Through Skills First, quality training providers can successfully compete to meet the needs of students, industry and the economy.
The days of low quality training providers are over. Private providers will be able to focus their business plans on delivering great training. Skills First will ensure quality providers can successfully compete to meet the needs of students, industry and the economy.
A focus on industry and government priorities
What we have changed is the funded course list, to ensure it focuses on current and future workforce industry skills. Previously, the Victorian Government funded about 1500 unique courses, with any course that was nationally accredited available for subsidised training under the Victorian Training Guarantee. Extensive industry consultation found that a significant number of courses did not meet industry or community needs so the funded course list has been reduced.
Courses included on the funded course list will:
- Better align with industry needs and workforce demands.
- Represent Government priorities, including rolling out the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), responding to family violence, and completing Victoria’s infrastructure projects.
- Have a strong jobs outcome, such as apprenticeships.
- Meet other social needs, such as foundation skill courses.
The funded course list is regularly reviewed, and courses added as required by industry needs. For a current list of funded courses, see:
the Funded Courses List.
Subsidy rates explained
The Government is providing subsidy rates that reflect the cost of quality training. Skills First has introduced higher subsidies for areas of Government priority, including apprenticeship and apprenticeship pathways, high-value traineeships, and courses related to the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Government’s priority industry sectors have been factors in subsidy setting, and increasing subsidy rates for apprenticeships aims to build skills for the Government’s policy and infrastructure priorities, such as the Melbourne Metro Tunnel and the Level Crossing Removal project.
Subsidies were not reduced for any courses for 2017 and will not be reduced for any courses for 2018. The new subsidies will apply both to students who are continuing their studies from previous years and to those who commence in 2018.
Eligibility and fees
Under Skills First, subsidised training continues to be available to eligible students and there have been no changes to the existing eligibility criteria.
Training providers are able to set fees at a level that they believe the quality, cost and reputation of their training warrants, without restriction and this will continue in 2018.
A commitment to high quality training
Under Skills First, new quality measures have been introduced, including:
- A quality assessment for training providers.
- Rigorous new funding contracts for all training providers that better guarantee value for money in taxpayer funded training.
In 2017 Skills First funded contracts with training providers included:
- Penalties that can be applied to providers who fail to properly assess every student's suitability for their course.
- The ability to publish results of student and employer satisfaction surveys.
- New requirements to improve the quality of online and workplace-based training.
- Requirements that all training providers using brokers, disclose brokering arrangements on their websites.
2017 Skills First Provider Selection Process
Approximately 350 quality training providers hold contracts to deliver government-funded training in 2017 as part of the Skills First training market. The successful training providers were offered contracts following a rigorous and fair selection process where providers were evaluated against published evaluation criteria.
Evidence of an ability to deliver quality training and assessment was stressed, together with strong organisational capability, in particular demonstrated financial viability.
Skills First 2017 funding contracts were only for one year.
2018 Skills First Provider Selection Process
The Call for Expressions of Interest for Skills First 2018-19 VET Funding Contracts will open at 2pm on 1 September 2017 and close on 28 September 2017.
Contracts offered to successful applicants will be 2 years in duration covering 2018-19. The Department has listened to feedback from training providers about the need to provide greater certainty and allow providers to invest in their business to deliver quality training.
Students who currently study with a provider that received government funding in 2016, but have not been awarded a 2017 contract, can continue to train with their existing provider until they have finished their qualification. This will also apply to students who currently study with a provider that receives government funding in 2017, but is not awarded a 2018 contract.
Skills First is leading the nation in ensuring quality in vocational and educational training and helping make Victoria - the Education State.
For more information on the Provider Selection Process for Skills First 2018-19 Funding Contracts, see the: Applying for a VET Funding Contract page on the Department's website.
For information on how Skills First will benefit private providers, see:
Skills First For Private Providers Fact Sheet,
Skills First Resources or contact us at