Latest news


$14.7 Million to Boost Agri Skills

12 January 2017

The NSW Government is working with peak grain and cotton industry bodies to provide $14.7 million worth of subsidised training over three years to help the NSW agri-sector attract new workers and retain and upskill existing workers.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business John Barilaro said the Government was working with Cotton Australia and the Grains Research Development Corporation to deliver an accredited training program under Smart and Skilled.

"Agriculture has a vital role to play in the State's economy - the grains and cotton industries alone are worth some $4.37 billion.

"It's incredibly important that we continue to invest in skills and training both for existing agri-jobs and the agri-jobs of tomorrow.

"Our $14.7 million investment through Smart and Skilled will help the industry build skills in areas including use of farm machinery, health and safety, and business management and also in emerging technologies including use of drones and satellite data in agriculture.

Mr Barilaro said agriculture has been identified as a key growth sector for the NSW economy.

"Our Agriculture Industry Action Plan is a government-industry partnership designed to help increase the value of the agriculture sector by 30 per cent by 2020."

Adam Kay, CEO at Cotton Australia said the support would provide new pathways to skills for the State's agricultural workforce.

"The cotton industry alone is worth around $1 billion to the nation's economy each year and it's an important driver of economic activity in dozens of rural and regional communities in NSW.

"We're constantly looking at new ways to develop and foster our workforce to ensure we have access to the best labour, education and skills now and in the future.

"We're delighted to be working with the NSW Government on this exciting new opportunity to gear up our people with the best quality and latest training with support under Smart and Skilled."

Home schooled students eligible for Smart and Skilled from 2017

25 November 2016

Registered home schooled students may be eligible for Smart and Skilled training which starts on or after 1 January 2017.

To see if you meet all the eligibility requirements to access Smart and Skilled funding, check the criteria on the Smart and Skilled Information for Home Schooled Students fact sheet.

Fee-Free Training for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

23 November 2016

Eligibility under Smart and Skilled will be extended from 1 January 2017 to further categories of humanitarian visas held by asylum seekers and refugees. Eligible visa holders will not pay course fees for their Smart and Skilled training up to Certificate IV level.

Humanitarian visa holders who met the Smart and Skilled eligibility criteria have been able to access NSW Government-subsidised training since the commencement of Smart and Skilled. Eligibility will be extended to individuals who hold a bridging visa or specific temporary humanitarian visa and whose training commences on or after 1 January 2017.

Also, from 1 January 2017, asylum seekers or refugees who hold an eligible visa will not pay any course fees for their training under Smart and Skilled if wanting to undertake a Certificate I-IV level qualification on the NSW Skills List.

Having the right skills to secure a rewarding job is important - especially if you have to uproot and start a new life in a new country. Fee-free vocational training will help people gain financial independence from government benefits and make an improved contribution to our society. It will also help people whose previous work experience and qualifications may not have been recognised in Australia.

More information on eligibility and visa types.

32 new qualifications on the 2017 NSW Skills List

1 August 2016

The NSW Government has announced 32 new qualifications will be added to the NSW Skills List for 2017 in addition to over 700 subsidised vocational education and training courses currently on offer.

The Skills List defines the qualifications eligible for government funding and reflects the need to reinvigorate and modernise courses available to students while meeting the specialised skills needed by industry.

Industry and employers were consulted to identify the skills they need to support NSW's high jobs growth and strengthen its skills base by providing the vocational education and training that connects young people to jobs and that meets industry demands.

The 2017 NSW Skills List will support NSW Government priorities such as the $73.3 billion infrastructure program and the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). It also supports the initiative to encourage take-up of qualifications in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), subjects which are critical areas for the workforce of the future.

Over half of the qualifications added to the List are higher qualifications at Certificate IV and above level which all go towards upskilling the NSW workforce. New qualifications that support the Government's infrastructure program include the Advanced Diploma in Building Surveying and a Certificate II in Trenchless Technology. There are also subsidised courses in the high-tech skills area with a Diploma of Digital and Interactive Games and an Advanced Diploma of Information Technology Business Analysis.

Three qualifications will be removed from the Skills List due to a lack of enrolments.

Please click here to view the full 2017 NSW Skills List.

Fee-free vocational training for people experiencing domestic and family violence

3 June 2016

From 1 July 2016, people experiencing domestic and family violence will be eligible for fee-free vocational training under Smart and Skilled. This measure is an extension of the fee-free scholarship program for Smart and Skilled to help people across NSW to gain financial independence and stability.

"Fee-free scholarships will encourage anyone experiencing domestic violence to get a qualification – whether that be to enter the workforce or change careers," Minister for Skills John Barilaro said.

"Fleeing domestic violence can be the most challenging decision anyone makes – and we know sadly many people stay in dangerous homes due to a lack of financial independence."

Training and education to get into the workforce is a great support for vulnerable people rebuilding their lives and these scholarships will improve their opportunities for sustainable employment.

Having a stable, fulfilling job is key to gaining financial independence – which is so important for people fleeing domestic violence.

To be eligible for the Fee-Free Scholarships, learners must first meet the standard Smart and Skilled eligibility requirements and want to study a Certificate I – IV course identified on the NSW Skills List. Smart and Skilled eligibility requires you to be:

  • 15 years old or over
  • No longer at school
  • Living or working in NSW
  • An Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen.

Individuals would then need to self-identify and provide a letter of recommendation from a domestic and family violence service or refuge or agencies such as Legal Aid NSW, the NSW Department of Family & Community Services, crisis accommodation services, peak bodies or other support services upon request.

From 1 July, 2016, visit scholarships

Anyone experiencing domestic or family violence is urged to contact the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or Men's Line on 1300 789 978.

Enhancing the Quality of Smart and Skilled Training Providers

16 May 2016

Students and employers have even greater reason to trust the quality and integrity of Smart and Skilled Training Providers and focus on what's most important to them - accessing high quality training that leads to sustainable employment.

The NSW Government has published its Statement of Expectations for the 450 providers approved to deliver training under Smart and Skilled. The Statement of Expectations clearly details the NSW Government's expectations on quality, ethics, accountability and responsiveness and further enhances the Smart and Skilled quality framework.

The Department of Industry and NSW Fair Trading have also agreed to share information to assist the ongoing integrity of the State's training sector.

NSW Fair Trading is leading the way nationally in investigating and acting on the performance of training providers abusing VET FEE-HELP. Unfortunately, some unethical providers have taken advantage of students through VET FEE HELP and these steps will ensure that this doesn't happen under Smart and Skilled. Under the agreement, the NSW Department of Industry will be able to request information on investigations and disciplinary matters by NSW Fair Trading to determine the ongoing suitability of training providers.

Students and employers should expect the same level of quality whether training is provided by TAFE NSW, a private provider or an adult and community education provider.

View the Smart and Skilled Statement of Expectations.

Students or employers with any concerns should contact the NSW Department of Industry on 13 28 11 or visit the Consumer protection page on this website.

Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarships applications are now open

29 March 2016

Applications are now open for Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarships on the Service NSW website. These scholarships are being offered by the NSW Government to students undertaking selected government-subsidised qualifications on the NSW Skills List in areas related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

Students who commence training in one of these qualifications on or after 1 January 2016 with an approved Smart and Skilled training provider are eligible to apply for a Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarship worth $1,000.

For more details as to how to apply and the link to the Service NSW application page, please go here.

Introducing Training Services NSW

10 March 2016

Following our move to the NSW Department of Industry, State Training Services has changed its name to Training Services NSW. This change reflects the essential role of training in driving NSW's economy by ensuring a highly skilled workforce to meet industry demand.

Training Services NSW will maintain the functions of State Training Services, with continued responsibility for apprenticeships and traineeships, Smart and Skilled programs and other government vocational education and training initiatives for NSW.

Training Services NSW will also work collaboratively with other branches within the NSW Department of Industry to ensure an integrated approach to our state's future economic growth.

Fee-free training for young people in out-of-home care

10 February 2016

Young people aged 15-17 years currently in out-of-home care, and people aged 18-30 years who have previously been in out-of-home care, are now eligible for fee-free vocational training under Smart and Skilled.

The program is an extension of the existing scholarship program that offers fee-free training to concession-eligible young people, including those living in social housing.

To be eligible for a Fee-Free Scholarship, these young people must:

  • be wanting to study a Smart and Skilled subsidised Certificate I - IV level qualification on the NSW Skills List, including those that support apprenticeships and traineeships


  • meet the Smart and Skilled personal and program eligibility rules


  • be aged between 15 and 30 years old when they start training


  • meet the out-of-home care criteria:
    • be aged 15-17 years and currently in out-of-home care


    • be aged 18-30 years and have previously been in out-of-home care.

For more information, go to fee-free scholarships.


Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarships

29 January 2016

The NSW Government is offering Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarships to students undertaking selected government-subsidised qualifications on the NSW Skills List in areas related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

Students who commence training in one of these qualifications on or after 1 January 2016 with an approved Smart and Skilled training provider are eligible to apply for a Jobs of Tomorrow Scholarship worth $1,000.

To find out more:

  • Students, please click here.
  • Providers, please click here.