Frequently Asked Questions

 

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

Smart and Skilled training

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 further information on the NSW Skills List.

There is no limit to the number of qualifications a student can commence under Smart and Skilled.

However, if the student has previously completed a qualification, they will pay a higher fee for any subsequent Smart and Skilled courses they undertake.

Eligibility

If a person is:

  • 15 years old or over, and
  • no longer at school or home schooled students, 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, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen

or

  • a NSW apprentice or trainee

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

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 who is eligible for Smart and Skilled training.

A course undertaken as part of a person's secondary education does not count as a post-school qualification. If the person has not achieved any other qualifications after leaving school, they are eligible to enrol in a Smart and Skilled course at any qualification level and they will pay a lower fee.

If the person has obtained a qualification at Certificate III level or lower after leaving school, they're entitled to enrol in a subsidised course up to Certificate III level, but they will pay a higher fee than someone who has not achieved any qualifications since leaving school. If they already have a Certificate IV or higher qualification, they are not eligible for a subsidy for qualifications up to Certificate III. However, from 2016, if they have a Certificate IV or higher qualification they will be able to access subsidised Smart and Skilled training up to Certificate III level, providing they meet the personal eligibility criteria for Smart and Skilled. As they already have a post-school qualification, they will pay a higher fee for their Smart and Skilled training than someone who does not have any qualifications.

If the person has a post-school qualification at any level, including a university qualification obtained overseas, they are eligible to enrol in a subsidised course at Certificate IV or above, but they will pay a higher fee than someone who does not have any qualifications.

These conditions do not apply for apprentices or for trainees who are new entrants undertaking specific traineeships. These students are eligible for a government subsidy for the qualification that supports their apprenticeship or traineeship, regardless of any previous qualification they have, and they will pay the relevant student fee.

Also, most foundation skills courses do not count as a post-school qualification. For a list of these courses, view training for people who want extra learning support under Smart and Skilled.

If the person has a post-school qualification at any level, including University qualifications and qualifications obtained overseas, they are eligible to enrol in a Smart and Skilled course providing they meet the eligibility criteria for Smart and skilled, but they will pay a higher fee than someone who does not have any qualifications.

There is no limit to the number of previous post-school qualifications a student can hold.

If they commence an apprenticeship or new-entrant traineeship, they may be eligible for a government subsidy under Smart and Skilled for the qualification that supports the apprenticeship or traineeship.

The person is eligible to enrol in Smart and Skilled training if their immigration status falls under one of the Australian Department of Home Affairs refugee or humanitarian or onshore-protection visa categories.

You are advised to review these categories on the Australian Department of Home Affairs website at the time of the person's enrolment.

For further information, view Asylum seekers and refugees or refer to the Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy.

Student fees

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.

There are no limits to the number of previous post-school qualifications an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student can hold.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students do not pay fees for any Smart and Skilled courses.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who commence an apprenticeship or new-entrant traineeship are exempt from fees under Smart and Skilled for the qualification that supports the apprenticeship or traineeship.

View further information for training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students under Smart and Skilled or refer to the Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy.

If the student transfers to another training provider of their own accord, the new Smart and Skilled training provider applies the standard credit transfer rules to calculate your fee and subsidy.

If the student has to transfer because the original training provider has closed down or their government contract has been cancelled, the fees charged in total by the two Smart and Skilled training providers cannot exceed the student fee quoted by the initial training provider.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

From 2016, if they have a Certificate IV or higher qualification they will be able to access subsidised Smart and Skilled training up to Certificate III level, providing they meet the personal eligibility criteria for Smart and Skilled.

If they commence an apprenticeship or new-entrant traineeship they may be eligible for a government subsidy under Smart and Skilled for the qualification that supports the apprenticeship or traineeship.

They may also be eligible for subsidised training in targeted priority areas at Certificate IV level or higher, depending on funding availability.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are eligible are exempt from fees for any Smart and Skilled courses.

View further information for training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students under Smart and Skilled.

Disadvantaged students

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

Fee-free 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. Please refer to the qualifications under the Entitlement Foundation Skills program on the NSW Skills List.

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 training for disadvantaged students under Smart and Skilled.

Students in regions

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.

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.

Under the NSW Government fee-free apprenticeship initiative, NSW apprentices that commence their training on or after 1 July 2018 may be eligible for fee free training.. For eligible apprentices there will be no requirement to pay the fee. For more information, refer to the Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy.

Under the NSW Government fee-free traineeship initiative, NSW new entrant trainees that commence their training on or after 1 January 2020 may be eligible for fee free training. For eligible trainees there will be no requirement to pay the fee. For more information, refer to the Smart and Skilled Fee Administration Policy.

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