Skills First

Check your eligibility for a government-subsidised place

Vocational education (TAFE) students only

Skills First is a Victorian Government scheme that helps people access vocational education and training. If you are eligible, the government will contribute to the cost of your training.

You can check if you are eligible for a government-subsidised place by using the government’s online Victorian Skills Gateway Eligibility Indicator. Note: this indicator is to be used as a guide only. It does not guarantee you a government-subsidised place in a Swinburne nationally recognised course. Swinburne will determine your eligibility by conducting a full assessment of your eligibility during the course application process.

Eligibility criteria for government-subsidised training

To be eligible for a government-subsidised place, you must meet various eligibility criteria and the course you’ve applied for must also be offering government-subsidised places.

Location and citizenship

You must:

  • be physically present in Victoria for all of your studies; and
  • be an Australian citizen, or a holder of a permanent visa, or a New Zealand citizen (visa 444).

Age and prior education

If you are 20 years of age or over as at 1 January in the year you start your course,you may be eligible for a government-subsidised place if you are applying for a qualification higher than any other qualification you have already completed (in addition to meeting all other eligibility criteria).

Please note the following exceptions:

  • Higher qualifications obtained overseas which have not been formally assessed for Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) equivalency are not included in this prior education criteria; 
  • Students of any age whose existing highest qualification is a VCE, VCAL, International Baccalaureate Diploma, or an Australian senior secondary school certificate, may be eligible for a government-subsidised place in a Certificate II level program or above.

Education history

You must not:

  • be currently enrolled in secondary school. This includes students enrolled in any government, non-government, independent, catholic or home school. School-based apprentices and trainees are exempt from this criteria;
  • be enrolled in the Commonwealth Government’s Skills for Education and Employment program
  • have started, or be due to start, more than two programs in a government subsidised place in the same calendar year; and
  • be currently enrolled in two or more programs in government-subsidised places at the same time; and
  • have, in your lifetime, started two or more programs in a government-subsidised place at the same AQF level (e.g. Advanced Diploma) as the program you are applying for.

 Eligibility requirements for apprentices

An apprentice is a person who has entered into a registered training contract to study a qualification defined as an apprenticeship in a relevant Victorian Approved Training Scheme.

You are not considered an apprentice if you:

  • have entered into a training contract registered interstate;
  • are undertaking a pre-apprenticeship; or
  • have a registered training contract in a qualification defined as a traineeship in a relevant Victorian Approved Training Scheme.

If you are an apprentice, you only need to provide proof that you meet the location, citizenship, and education history criteria in order to be eligible for a government-subsidised place.

If you are commencing an apprenticeship and have already started or are scheduled to start qualifications on the Victorian Government's list of 2019 Pre-Apprenticeship and Pathway Qualifications, you may still be eligible to enrol in two other vocational education programs in a government-subsidised place.

Eligibility requirements for Foundation Skills students

Please review our 2019 Foundation Skills List‌ to check if you are eligible for a government-subsidised place.

You must:

  • provide proof that you meet the location and citizenship criteria, and
  • meet the education history criteria.

You must not:

  • hold a diploma level or higher qualification issued by an Australian provider; or
  • be enrolled in the Commonwealth Government’s Skills for Education and Employment program.

Free TAFE for Priority Courses

Free TAFE for Priority Courses is a Victorian Government initiative that will pay a student’s tuition fees, if eligible for government-subsidised training to study one of 30 non-apprenticeship courses and 18 apprenticeship pathway courses (sometimes called pre-apprenticeships) from 1 January in 2019.

Students must first meet the Victorian State Government Eligibility criteria for government-subsidised training which includes location, citizenship and education history, as outlined above.

Please visit Free TAFE for Priority Courses for more information.

TAFE NDIS Training Campaign

Exemptions from some of the Skills First eligibility criteria have been granted for individuals wanting to enrol in the ‘Course in NDIS’ and for individuals who have commenced this course and are enrolling in further study in specific qualifications related to the NDIS. These qualifications are all on the Government’s Free TAFE for Priority Courses list for 2019, and include:

    • Certificate III in Individual Support
    • Certificate IV in Disability
    • Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance
    • Certificate III in Community Services
    • Certificate IV in Mental Health
  • Participation in the ‘Course in NDIS’ will not impact an individual’s future Entitlement for Funded Training and will not be taken into account when assessing against the Skills First eligibility criteria.
  • Participation in any of the five ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ will not be taken into account when assessing eligibility for participation in any of the other ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ during the time period of this initiative (from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019).
  • Participation in any of the five ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ will be taken into account when assessing eligibility for participation in any other government subsidised training that is not one of the ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ during the time period of this initiative (from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019) and for the ‘NDIS Related Qualifications’ commencing after 30 June 2019.

Government initiatives

If you are referred to training under a special initiative, you may not need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for a Victorian government-subsidised place. Specific initiatives include:

All students may be eligible for the TAFE Eligibility Exemption to access a government-subsidised place please contact studentHQ on 1300 794 628 (option 1) or in person on any campus during business hours to find out if you are eligible.

What are my options if I’m not eligible?

If you are ineligible for a government-subsidised place, you may be offered a full-fee place. You can get an estimate of your total course cost by checking the indicative course fees

Fee concessions

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a concession to help reduce the amount of fees you need to pay.

Concessions on tuition fees are available for government-subsidised training in all courses below diploma level; and for training at any level (including diploma level and above) for Indigenous students.

Find out if you’re eligible for a fee concession.

Need help?

If you have any questions about your eligibility for a government-subsidised place or fee concession, contact studentHQ in person or call on 1300 794 628 (option 1) during business hours.