Consumer protection for students


As a student, you're covered by Smart and Skilled consumer protection measures. All training providers approved to deliver training under Smart and Skilled are required to have processes to protect consumers and handle complaints.

The Statement of Expectations for Smart and Skilled Providers [Pdf 79KB] sets out the NSW Government's rigorous expectations of Smart and Skilled providers in the areas of quality, ethics, accountability and responsiveness to ensure you receive high quality training.

Resolving issues or concerns

As the first step, you're encouraged to speak to your training provider about any issues or concerns about your training under Smart and Skilled. All approved Smart and Skilled training providers must have a consumer protection officer who can help students with their concerns.

You can also contact the Smart and Skilled customer support centre to seek assistance, ask for advice, make a complaint or provide feedback. You can do this by email, over the phone on 13 28 11, or in person at a Training Services NSW centre.

The Smart and Skilled customer support centre can provide:

  • information and advice on your rights
  • support with your complaint or dispute, including:
    • a process for progressing any unresolved complaint
    • referrals to other agencies that can help with specific complaints within their scope
    • a mediation service to help you resolve your complaint with the training provider.

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Continuing training where your current training Provider is no longer able to deliver subsidised training under Smart and Skilled

If your training Provider is no longer able to deliver subsidised training to you under Smart and Skilled, there are options for continuing your training. View the fact sheet [Pdf 244 KB] .

View a list of providers no longer approved to deliver Smart and Skilled subsidised training.

Who to contact

  • Issues to do with quality of training, contact the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA)
  • Consumers specifically asking for a refund or similar should contact NSW Fair Trading
    Phone: 13 32 20
  • If it is a work health and safety issue contact Safework NSW
    Phone:  13 10 50, Monday-Friday, 08:30am to 4:30pm

Still not sure?

The National Training Complaints Hotline will direct you to the relevant authorities or the most appropriate organisation to assist you.

  • National Training Complaints Hotline
    Phone: 13 38 73, Monday–Friday, 8am to 6pm nationally.

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Complaints and disputes handling process

Complaints and disputes are handled by an officer from Training Services NSW, who first tries to resolve the issue through information and mediation.

The officer contacts the training provider and the consumer to help them to resolve the issue. This is done by mediation – trying to get each party to understand and respect each other's points of view, negotiating over differences and discussing possible solutions.

These discussions may take place through letters, emails, telephone conferences, video conferences or face-to-face meetings. The officer then advises on the most effective solutions to resolve the complaint.

While the officer handling the complaint will do all they can to help resolve the complaint, this cannot guarantee a successful solution for the student or the training provider. The officer will inform both the student and the training provider when he or she has done all they can to help. It's then up to the student or training provider to look for another, more formal process to resolve their dispute.

Student rights and obligations

As a student receiving government-subsidised training under Smart and Skilled, you have certain rights and obligations.

You have the right to:

  • expect that the quality of your training meets the standards, regulations and requirement set down by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and Smart and Skilled
  • be informed about the collection of your personal information and be able to review and correct that information
  • access your training provider's consumer protection complaints process.

Students' obligations include:

  • providing accurate information to the training provider
  • behaving in a responsible and ethical manner.

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Page last updated: 20 January 2020