Government Funding


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 can I do?

  • 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.

Relevant Links:

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 – JobTrainer

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 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. 

Relevant Links:

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.

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