Questions about Smart and Skilled


Here are the answers to questions people often ask about Smart and Skilled.

On this page:

What training is funded under Smart and Skilled?

The NSW Skills List identifies the qualifications eligible for a government subsidy under Smart and Skilled. Developed through extensive industry and community consultation and labour market research, the Skills List includes a wide range of vocational qualifications to support the diverse skills needs of NSW employers.

The Skills List enables people in NSW to make more informed choices about their training, knowing that Smart and Skilled courses can give people the skills they need to get a job, advance their career or continue onto further study.

The Skills List covers all industry sectors in NSW and includes qualifications up to Advanced Diploma. All NSW apprenticeship and most traineeship qualifications are on the Skills List.

For more information view NSW Skills List.

Who is eligible for subsidised training under Smart and Skilled?

If you are:

  • 15 years old or over, and
  • no longer at school, and
  • living or working in NSW (or an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person living in specific NSW border areas), and
  • an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, Australian humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen


  • a NSW apprentice or trainee

you may be eligible to enrol in a government-subsidised course with an approved Smart and Skilled training provider.

Providing you meet the personal eligibility criteria for Smart and Skilled, you're entitled to enrol in a subsidised course up to Certificate III level.

You can also enrol in subsidised training in targeted priority areas at Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level, depending on the availability of funding for these courses.

NSW apprentices and most new-entrant trainees are eligible for a government subsidy for the training that supports their apprenticeship or traineeship.

Previous qualifications do not affect eligibility, but may affect the student fee.

For more information view Are you eligible for Smart and Skilled training?

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Why are the ‘entitlement' courses limited to qualifications up to Certificate III?

Smart and Skilled gives people the chance to gain the skills they need to get a job and advance their careers.

In many occupations and industries, Certificates II and III are the entry-level qualifications for getting a job. That's why Smart and Skilled focuses on giving people access to qualifications up to Certificate III.

Foundation skills courses at Certificate I and II - which can improve people's language, literacy and numeracy - help people who aren't ready to do a vocational course to gain valuable skills.

Is Smart and Skilled increasing participation in higher-level qualifications?

Lower-level qualifications at Certificate II and III are the building blocks to higher-level qualifications. By providing access to qualifications at these levels through an entitlement, Smart and Skilled enables students to get the skills and qualifications they need to progress to higher-level study.

Also, students taking Smart and Skilled courses at Diploma and Advanced Diploma level, and selected Certificate IV qualifications, can access student loans. This means they don't have to pay their fees up-front. The loans defer the cost of training and encourage more people to study for higher qualifications.

How does Smart and Skilled support disadvantaged students?

Smart and Skilled supports disadvantaged students by offering fee exemptions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) students, students with disabilities and the dependants of Disability Support Pension recipients. Fee concessions are also available to students receiving Australian Government welfare benefits and the dependants of Australian Government welfare recipients.

Lower-cost foundation skills courses are available for people who want help with language, literacy or numeracy skills to help them get a job or do a vocational course.

Training providers are compensated through a top up to the subsidy, called a loading, for the typical additional costs associated with providing training to specific categories of disadvantaged students. This is important for meeting equity objectives, as it ensures there is no financial disincentive for training providers to enrol these students.

For more information, view Smart and Skilled training for disadvantaged students.

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How does Smart and Skilled support people in regional communities?

Smart and Skilled helps regional students access quality training in a number of ways.

For example, the courses on the NSW Skills List are relevant to industry needs across NSW and have good job prospects.

Through this Smart and Skilled website, regional students have improved access to published information on courses and training providers in their regions. Students can search for the courses delivered in their region through the Course Finder.

Approved Smart and Skilled training providers also receive a top up to the subsidy (called a loading) for training delivered in regional and remote locations to ensure there is no financial disincentive to deliver training in regional areas.

How does Smart and Skilled affect apprentices and trainees?

All NSW apprentices and new-entrant trainees in traineeships on the NSW Skills List are eligible for a government subsidy under Smart and Skilled for the qualification that supports their apprenticeship or traineeship.

Apprentices, eligible new-entrant trainees and their employers can choose an approved Smart and Skilled training provider that best meets their needs. Their choice of training provider does not affect the fee that is paid. The fee they pay is the same regardless of which approved Smart and Skilled training provider they choose.

Rather than paying yearly or by semester, apprentices and eligible trainees under Smart and Skilled pay a fee for the whole qualification. They may still pay in instalments over a number of years, but the fee is an amount for the qualification, fixed at the time the apprentice or trainee commences.

If you're starting an apprenticeship, your Smart and Skilled fee for the whole qualification will not be more than $2,000.

For more information, view Smart and Skilled apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications.

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How does Smart and Skilled affect TAFE NSW?

TAFE NSW continues to be the backbone of the NSW training system and plays a critical role in meeting the NSW Government's economic priorities. The following changes ensure that TAFE NSW and its Institutes are more locally responsive, flexible and autonomous:

  • A new governance model sees greater transparency and separation between TAFE NSW and the Department of Education.
  • Within the NSW Department of Industry, TAFE NSW receives a budget from the NSW Government to meet training needs across the state and is accountable for meeting expectations.
  • TAFE NSW Institutes have more authority to make local decisions, to manage their businesses and to tailor training to skills growth areas and local needs.
  • TAFE NSW is encouraged to consult widely with employers and continues to forge strong partnerships, including commercial ventures with enterprises and other stakeholders.
  • TAFE NSW is authorised to reform its employment model to achieve flexibility.

How does Smart and Skilled affect employers?

Smart and Skilled ensures a supply of skilled workers for businesses in NSW, as people take up government-subsidised training and enter the workforce.

Workers and employers have a wide range of government-subsidised courses and approved training providers to choose from. There is also targeted funding of higher-level training and part qualifications in priority industries, subject to availability of training places.

For the first time a single set of fees will apply to government-subsidised courses delivered by TAFE NSW Institutes, Adult and Community Education colleges and private providers approved to deliver training under Smart and Skilled.

All apprenticeship qualifications and most traineeship qualifications for trainees who are new entrants are subsidised under Smart and Skilled. For employers of apprentices, the student fee for the qualification will not be more than $2,000.

View Smart and Skilled information for employers.

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Page last updated: 26 July 2017