Skills First Program – Upskilling

Skills First Program is a Victorian Government scheme that helps people access vocational education and training. Through Skills First, quality training providers can successfully compete to meet the needs of students, industry and the economy. Skills First ensures quality providers can successfully compete to meet the needs of students, industry and the economy.

Skills First is made up of:

  • High-quality training that students and industry can trust, aligned to industry and workforce needs
  • A real voice for industry in training
  • Funding for high needs learners who need additional support to engage with and succeed in education and training
  • Access to targeted, relevant training for students in regional areas

How much Skills First training can I do?

There are also limits on how much Skills First training you can do.

The limits are:

  • You can’t start more than 2 qualifications in a year
  • You can’t start more than 2 skill sets in a year
  • You can’t do more than 2 Skills First qualifications or skill sets at the same time
  • If you’ve already started up to two government-subsidised qualifications at the same level in your lifetime you can’t do another Skills First qualification at that level

These limits encourage you to make informed decisions about your training and employment opportunities, and finish your training.

*This includes courses you start but don’t finish.

More information:

Eligibility Criteria


To be eligible for Skills First training, you must be:

  • An Australian citizen, or
  • An Australian permanent resident, or
  • A New Zealand citizen
  • Asylum seekers

If you are an asylum seeker, you may be eligible under the Asylum seeker VET program.


Skills First prioritises training for young people (under 20), Apprenticeships and Foundation Skills, and otherwise requires students do progressively higher qualifications to be eligible.

If you are under 20 years old or eligible under the JobTrainer Fund (see below) you can do Skills First training at any level .

If you are 20 years or over, you can usually only do Skills First training at a higher level than any qualification you already have. For example, if you have a Certificate III, you can’t do a subsidised Certificate II course. (Exemption for those under 25 years per JobTrainer below.)

You can also do Skills First training in skill sets. These are accredited short courses to help with quick and flexible training for skills shortages and workforce demands. When you do a skill set, your age and what level of qualification you already have doesn’t affect whether you are eligible.

Skills First Program – Job Trainer

The JobTrainer initiative (JobTrainer) is a joint Commonwealth and State initiative which provides additional funding to increase access to free or low fee training places for young people and job seekers.

JobTrainer complements the existing subsidised training available under Skills First as well as Free TAFE. Under JobTrainer, subsidised training places are available to young people and job seekers, even if they don’t meet the ‘upskilling’ or ‘two at level in a lifetime’ Skills First eligibility requirements.

Eligible students under JobTrainer have access to low fee training in all JobTrainer courses and access to free training in Free TAFE courses at TAFEs.

What evidence do I need to enrol someone in JobTrainer?

In addition to the normal requirements for sighting and retaining evidence of eligibility for Skills First, student is either aged 17 to 24 or a job seeker to enrol them under the JobTrainer initiative.

Evidence of age

If a student is 17-24 years old, the only evidence required to participate in JobTrainer is proof of age.

Evidence of job seeker

If a student is over 24 and a job seeker you must sight and retain evidence of their job seeker status.

We accept the following:

  • A current and valid Commonwealth Health Care Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Veteran’s Gold Card
  • A separation certificate from their employer
  • A letter from their employer or company receiver stating that they have been made, or will be made, redundant or retrenched

More information:

Eligibility Criteria

A person can participate under JobTrainer if they are:

  • 17 to 24 years old when the course starts; or a job seeker of any age.
  • They must not have commenced a full qualification under JobTrainer before.

Eligibility Exemptions

The normal Skills First eligibility criteria apply to JobTrainer but with two exceptions.

No upskilling requirement

Student can grant an eligibility exemption who doesn’t meet the upskilling requirement.

No ‘two at level in a lifetime’ limit

Student can grant an eligibility exemption who doesn’t meet the ‘two at level in a lifetime’ limit.

South Australia

WorkReady allows eligible SA students to enrol in subsidised qualifications (Certificate II through to Advanced Diploma) across a range of industries. Regardless of the qualification level or industry, eligible students are able to access bridging units or learner support services to assist them complete their studies. Additionally, job seekers can access employment programs to connect them with jobs in their local area. 

More information on WorkReady:

Job Trainer
South Australia

The South Australian state government (in partnership with the federal government) have allocated more than $88 million in new training opportunities for the residents of South Australia.

The initiative is known as JobTrainer SA and enables thousands of job seekers, new workers, and school leavers to access free and heavily subsidised training. Additionally, the wages of apprentices and trainees are subsidised to ensure the completion of their trade qualification.

JobTrainer SA is designed to upskill workers in high demand employment sectors and growth industries. These include health care and personal support (disability, child care, aged care), defence forces, IT and cybersecurity, and creative industries, however there are limited places under this scheme (23,500 new training opportunities — either free or at very low cost).

More information on Job Trainer:

Interesting in studying at SCEI?