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Why You Should Offer VET Funding Courses and How to Get Started

Are you an aspiring RTO eager to unlock the secrets of VET-funding-supported courses in Australia? Look no further. This comprehensive guide is custom-crafted to empower RTOs like yours with deep insights into the dynamic world of VET funding, explaining why it’s crucial, how it operates, and how you can leverage these opportunities for the growth and success of your organisation.

What is VET Funding?

VET-funding-supported programs, a collaborative effort between the Australian government and state governments, aims to financially support courses that equip students with skills and qualifications demanded by high-growth industries. It manifests in three primary forms:

  • Fee-Free Programs: These programs alleviate students from tuition expenses, with the government covering the full costs. Typically, these programs align with high-priority courses that cater to the economy’s evolving skill needs. For instance, in Victoria, eligible students can access fee-free courses through the Free TAFE initiative.
  • Lower-Fee Courses: Lower-fee courses offer students a path to gaining essential skills for in-demand industries while only covering half of the standard course fees. These cost-effective courses are available through TAFE colleges and selected private training providers, reaching various states, such as Western Australia.
  • Government-Subsidised Courses: These courses entail partial financial assistance from the government, leading to reduced fees for students. The specific subsidy and fee structures vary based on factors like state, qualification level, student status, and provider. In New South Wales, eligible students can access low-fee courses through the Smart and Skilled program.

Unlocking VET Funding Opportunities for RTOs

While these VET funding primarily benefits students, it opens doors of opportunity for your RTO as well. Here’s how:

  • Diversified Course Portfolio: By incorporating VET funding-supported programs into your course offerings, you diversify your RTO’s portfolio. Whether it’s catering to the hospitality, healthcare, or construction sectors, this diversification allows you to meet a broader range of learner needs.
  • Increased Enrolments: VET funding-supported courses are highly sought after for their cost-effectiveness. Despite a slight decrease from the previous year, the 2022 report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) noted over 1.1 million learners enrolled in government-funded VET courses. This demand often results in increased enrolments, boosting your RTO’s reputation and revenue ultimately creating more opportunities to make a positive impact on your community.
  • Community Empowerment: Remember, RTOs are not just training institutions; they are engines of community empowerment. Delivering VET funding-supported courses positions your RTO as a catalyst for skill development within your local community. Your efforts empower individuals to gain valuable qualifications, opening doors to meaningful careers and contributions to society.
  • Additional Financial Backing: Participating in VET funding programs provides your RTO with additional financial support. This boost ensures that you have the resources needed to maintain high training standards, be it for upgrading facilities, updating training materials, or enhancing the overall learning experience for your students.

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Navigating State-Specific VET Government Funding Programs

Australia’s commitment to building a highly skilled workforce relies heavily on state-specific VET funding programs. These initiatives play a pivotal role in delivering affordable, high-quality vocational education and training across the nation. Here’s a detailed look at state-specific VET funding programs, including insights into their objectives, eligibility criteria, and application procedures:

New South Wales – Smart and Skilled

Smart and Skilled aims to make training accessible and affordable for individuals while targeting skills gaps and aligning training with industry needs.

To participate, RTOs must meet specific criteria, including demonstrating financial viability, compliance with the Standards for RTOs 2015, and strict adherence to Smart and Skilled operating guidelines.

Becoming an approved Smart and Skilled provider involves submitting a comprehensive application through the Smart and Skilled website. This process entails showcasing your RTO’s capacity to deliver high-quality training aligned with program objectives.

Victoria – Skills First

Skills First prioritises student choice and quality training delivery, addressing skills gaps and promoting lifelong learning while stimulating economic growth within the state.

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.

Prospective Skills First providers must follow the outlined application process on the Skills First website, concluding with the signing of a Funding Agreement to formalise your commitment to delivering quality education and training.

Queensland – Skills Assure Supplier (SAS)

Skills Assure Supplier empowers eligible apprentices and trainees to select their preferred RTO, promoting workforce development and addressing skills shortages within the state.

To deliver SAS-funded training, RTOs must secure pre-qualification and demonstrate compliance with specific standards under the Skills Assure Supplier Policy 2021-2024, financial stability, and adherence to legislative and regulatory requirements.

How to Apply: As of the current period, the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business, and Training has not opened the general application process due to the broad range of existing SAS providers. However, they may invite RTOs to apply for SAS status if needed.

South Australia – Skills for All

Skills for All is committed to providing accessible training opportunities for South Australia’s residents, aiming to upskill the workforce, enhance employability, and stimulate economic growth.

RTOs interested in participating can use the Skills SA Check Provider Eligibility Tool to determine their qualification for funding. Accreditation from the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) or the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) is necessary, and compliance with program guidelines is crucial.

The State Government’s Skills for All website offers 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

Jobs and Skills WA serves as Western Australia’s dynamic funding program, strategically addressing the skill needs of the local workforce emphasising industry demand to ensure training meets current market requirements.

RTOs must meet specific requirements to qualify for participation in Jobs and Skills WA, including ASQA registration or TAC accreditation and compliance with the Jobs and Skills WA’s guidelines.

RTOs interested in becoming providers can initiate the application process by following the guidelines outlined on the Jobs and Skills WA website, thoroughly adhering to the application procedure for approval within Western Australia.

Tasmania – Skills Tasmania

Skills Tasmania is instrumental 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.

RTOs interested in delivering government-funded courses in Tasmania should consult the Train Now Fund guidelines for eligibility criteria, including ASQA registration, Skills Tasmania endorsement, and financial viability.

Comprehensive details 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

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.

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

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

Northern Territory – User Choice

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 training provider for their training needs. This program is crucial in addressing skill shortages and supporting workforce development within the territory.

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.

As of the current period, the User Choice funding for apprenticeship and traineeship in the Northern Territory is not accepting new applications. Be sure to stay informed about updates for future opportunities.

In Conclusion

VET funding plays a pivotal role in shaping a skilled and thriving workforce. For your RTO, it represents a gateway to numerous opportunities, from expanding your course offerings to experiencing increased enrolments and positively impacting your communities. Dive into VET funding with confidence, knowing you’re not just educating but also shaping the future of Australia’s workforce.

Keep in mind that eligibility criteria and application processes for state-specific programs may change, so it’s essential to stay updated by regularly checking the relevant government websites to ensure your successful participation in these valuable initiatives. Your journey toward success in VET begins with a profound understanding of funding opportunities, and this guide is your first step in that direction.

Put an end to the hassle of searching across various government platforms just to check which courses are VET-funded. Our team has meticulously compiled a list which we regularly update to help you save valuable time and effort. Stay informed about the latest opportunities and simplify your journey – complete the form now for instant access to our comprehensive spreadsheet.

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