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Government Funded Courses Melbourne VIC

Victorian Skills First (Melbourne Campus Only)

Academia is thrilled to offer eligible students the opportunity to study in Melbourne for free thanks to Skills First.

Skills First is part of the Victorian Skills Gateway, a government initiative to ensure the state’s training systems can deliver quality education that leads to real opportunity.

With Skills First, Academia is supporting eligible students to access high-quality education and training. This enables growing sectors to benefit from skilled workers.

government funded courses melbourne

In 2024 the Victorian and Commonwealth Government will subsidise your training.

Changes to the TAFE and training system are designed to make the system more accessible for people who do not have a post-school qualification or who want to gain a higher level qualification than they already hold.

Your course place guaranteed

Under the previous system, the Victorian State Government funded a set number of training places. Under the changes a subsidised place at an approved training provider is guaranteed for all eligible students. The fee schedule shows the Government Funded student amount in the right-hand column (full fee also shown).

The fee schedule

What government funded courses in Victoria are available?

Academia is a contracted training provider, eligible to offer Skills First Funding courses.

The courses offered align with in-demand skill sets and also have strong job prospects following successful completion.

If you’re eligible for Skills First Funding, you may be able to study the following courses for free!

  1. Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (Childcare)
  2. Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (Childcare)
  3. Certificate III in Individual Support (Aged Care)
  4. Certificate IV in Ageing Support (Aged Care)
  5. Certificate III in Hairdressing
  6. Certificate IV in Hairdressing
  7. Diploma of Salon Management
  8. Certificate III in Patisserie
  9. Certificate IV in Patisserie

Am i eligible for government funded courses in Melbourne?

Free TAFE course eligibility: do I qualify for a free TAFE or TAFE-equivalent course?

There are a wide range of courses that are either partially or fully-subsidised thanks to Skills First funding. Of course, this isn’t much use to you if you don’t qualify!

As with any other government scheme, there are a number of criteria that determine whether or not you are eligible for a government-subsidised place.

Here’s a quick snapshot; below we go into further detail around some of these requirements.

You are eligible for a government subsidised place if you are:

  1. An Australian or New Zealand citizen, permanent resident of Australia,
  2. Asylum seeker with a referral from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre, or
  3. A Victim of Human Trafficking with a referral from the Australian Red Cross; and
  4. Under 20 years of age in the year in which your course starts, or
  5. doing a Foundation Level course (provided you do not hold a Diploma level qualification or higher), or
  6. doing a qualification higher than any you already have (no age restriction), and
  7. have not commenced or not be scheduled to commence more than two Victorian Government subsidised courses in 2019 and
  8. not be currently enrolled in two or more Government subsidised courses and
  9. over your lifetime have not commenced more than two Government subsidised courses at the same level

Residency status

Skills First funding is open to Australian citizens or permanent residents, as well as New Zealand citizens. No matter which of these categories you fall into, you will need to be physically-located in Victoria while completing your course.


Students who are under the age of 20 in the year in which their course is projected to start will automatically qualify for government-subsidised training under Skills First funding.

Qualification level

Older students who are upskilling or retraining can also qualify for Skills First funding, on the condition that the course they’re completing is at a higher level than their current one (e.g. holding a Certificate III disqualifies you from Skills First for any other Certificate III qualifications).

Number of courses taken

Subsidies under Skills First funding are limited to commencing two Victorian Government subsidised courses per year, as well as to no more than two Government-subsidised courses at the same level.

Specific groups that qualify for subsidies

Asylum seekers as well as victims of human trafficking are automatically eligible for government-subsidised training (IMPORTANT: asylum seekers and human trafficking victims must have referrals from the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre or the Australian Red Cross respectively).

Retrenched workers

In many cases, retrenched workers are eligible for government funding. In particular, workers affected by the closure of Victorian auto manufacturing and Hazelwood power plant are singled out as eligible for subsidised retraining.

You may also be eligible for further government grants including:

  1. Returning to Work (up to $1,000)
  2. Centrelink Assistance: Austudy / Abstudy (up to $493.90 per fortnight)
  3. Travel Concession Cards

people with disabilities are also encouraged to apply

Unsure if you’re eligible or want to know more?

Contact our friendly Course Advisors on 03 9671 4755, send us a message at info@academia21.com

Completing a government-funded course online

Academia uses a robust and powerful online learning system to replicate the classroom experience, allowing you to experience the flexibility that comes with online learning without compromising the quality of your training.

Instead of a recorded lecture and a weekly email with attached worksheets, our online classes are just that: proper classes, all of which use…

  1. Small class sizes
  2. Virtual whiteboards to let you interact with the content
  3. Video chat and instant messaging
  4. Private chat to allow group work

While not all of our TAFE-equivalent courses can be 100% completed online, our online classes give you more options when it comes to your subsidised TAFE-equivalent course.


Domestic students applying directly online

At all times, Academia Australia is responsible for determining eligibility and conducting a pre-training review for an person seeking a funded place under the Skills First program.