Funding NSW


As part of the NSW Government’s North Coast Education Flood Recovery Support Package, Smart and Skilled fee-paying students from seven LGAs listed below, enrolling from 1 July to 30 June 2023 will have their fees waived.

Who is eligible?

Smart and Skilled students (criteria in the section below) who enrol from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023


who live or work or are attending training (excluding circumstances where the course delivery is conducted entirely online) in any of the following seven local government areas (LGAs):

  • Ballina
  • Byron
  • Clarence Valley
  • Kyogle
  • Lismore
  • Richmond Valley
  • Tweed

Nationally Recognised Training courses available:

All students seeking to enrol in the Fee-free Full Qualification Training are required to contact ACE Community Colleges Lismore on 6622 1903 or Murwillumbah 02 6672 6005 to discuss your eligibility and training preferences.


This is a reform of the NSW Vocational Education and Training system. Under Smart and Skilled the NSW Government contributes to the cost of each course with the student paying the balance. You are eligible for Smart and Skilled Funding if you are:
• 15 years old or over, and
• no longer at school, 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, Australian permanent humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen, and
• or are a NSW apprentice or trainee.
For more on the Program visit the Smart and Skilled website.

All students enrolling in Smart and Skilled funded courses are required to read our Subsidised Training Fact Sheet and declare they are eligible for enrolment. Students must also consent to the information use and disclosure arrangements of the NSW government.


The Skilling for Recovery Training Initiative is part of a matched funding commitment of almost $320 million between the NSW and Australian governments under the JobTrainer Fund. Skilling for Recovery is a key component of the State’s COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

The program is designed to help job seekers retrain or up-skill and support school leavers entering the workforce for the first time. It will provide a combination of short and long courses for job seekers and young people, including school leavers at no cost.

If you are aged 25+ and not currently employed OR aged 16-24 (regardless of employment status) OR at risk of losing your job (see below for further detail), this could be your opportunity to complete a full certificate or diploma course AT NO COST!

To be eligible for fee-free training:

If you meet the below criteria you may be eligible for FEE-FREE training.

You MUST meet all of the following:

  • 15 years old and over; AND
  • No longer at school; AND
  • Live OR work in NSW; AND
  • Australian OR New Zealand Citizen, Australian Permanent Resident OR a Humanitarian Visa Holder (International Students are not eligible).

AND meet ONE of the following:

  • Aged between 16-24 years old (regardless of employment status); OR
  • Centrelink benefit recipient; OR
  • Unemployed (you DO NOT have to be in receipt of any Commonwealth benefits or registered with Centrelink); OR
  • At risk of unemployment or expected to be unemployed (see below definition) OR
  • NSW veterans and their recognised partners or spouses OR
  • Aged care employed people (existing workers) are able to access fee-free training in Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and Certificate IV in Ageing Support.

Definition of “at risk of unemployment”

  • Stood down/Jobkeeper/furloughed employee: employee who has been stood down or employee for whom employer has Jobkeeper arrangement in place and at risk of becoming unemployed.
  • Person returning to work (employed for 6 months or less): employed on condition of receiving training to build capacity and capability for the job role. This would be within the first 6 months of employment.
  • Low skilled/unskilled employee: existing employee, with or without relevant skills or previous qualification up to Certificate III, that requires training to upskill to secure ongoing employment or future employment.
  • Workers in declining industries: workers at any company in an agreed declining industry who require upskilling/reskilling for redeployment.

Nationally Recognised Training courses available:

All students seeking to enrol in the Skilling for Recovery Training are required to contact ACE Community Colleges Lismore on 6622 1903 to discuss your eligibility and training preferences.


The Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program (Skills Checkpoint) and the Skills and Training Incentive (the Incentive) is an initiative of the Australian Government. It is an opportunity for employers to assist their workers to update their skills so both businesses and employees will be better prepared to adapt to change and future opportunity. It also prepares employees to build their skills and plan the next stage of their job or career.

The Incentive provides up to $2,200 (GST inclusive) to fund training opportunities linked to an individual’s current job (upgrading skills), a future job opportunity, or an industry, occupation or skill in demand. Training can be either accredited or non accredited as long as it has been identified in an individual’s Skills Checkpoint assessment. Either the individual or the employer must match the government contribution.

To be eligible you are:

  • An Australian Citizen or permanent resident;
  • Aged 45 to 70;
  • Currently employed, working full time, part time, or casual (15 hours per week or more);
  • Not a Centrelink/Job Active client; AND
  • Not been unemployed for more than 9 months.

Download more information on this program:

Skills Checkpoint – Employer Fact Sheets

VERTO Skills Checkpoint – Participant Fact Sheets

Nationally Recognised Training courses available:

All students seeking to enrol under this program are encouraged to contact ACE Community Colleges Lismore on 6622 1903 to discuss your eligibility, course options and preferences, plus we can assist connect you with Verto.


Funding under Smart & Skilled is provided by the NSW Government to assist learners who need extra support or assistance with reading, writing and numeracy. Eligible learners include:
• Australian citizens / permanent residents or humanitarian visa holders who have very low literacy, language and numeracy levels
• people with limited employability skills
• people who are unemployed or underemployed
• students with a disability
• students who are commonwealth welfare recipients
• young disadvantaged students who need assistance transitioning to further study
• people who have other barriers to Smart and Skilled entitlement.

Training can be provided in a range of areas including:
• Foundation Skills and Job Skills Training
• Community Services
• Aged Care
• Business
• Digital Technology
• Aboriginal Driver Training.

ACE Community Colleges is an approved Smart and Skilled provider of these courses: Business and Work Skills, Aged Care and Community Services, Disability Programs, English Language, First Aid, IT and Computer Training, Short Courses.

All students enrolling in these courses are required to read the Fact Sheet and Declaration.


ACE Community Colleges has maintained strong links with local Aboriginal Communities over many years. We are dedicated to improving outcomes for Aboriginal people through educational programs, in particular through assisting Aboriginal people gain their driver’s licence, which can open the door to many new employment, study and life opportunities. Go here for more on the Aboriginal Driver Education Program. Students enrolling in Driver Education programmes are required to read the Transport for NSW privacy statement.


Non accredited training is full fee only.

Download the ACE Community Colleges Student Handbook to read more about funding possibilities, eligibility and associated criteria in your State – Go here for your copy of the Student Handbook.