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Navigating VET Government Funding: How to Be a Funded Course Provider

State-specific VET Funding Programs in Australia

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When it comes to the Australian vocational education and training (VET) sector, VET funding takes centre stage as a critical driver of accessibility and affordability. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deeper into the world of VET funding, exploring its significance, nuances, and the exciting opportunities it presents for your RTO.


Plus, enter your details below for access to our handy, consolidated list of government funded courses, updated monthly! Typically this information can only be gathered by scouring each state government website, so we’ve compiled the data into one, easy to use spreadsheet that’s kept up to date.

Get Access to Our Exclusive Government-Subsidised Course List!


Understanding VET Funding

The Australian government and state government provide financial assistance for courses that provide students with skills and qualifications for in-demand jobs and careers. There are three types, namely fee-free courses, lower-free courses, and government-subsidised courses.

Fee-Free Courses

Fee-free courses are those that are fully subsidised by the government, meaning that the learners do not have to pay any tuition fees for the course, while the government pays the full cost to the provider. Fee-free funding is usually available for priority courses aligned with the skills needs of the economy and society. For example, in Victoria, fee-free courses are available for eligible students through Free TAFE for Priority Courses.

Lower-Fees Courses

Lower fee-courses offer an excellent opportunity for students to gain vital skills required for high-demand industries without breaking the bank. Thanks to this program, learners can secure a nationally recognised and accredited qualification while paying only half the regular course fees. These cost-effective courses are made available through TAFE colleges and select private training providers, ensuring availability across various states, including Western Australia.

Government-Subsidised Courses

Meanwhile, government-subsidised courses are those that are partially subsidised by the government, meaning that the student pays a reduced fee for the course while the government pays the rest of the cost to the provider. The amount of subsidy and fee may vary depending on the state, the qualification level, the learner status, and the provider. For example, in New South Wales, low-fee courses are available for eligible students through Smart and Skilled.

Why Your RTO Should Embrace VET Funding Opportunities

While it may seem like these financial assistance programs primarily benefit students, becoming a fee-free or low-fee course provider also open opportunities for your RTO, such as:

Diversified Course Offerings

Expanding your RTO’s course offerings to include VET funding-supported courses is like spreading your training wings. It opens doors to serve a broader, more diverse audience. Whether it’s hospitality, healthcare, or construction, offering these courses allows you to diversify your programs and meet the diverse needs of potential students.

Increased Enrolments

VET funding-supported courses are in high demand due to their affordability. In 2022, a National Centre for Vocational Education Research report noted that 1 196 535 learners enroled in government-funded VET courses. This significant level of demand often leads to increased enrolments, translating into a boost in your RTO’s revenue and reputation. More students enroling means more opportunities to impact your community positively.

Community Impact

RTOs don’t just provide education; they uplift communities. By delivering VET funding-supported courses, you become a catalyst for skills development within your local community. Your efforts help individuals acquire valuable qualifications, empowering them to embark on fulfilling careers and contribute meaningfully to society.

Additional Funding

Participating in VET funding programs is about more than just expanding your course offerings or increasing enrolments. It’s also about financial support. These programs often provide additional funding to RTOs, ensuring you have the resources needed to maintain high-quality training standards. This economic boost can be instrumental in improving your facilities, updating your training materials, and enhancing the overall learning experience for your students.

Unlocking Opportunities: State-Specific VET Funding Programs

Australia’s commitment to fostering a highly skilled and adaptable workforce rests on the foundation of state-specific VET funding programs. These programs are pivotal in ensuring that individuals nationwide can access affordable, high-quality vocational education and training. The next section will discuss the intricacies of State-specific VET funding initiatives, offering in-depth insights into their purpose, eligibility criteria, and application processes.

1. New South Wales – Smart and Skilled

Overview: Smart and Skilled program is New South Wales’ premier VET funding program, designed to provide individuals with affordable and accessible training options. It operates to address skills shortages and align training with industry needs.

Eligibility: RTOs aspiring to participate in Smart and Skilled must meet specific criteria. These include demonstrating financial viability, compliance with the Standards for RTOs 2015 and strict adherence to Smart and Skilled operating guidelines. Meeting these requirements ensures that RTOs are well-equipped to deliver training aligned with program objectives.

Application: As of now, the application portal for the 2023-24 Financial Cap Review is officially closed, and the department is no longer accepting submissions.

Victoria – Skills First

Overview: Skills First is Victoria’s cornerstone in VET funding, strongly emphasising student choice and quality training delivery. The program addresses skills gaps, promotes lifelong learning, and drives economic growth within the state.

Eligibility: RTOs seeking participation in Skills First Funding must meet specific prerequisites, including registration with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and strict compliance with VRQA’s standards and guidelines. These requirements ensure that RTOs maintain the highest standards of training delivery.

Application: Prospective Skills First providers must navigate the application process outlined on the Skills First website. The process culminates in signing a Funding Agreement, formalising the commitment to delivering quality education and training.

Queensland – Skills Assure Supplier

Overview: Queensland’s strategic approach to funding apprenticeship and traineeship training is Skills Assure Supplier (SAS) . It empowers eligible apprentices and trainees to select their preferred RTO, promoting workforce development and addressing skills shortages within the state.

Eligibility: To deliver SAS-funded training, RTOs must secure pre-qualification by the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business, and Training. This pre-qualification process involves meeting specific standards under the Skills Assure Supplier Policy 2021-24, such as demonstrating financial stability and providing evidence of compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements. Pre-qualification ensures that RTOs are well-equipped to deliver high-quality training.

Application: Sadly, the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business, and Training decided not to open the general application process in 2022-23 due to the broad range of existing SAS providers in the territory. However, the department may invite RTOs to apply for SAS status if needed.

South Australia – Skills for All

Overview: Skills for All is South Australia’s commitment to providing accessible training opportunities for its residents. This funding initiative aims to upskill the workforce, enhance employability, and stimulate economic growth.

Eligibility: RTOs interested in participating in Skills for All can use the Skills SA Check Provider Eligibility Tool to determine whether they are qualified for the funding. Accreditation from the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) or the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) is necessary. Compliance with program guidelines ensures that RTOs deliver training of the highest standard.

Application: The State Government’s Skills for All website provides comprehensive information regarding eligibility and application procedures. RTOs are encouraged to review and follow the outlined procedures to become approved providers within South Australia’s VET landscape.

Western Australia – Jobs and Skills WA

Overview: Jobs and Skills WA serves as Western Australia’s dynamic funding program, strategically addressing the skill needs of the local workforce. It strongly emphasises industry demand, ensuring that training meets current market requirements.

Eligibility: RTOs must meet specific requirements to qualify for participation in Jobs and Skills WA. These criteria include ASQA registration or TAC accreditation and compliance with the Jobs and Skills WA’s guidelines. These prerequisites guarantee that RTOs can provide high-quality training.

Application: RTOs interested in becoming Jobs and Skills WA providers can initiate the application process by following the guidelines outlined on the Jobs and Skills WA website. Thoroughly adhering to the application procedure is pivotal to becoming an approved provider within Western Australia.

Tasmania – Skills Tasmania

Overview: Skills Tasmania is essential in advancing skills development and workforce training in the picturesque territory of Tasmania. It aims to help learners gain the skills needed to meet the demands of evolving industries. Skills Tasmania offers various VET funding programs like the Train Now Fund.

Eligibility: RTOs interested in delivering government-funded courses in Tasmania should consult the Train Now Fund guidelines for eligibility criteria. These criteria may include ASQA registration, Skills Tasmania endorsement, and financial viability. Meeting these criteria is essential to ensure RTOs are well-prepared to deliver high-quality training in Tasmania.

Application: Detailed information about the application process, including specific steps and requirements, can be obtained through Skills Tasmania. RTOs should closely follow these procedures to become approved providers and contribute to Tasmania’s skilled workforce.

Australian Capital Territory – Skills Canberra

Overview: Skills Canberra is the primary agency under the Australian Capital Territory responsible for providing and managing VET funding programs like User Choice and Skilled Capital. It aims to deliver subsidised training to eligible students. User Choice funding subsidises the cost of an Australian Apprenticeship, while Skilled Capital offers subsidies for some skill sets and certificate II to diploma qualifications.

Eligibility: RTOs interested in receiving government funding through Skills Canberra must be ASQA- or VRQA-registered. Also, interested RTOs should apply for the Training Initiative Funding Agreement and comply with the ACT Quality Framework. Compliance with the Quality Framework is necessary to promote excellence, transparency and quality in the VET sector in the Australian Capital Territory.

Application: The Skills Canberra website provides detailed information on eligibility and application procedures. For Skilled Capital Funding, RTOs need to fill up the Expression of Interest Response Form and email it to Skills Canberra. Meanwhile, RTOs applying for User Choice must complete the RTO nomination form.

As of the present moment, Skills Canberra is no longer receiving submissions as the application period has concluded.

Northern Territory – User Choice

Overview: The User Choice program in the Northern Territory is a strategic approach to funding apprenticeship and traineeship training. It empowers eligible apprentices and trainees to select their preferred RTO for their training needs. This program is crucial in addressing skill shortages and supporting workforce development within the territory.

Eligibility: RTOs interested in participating in the User Choice program must undergo a pre-qualification process managed by the Department of Trade, Business, and Innovation. This process involves meeting specific criteria within the User Choice Funding Policy, demonstrating financial stability, and providing evidence of compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements. Pre-qualification ensures that RTOs are well-equipped to deliver high-quality training.

Application: As of writing, the User Choice funding for apprenticeship and traineeship in the Northern Territory is not accepting new applications.

Remember, these state-specific funding programs’ eligibility criteria and application processes may change. You should regularly check the relevant government websites for updates and ensure you meet all the requirements to participate in these programs successfully.


VET funding is not just about education; it’s about shaping a skilled and thriving workforce. For RTOs like yours, it represents a world of opportunities, from expanding your course offerings to experiencing increased enrolments and positively impacting your communities. Dive into VET funding with confidence, knowing that you’re educating and shaping the future of Australia’s workforce.

Want a hassle-free way to check the complete list of government-subsidised courses? Say goodbye to searching through multiple government sites! Our dedicated team has done the work for you and compiled a comprehensive VET funding list that gets updated regularly, saving you valuable time and effort. This resource keeps you in the loop with the latest opportunities, giving your RTO a competitive edge. Fill in the form now and gain instant access to our up-to-date spreadsheet – because staying informed has never been this easy!

Get Access to Our Exclusive Government-Subsidised Course Sheet!

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