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Smart And Skilled


What is the Smart and Skilled Program?

NSW Smart and Skilled is the funding program in NSW for Vocational Education and Training (VET). NSW Smart and Skilled provides financial assistance to help people in NSW get the skills they need to find a job and advance their careers. Traineeships combine work-based training with an employer and formal training from a training provider. They are established under training contracts between the employer and the trainee and are regulated by government. They're a great way to be paid for work, learn and earn a qualification.

Smart and Skilled provides eligible students with:

  • an entitlement to government-subsidised training up to and including Certificate III
  • government funding for higher-level courses (Certificate IV and above) in targeted priority areas.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to receive funding under Smart and Skilled a participant must:

  • 15 years old or over
  • no longer at school
  • living or working in NSW
  • an Australian citizen, Australian permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen

Previous qualifications do not affect eligibility, but may affect the student fee.

Please Note: Existing Workers in NSW are NOT eligible for Smart & Skilled funding - The Price will be the same as Fee-For-Service. For more information, view Smart and Skilled apprenticeship and traineeship qualifications.

Fee Free Traineeships 

There’s never been a better time to start a traineeship in NSW. The NSW Government will pay the student fee on behalf of students who fit the eligibility requirements – meaning students undertaking a government funded traineeship course no longer face a student fee of up to $1000.

Fee free traineeships are available to NSW students – including school-based trainees whose training:

  • is funded under the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled Program
  • Traineeships commenced on or after 1 January 2020

Traineeships are a great career pathway. They combine on-the-job training with formal study to give you the skills and experience employers are looking for. Traineeships generally take around 1-2 years to complete, and trainees earn a salary while they learn. 

For more information:

Information for Employers 

Under its fee free traineeship initiative, the NSW Government will pay the student fee for new trainees who commence their training under Smart and Skilled from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2023.

If the employer normally pays the student fee on behalf of the student, they will no longer have to pay a cent in student fees for trainees.

This initiative will help to ensure that your business has the skilled staff it needs to succeed. The NSW Government will pay the up-to-$1000 trainee fee direct to the Smart and Skilled training provider.

What can I study with ACCCO?

CHC22015 Certificate II in Community Services

CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care

CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support

CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support

CHC40113 Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care

CHC50213 Diploma of School Age Education and Care

CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

Cost to the Participant

The NSW Department of Education will pay the trainee fee on behalf of trainees who fit the eligibility requirements. The fee will be paid directly to the approved Smart and Skilled training provider.

The trainee or their employer will not be required to pay the fee.

External Study 

Qualification Name
Number of Units
Nominal Hours
Student Contribution Fee
CHC22015 Certificate II in Community Services
CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
848 $0.00
CHC30213 Certificate III in Education Support
CHC40213 Certificate IV in Education Support
CHC40113 Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care
CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
CHC50213 Diploma of School Age Education and Care
25 1783

Please note: Students who do not meet the eligibility criteria for Smart and Skilled Funding, fees will be calculated at the Fee-For-Service rates > Click Here <

Fee Exemption

For students who are eligible for a Fee Exemption, the amount of the Fee is $0. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (incl. interstate NSW border areas), Student with disability, Long term Unemployed, Fee-Free Scholarships, Student living in “NSW Social Housing”. Eligibility criteria applies, please contact ACCCO for further information.

Fee-free Scholarships

The NSW Government's Reskilling NSW initiative includes the creation of Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarships.  Fee-Free Scholarships cover the course fee for eligible people who are undertaking a Smart and Skilled course up to Certificate IV level.

Smart and Skilled Fee-Free Scholarships are available for:

  • young people who are eligible for a Smart and Skilled concession fee
  • young people who are or have been in out-of-home care
  • people who are experiencing or have experienced domestic and family violence and their dependants.

For more information, go to fee-free scholarships.

Credit Transfer/RPL

Where an eligible student is granted a credit transfer or recognition of prior learning (RPL) for one or more units of competency, the qualification price will be adjusted and a new student fee determined.

RPL is an assessment only process for experienced workers who are seeking formal recognition of their existing skills and knowledge. Read more

How to Apply

Step 1. Find an Employer

Before entering into an apprenticeship, the student must find an employer willing to take them on as a trainee or apprentice. You and your employer will need to sign a formal training contract.

You can find an employer by:

  • Search job websites such as and newspaper advertisements
  • Talk to early childhood services in your local area
  • asking your friends, family and others in your community about what might be available
  • talk to an Apprenticeship Network Provider as they may be able to link you with potential employers

Step 2. Commence Employment

Once the student commences employment, you will need to fill out a trainee/sign up request form and return to

Step 3. Choose an Apprenticeship Network Provider

Your Apprenticeship Network Provider will help you sign a training contract with your employer. They will work with you and your employer to identify the training and support you need. The training contract may commence on the same day that employment commences or may commence at a later date.

Step 4. Commence Training

As part of your traineeship you will undertake a nationally recognised qualification with ACCCO who will provide the training for the Australian Trainee. 

Any Questions?

Our Trainee and Apprenticeship Coordinator is more than happy to help you with any questions you may have. Contact us now and we'll get you started... 


Ready to take the next step? Contact our Apprenticeship Coordinator today or fill out the request form!

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