Questions about Smart and Skilled from employers


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

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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. For employers of trainees undertaking a traineeship qualification on the NSW Skills List, from 2016 the student fee will not be more than $1,000.

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 new entrant traineeship qualifications are on the Skills List.

View NSW Skills List.

Who is eligible for subsidised training under Smart and Skilled?

If a person is:

  • 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

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

Providing they meet the personal eligibility criteria for Smart and Skilled, they are able to access subsidised Smart and Skilled training up to Certificate III level.

They 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.

View Are you eligible for Smart and Skilled training?

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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.

View Smart and Skilled training for disadvantaged students.

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 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 a person is starting an apprenticeship, their Smart and Skilled fee for the whole qualification will not be more than $2,000.

If a person is starting a traineeship in 2016, their Smart and Skilled fee for the whole qualification will not be more than $1,000.

View Smart and Skilled apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications.

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Under Smart and Skilled, do students need to pay the full course fee up front?

Approved Smart and Skilled training providers determine the payment arrangements for their students. They must publish information about these arrangements and must inform students about them before enrolment.

How many subsidised entry-level qualifications, up to Certificate III level, can an eligible student commence or complete under Smart and Skilled?

If the student meets the Smart and Skilled eligibility conditions to undertake a qualification up to and including Certificate III, and if they don't have any post-school qualifications, they will pay the lower fee for their first Smart and Skilled subsidised course at Certificate III level or lower.

They will pay a higher fee for any subsequent Smart and Skilled courses they undertake.

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Page last updated: 26 July 2017