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Fee-Free Apprenticeships



Apprenticeships are a proven pathway to well-paid jobs in a diverse range of careers. In NSW, apprenticeships are also fee-free – meaning no more upfront training costs for students or employers. Find out more below.

For students

Fee-free apprenticeships

For students

There’s never been a better time to start an apprenticeship in NSW. The NSW Government is paying the course cost for 100,000 new apprenticeships – meaning students no longer face a qualification fee of up to $2000.

Apprenticeships are a great career pathway. They combine on-the-job training with classroom study to give you the skills and experience employers are looking for. Apprenticeships generally take around 3-4 years to complete, and apprentices earn a salary while they learn.

There are more than 120 different apprenticeship courses available in NSW, in a range of industries including construction, cooking, aviation and automotive.

Am I eligible?

Fee-free apprenticeships are available to NSW apprentices – including school-based apprentices whose training:

  • is funded under the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled Program
  • commenced after 1 July 2018

Apprentices that cross NSW borders to undertake training funded by the NSW Government are also eligible.

If you withdrew from your apprenticeship prior to 1 July 2018 and recommenced your apprenticeship with the same or a new employer and restarted your Smart and Skilled apprenticeship course after 1 July 2018, the remainder of your apprenticeship course will be free.

Apprenticeship FAQs

With more than 120 different apprenticeship courses available in NSW through VET, there’s something to suit everyone. Think about your strengths and interests, and the kind of work and industry you might enjoy.

Search all available apprenticeship courses and talk to a trusted adult, career advisor and local employers for support and guidance. Read about past VET students and be inspired by their stories.

Once you know the industry and apprenticeship course you’re interested in, you’ll need to find an employer who will take you on as a new apprentice. It’s like looking for a job – only with plenty of help and support available.

Polish up your CV and follow this 5-step process.

Step 1: Search apprenticeship courses. Find the one that most appeals.

Step 2: Secure an apprenticeship. Look for vacancies online, through group training organisations, the Apprenticeship Employment Network, and/or your school and community networks.

Step 3. Work with your employer and Apprenticeship Network Provider (ANP) to determine the apprenticeship course that best suits your work environment.

Step 4. Sign a training contract with your employer and ANP.

Step 5. Receive your training contract ID number and develop a full training plan. After completing a probationary period, your apprenticeship will be officially registered.

Smart and Skilled is a NSW Government program that offers subsidised training for courses on the NSW Skills List, which identifies industry areas that need more qualified workers.

To be eligible, you must be a NSW apprentice or NSW school-based apprentice, and have commenced your Smart and Skilled apprenticeship training after 1 July 2018.

If you have previously commenced your Smart and Skilled apprenticeship training before 1 July 2018 and are returning to an apprenticeship after 1 July 2018, you will be eligible for fee-free for the remainder of your training if your apprenticeship course or your employer has changed.

If you've started training with your training provider after 1 July 2018, you do not have to pay a fee. If you started training before this date, the student fee must still be paid.

If you have previously commenced your Smart and Skilled apprenticeship training before 1 July 2018 and are returning to an apprenticeship after 1 July 2018, you will be eligible for fee-free for the remainder of your training if your apprenticeship course or your employer has changed.

Only apprenticeship training commencing from 1 July 2018 is fee-free. You are still required to pay any outstanding fee to your training provider.

If you are part way through your apprenticeship training and were required to re-commence your training after 1 July 2018 due to a change of employer, the remainder of your training will be fee-free.

Only apprenticeships are eligible. Smart and Skilled Traineeship fees are capped at $1,000.

If you've started training with your training provider before 1 July 2018 you are not eligible for a refund. If the training component of your apprenticeship started after 1 July 2018, your training provider must refund the student fee(s) you have paid to date.

Smart and Skilled provides fee exemptions to students with a disability, which means you will not have to pay a fee.

You may also be entitled to financial support to help you complete an apprenticeship. There are employment agencies that specialise in providing assistance tailored to your individual circumstances.

Your employer may be eligible for financial help when they employ a person with disability. This can include wage subsidies through the support for Australian Apprentices with Disability program, or assistance to modify or adjust your workplace through the Employment Assistance Fund.

Smart and Skilled provides fee exemptions to Aboriginal students which means you will not have to pay a fee.

You may also be able to receive mentoring support under the Way Ahead for Aboriginal People program. Way Ahead mentors can provide you with guidance and support during your apprenticeship, and help you cope with some of the social and organisation pressures faced by Aboriginal people in the workplace.

For support from a Way Ahead mentor, please contact your local Training Services NSW centre on 13 28 11. There are also programs available if you're starting a new career or a new business.

Employers

Under its fee-free apprenticeship initiative, the NSW Government will pay the course fee for 100,000 new apprentices over the next six years – employers won’t have to pay a cent for the qualification training for new apprentices.

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-$2000 course fee direct to the Smart and Skilled training provider, meaning no more upfront fees for your business.

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