. 

Government funded and subsidised courses help reduce Australia’s skills shortages while also allowing students to become qualified and enter the job market without the usual financial hurdles associated with training and education. 

If you’re interested in pursuing government subsidised training, or even fee-free training, we discuss everything you need to know in this article, including eligibility requirements and courses available. 

What are government funded courses? 

Government funded courses are a way to upskill and gain a qualification without the usual financial hurdles associated with study. These courses are often offered in industries with skills shortages to incentivise students to pursue qualifications that meet gaps in the workforce. 

If you apply and are accepted into a government funded course, you can study with subsidised tuition fees, or even for free. This means you can grow your skills and enter the workforce without having to struggle with the financial side of pursuing a qualification. And because most government funded courses are in industries with a skills shortage, it’s typically easy to find employment afterwards as there’s a lack of qualified workers. 

In summary, government funded courses make it easier to gain a qualification and find a full-time job by reducing financial hurdles associated with study and preparing you for employment in a high-demand industry. 

How can I enrol in a government funded course?

TAFE institutes and registered training providers (RTOs) offer numerous government subsidised training courses. These include Certificate level courses as well as Diplomas. To enrol in a government funded course, you’ll have to check the current funding schemes in your state and whether you meet the eligibility criteria. 

Below, we have outlined popular government funding schemes in Australia, including the eligibility criteria and (where available) courses offered.

What are the different government subsidised training schemes in Australia? 

Depending on where you live, different options are available for government funded study. Below are some programs available to Australians who wish to earn a subsidised nationally recognised qualification.

Smart and Skilled (NSW)

Skills First (VIC)

Certificate 3 Guarantee (QLD)

Skilling South Australia (SA)

Jobs and Skills (WA)

Skilled Capital (ACT)

Smart and Skilled (NSW) 

The Smart and Skilled program offers students in New South Wales the opportunity to gain skills with subsidised courses. Those who are eligible can pursue up to and including a Certificate III, and in certain priority courses can pursue a Certificate IV and higher.

Through the Smart and Skilled program, students pay between 10-45% of the course cost with the NSW Government subsidising the rest. The total amount you pay might be dependent on your previous qualifications. 

Eligible students must be:

  • Aged 15+
  • Living or working in NSW
  • An Australian citizen, permanent resident, or humanitarian visa holder, or a NZ citizen. 

The types of course you can apply for will depend on your eligibility and prior qualifications. You can check your eligibility now to start seeing what courses you can apply for. 

Skills First (VIC)

The Skills First program in Victoria provides government funded vocational education and training (VET) to eligible students. These include Certificate courses as well as Diplomas in varying industries including business, construction, community services, healthcare, hospitality, and more.

Skills First course costs will depend on the type of training course you are pursuing, the training provider, and your eligibility. To find out how much a course is subsidised, you need to speak with the training provider or relevant government agency. 

Eligible students must be: 

  • Aged 20+
  • Living or working in Victoria
  • An Australian citizen, permanent resident, or humanitarian visa holder, or a NZ citizen. 

The types of courses you can apply for will depend on your current qualifications, eligibility, and availability of courses. The first step is to check your eligibility to see what courses you can start applying for.

Certificate 3 Guarantee (QLD)

Queensland’s Certificate 3 Guarantee subsidises Certificate III courses for those who are eligible. The aim is to create more opportunities for people to gain entry-level qualifications in growing industries. Funding is provided for: 

  • The first Certificate III qualification gained after high school
  • Necessary pathways to a Certificate III (e.g. Certificate I or II, or foundation skills training including language, literacy, and numeracy)
  • All Certificate III courses in priority areas for Year 12 leavers.

Student contributions to the course will depend on the subsidy and total course cost. Subsidies are fixed and paid directly to the registered training organisations (RTOs) but course costs can vary depending on the training provider. High priority courses typically have higher subsidies, meaning students pay less. 

Those who are pursuing a Certificate III within one year of finishing Year 12 may be able to have all their course fees covered and earn a free qualification. Students with healthcare or pension concessions and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders may also receive higher subsidies.

Eligible students must be: 

  • QLD residents 
  • Aged 15+ 
  • Left or finished high school 
  • Never enrolled in a Certificate III or earned a higher level qualification (unless gained at high school), 
  • Australia or NZ citizen, Australian permanent resident, temporary resident on the way to permanent residency with the necessary visa and work permits, or humanitarian visa holder. 

To see the full list of courses you can enrol in and the available subsidies, click here. Check your eligibility to start applying for funding

Skilling South Australia (SA) 

The Skilling South Australia program offers subsidised funding for traineeships as well as some priority qualifications. The aim is to incentivise enrolments in high-demand industries like cyber security, tourism and social care. 

Eligible students can enrol in more than 700 subsidised apprenticeships and a selection of high priority courses in in-demand skills. To see the full list of available apprenticeships and qualifications, check the Subsidised Training List here.

To be eligible, you must be:

  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident, a NZ citizen, or hold and eligible visa AND aged 16+ AND not enrolled in high school, OR 
  • Aged 16+, in high school and training through the Training Guarantee for SACE students (TGSS), OR
  • Training through a training contract. 

To apply, start by checking your eligibility here.

Jobs and Skills (WA)

This program provides subsidies for various qualifications and training in both high priority and non-priority areas as well as traineeships. Eligible students can access funding for 150 heavily subsidised priority courses, numerous courses in non-priority areas, and various traineeships. 

The full list of high priority qualifications can be found on the WA Government Course list and information on subsidised traineeships can be found on the Jobs and Skills website.

Eligible students must be:

  • Australian citizens or permanent residents, NZ citizens, hold an eligible visa, or be a dependent or spouse of a visa holder
  • Live in WA
  • Have left school. 

To apply, check your eligibility here.

Skilled Capital (ACT)

The Skilled Capital program provides various funding opportunities for qualifications, including Certificates, Diplomas, and Advanced Diploma. Qualifications must be delivered by approved RTOs and listed under the ACT Skills Needs list. 

Eligible students must be: 

  • Aged 15+
  • Living or working in the ACT
  • Left school
  • Australian citizens or permanent residents, or NZ passport holder residents for over six months, or eligible visa holders, 
  • Not attending or enrolled in secondary school or college, unless taking Year 12 in an alternative program or have an Exemption Certificate and choose a qualification in an approved ASBA pathway.

This eligibility has some limitations:

  • You cannot receive a subsidy for a qualification you completed in the last 7 years
  • You can only receive funding for one qualification at a time. 

Those who are seeking a Certificate II subsidy must also undergo an initial skills assessment by the training provider, including language, literacy, and numeracy (LLN), proving that the Certificate II is an appropriate learning pathway for their skill levels. As well as this, they must not have completed a Certificate III or above, except for foundation skills qualifications, OR, their circumstances have changed and impacted their ability to work or undertake training. 

To see the full list of available subsidised qualifications, click here. This list also shows how much funding you can receive for different courses. 

If you’d like to start applying for low cost training with Skilled Capital, the first step is to review the approved qualifications in the list above and find an approved training provider to study with. 

Am I eligible for a government funded course? 

Eligibility for government funded courses will depend on the state, training provider, course, and qualification level. The best way to find out if you’re eligible for a government subsidised course is to contact the relevant authority in your state. 

We have listed different government funded training options above, including their eligibility criteria, so that is a good place to start. In most cases, subsidised training is available if you are:

  • Over 15 years old
  • An Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, or humanitarian visa holder, or a New Zealand citizen.

How much does the government subsidise courses?

The amount a course will be subsidised depends on the state where you live, the training provider, the course you’re applying for, the qualification level, and how well you meet the eligibility criteria. 

In some cases, the government may cover the full cost of the training. In others, you may share part of the costs. The only way to find out for certain is to check your eligibility with the relevant government agency, training provider, or funding scheme.  

What are some government funded courses in Australia? 

Government subsidised courses are available in various industries across different qualification levels, from Certificates to Advanced Diplomas. Some courses are available at TAFE while others can be completed with Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). 

The exact courses offered will vary depending on the state, however popular government funded courses in Australia include:


Nadia H.

Nadia H. is a versatile content writer with a passion for education, pets, and food. With a flair for crafting engaging and informative articles and blogs, she brings her expertise to a variety of topics. As an educationist, she understands the importance of knowledge-sharing and aims to create content that enlightens and inspires.