Who is eligible for government funded courses?

Thanks to schemes such as the Victorian government’s Skills First funding (among many others), it’s now possible to enrol in government funded vocational training in Melbourne.

And for some courses in high-demand fields, you’ll be able to complete your course for free!

Here at Academia, we offer a wide range of government funded courses online. That means eligible domestic students can enrol in childcare, aged care, commercial cookery and more without having to pay a cent!

Of course, this raises the question of who’s eligible for government funded courses.

So, who is eligible for government funded courses?

If you’re thinking of applying for the program, you’ll first need to look at your…


Eligibility in the subsidised training begins with looking at your citizenship.

For you to be eligible in the course, you will need to be either:

  • An Australian permanent resident
  • An Australian citizen
  • A New Zealand citizen

And that includes non-Victorian students as well – interstate applicants are more than welcome to apply (assuming you meet the other eligibility criteria, that is!)


If you’re aged under 20 years old as of January 1, 2020, you are eligible to take the subsidised training in 2020 – in short, this includes most recent year 12 graduates or school leavers.

And if you’re over 20 years old, don’t worry, you can still take advantage of subsidised training – with a caveat, however.

If you’re over 20, you’ll only qualify depending on your…

Previous qualifications

Those over the age of 20 can still qualify for government funded courses on the condition that they’re enrolling in a course that will lead to them obtaining a higher qualification than their current highest level of training.

That means if your current highest qualification is a Certificate III, you’ll be eligible for Certificate IVs and Diplomas.

By contrast however, if you currently hold a Certificate IV in aged care and want to switch to the childcare industry, you won’t be able to apply for a government funded Certificate-level course.

International students and asylum seekers

Unless you hail from New Zealand, international students are not eligible for subsidised training.

Don’t worry, there are other options! A range of student assistance programs are available to international students who need assistance for rent, food, or jobs.

And for asylum seekers, there’s subsidised training available through the Asylum seeker VET program.

Employment status

Retrenched workers and employees leaving certain industries are automatically eligible for government funding.

  • Workers facing retrenchment are eligible for government funded courses to help them transition into other industries
  • Likewise, automotive workers specifically are also eligible owing to the end of the car industry in Victoria
  • The LaTrobe Valley Initiative is targeted towards workers put out of work by the decommissioning and closure of the Hazelwood coal-fired plant

If you fall into one of these categories, you may qualify for a government funded course to help you find new work.

Exclusions and exemptions

So you meet one (or more) of the eligibility criteria – however, there are some exemptions you should investigate too.

For example, people who are in prison are not eligible for government funded training, regardless of any other criteria they may fill.

To learn more about the exemptions and exclusions, you can check the VET Funding Contracts.

Preparing for your application

Get your paperwork in order

As mentioned above, one of the criteria for government funded training is that you’re enrolling in a course that’s a higher level than your current highest qualification (if you’re over 20 as of 1/1/2020, that is).

And as part of that, you’ll need your previous academic transcript for reference.

If you don’t have copies, the institution you graduated from may be able to help you.

Assess yourself with eligibility checker

Assessing yourself based on the eligibility checker lets you find out early whether you qualify for government-subsidised training.

As listed above, the eligibility checker runs through each of the requirements:

  • Citizenship
  • Age
  • Student status
  • Exemptions and exclusions

While it’s only a preliminary result, it can still point you in the right direction!

Contact your training provider

The next thing to do is to contact your training provider directly to double-check and confirm if your eligibility for government funded training.

Not only will this help determine your eligibility, but it’ll also give you an opportunity to ask our friendly course advisors about your options, as well as how our institute works.

Just remember to bring copies of all your documents – we’ll probably ask for them when determining whether or not you qualify for government funding.

This can include (but isn’t limited to):

  • Australian Birth Certificate
  • Australian passport
  • New Zealand passport
  • Australian citizenship certificate
  • Green Medicare card
  • Documents certified by the Australian Department of Home affairs confirming years of residency
  • Proof of age card
  • Driver’s license
  • Learner permit

Come in with an idea of what you want to study

So you’ve come to the conclusion that yes, you do qualify – the next step is to decide what course you want to enrol in!.

This one’s entirely up to you – before you make your decision however, there are a couple of limitations you’ll need to think about:

  • You cannot take more than 2 subsidised courses over a year and at the same time
  • You cannot enrol in more than 2 subsidised courses with the same qualification level 
  • While you can apply for multiple subsidised courses, you can only apply for one free TAFE course

Confused? Chat to us – we’ll be happy to assist!

Academia supports government funded courses

Academia offers a wide range of government funded courses, including:

These are just some of the courses we offer – give us a ring to find out what else you can learn with us!

As a medium-sized institution, we’re able to strike the perfect balance between resources and one-on-one attention. Together, we’re able to give you the best possible training, preparing you for a long and successful career.
Click here to learn about our application process. If you have further questions, please feel free to get in touch. Call (03) 9671 4755 or enquire online.