Are you eligible for a government-subsidised place?


Vocational Education and Training students

Skills First is a Victorian Government scheme that helps people access vocational education and training (VET). If you are eligible, the government will contribute to the cost of your training.

You can check if you are eligible for a government-subsidised place by referring to the Check your eligibility information on the government’s website, the Victorian Skills Gateway.


Note: The check your eligibility information is a guide only; if you meet the criteria listed, it does not guarantee you a government-subsidised place in a nationally recognised course at Melbourne City Institute of Education (MCIE). MCIE will conduct a full assessment of your eligibility during the enrolment process.


Location and citizenship

You must:

  • be an Australian citizen, or hold a permanent residence visa, or a New Zealand citizen (visa 444)
  • reside in Victoria for all of your studies


Age and prior education

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.)

Education history

You must not:

  • be currently enrolled in secondary school. This includes students enrolled in any government, non-government, independent, catholic or home school. School-based apprentices and trainees are exempt from this criterion
  • be enrolled in the Commonwealth Government’s Skills for Education and Employment program
  • have started, or be due to start, more than two programs in a government subsidised place in the same calendar year
  • be currently enrolled in two or more programs in government-subsidised places at the same time
  • have, in your lifetime, started two or more programs in a government-subsidised place at the same AQF level (e.g. Diploma) as the program you are applying for


Eligibility requirements for apprentices

An apprentice is a person who has entered into a registered training contract to study a qualification defined as an apprenticeship in a relevant Victorian Approved Training Scheme.

You are not considered an apprentice if you:

  • have entered into a training contract registered interstate
  • are undertaking a pre-apprenticeship
  • have a registered training contract in a qualification defined as a traineeship in a relevant Victorian Approved Training Scheme.

If you are an apprentice, you only need to provide proof that you meet the location, citizenship, and education history criteria in order to be eligible for a government-subsidised place.

If you are commencing an apprenticeship and have already started or are scheduled to start qualifications on the Victorian Government’s list of Approved Pre-Apprenticeship and Pathway Qualifications, you may still be eligible to enrol in two other vocational education programs in a government-subsidised place.


Government initiatives

If you are referred to training under a special initiative, you may not need to meet certain criteria to be eligible for a Victorian government-subsidised place. Specific initiatives include:


What are my options if I’m not eligible?

If you are ineligible for a government-subsidised place, you may be offered a full-fee place. Full Fees for courses offered by MCIE are listed on the course page of MCIE’s website.

Students who wish to enrol in a course on a full-fee basis may wish to take advantage of a loan through Study Loans, an Australian dedicated private student loan provider.


Fee concessions

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a concession to help reduce the amount of fees you need to pay. Tuition fees concessions are available for government-subsidised training in all courses below diploma level; and for training at any level (including diploma level and above) for Indigenous students.

Please ask on of our Education Consultants for more information.


Need help?

MCIE regularly holds information sessions for all of our courses. If you have any questions about your eligibility for a government-subsidised place or fee concession, or just have more questions about any of our courses, please contact our Education Consultants or call on 1300 737 004 between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday.

More information is available in the Eligibility for Government Subsidies Fact Sheet.


Do you need to improve your skills, but cannot afford the time or money to attend TAFE or University? You could consider a traineeship.
  • Traineeships combine paid work with learning
  • Traineeships round out your skills, and give you up to date knowledge
  • Traineeships are customised and flexible
  • Traineeships result in a nationally recognised qualification

Traditionally students would need to spend their own time attending training. A traineeship is a great way to build or further your career while getting paid for it, which means less personal time spent learning.

About Traineeships

There are three main types of traineeships:
  • New entrant – for new workers who wish to learn and gain a nationally recognised qualification
  • Existing Worker traineeships – for staff who are looking to formalise their skills and validate the hard work they have done, and gain job security for the future
  • School based Traineeships –  gain vocational qualifications at Certificate II and III levels through a combination of classroom training and paid work-based experience, while undertaking Year 11 or Year 12


Meeting the needs of adult learners:
  • Flexible learning opportunities – trainees have a choice of learning options, and encouragement to learn in a way that meets learning styles or preferences
  • Relevant learning – trainees receive encouragement to implement learning on the job
  • Learning that incorporates experience – existing worker traineeships encourage growth and personal development


Employer Incentives

The Australian Government has introduced a number of initiatives to assist employers who take on an Australian Apprentice or Trainee, particularly where the Australian Apprenticeship or Traineeship is in a trade experiencing a skills shortage. These initiatives provide financial incentives to eligible employers through the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program.


For information on what incentives your organisation may be eligible for, visit Australian Apprenticeships.


Are you a job seeker needing to upskill?
Centrelink is the Australian Government agency that provides social security payments and services including family assistance payments. It is also the gateway to Job Services Australia which assesses, registers and refers job seekers.


When applying for Centrelink benefits please quote the MCIE client code: 3P784

Transition to Work Assistance – Additional Child Care Subsidy

Are you a parent transitioning to work who needs support to attend training?

The Additional Child Care Subsidy is one of three components of the Child Care Safety Net, which aims to give the most vulnerable children a strong start, while supporting parents into work.

The Additional Child Care Subsidy is a top up payment in addition to the Child Care Subsidy which will provide targeted additional fee assistance to families and children facing barriers in accessing affordable child care.

The Additional Child Care Subsidy has four elements:

  • Child Wellbeing
  • Grandparents
  • Temporary Financial Hardship
  • Transition to Work

Additional Child Care Subsidy (transition to work) will provide support to families who are transitioning to work from income support by engaging in work, study or training activities.

Visit the Department of Education website for more information.

Small Business Grants

Are you planning to start up your own business?

Business Victoria offers a range of Programs, Grants and Assistance for people starting their own business.

Study Loans

Do you want to be a student but can’t self-fund the course?

Study Loans is Australia’s first dedicated private student loan provider. They offer highly competitive rates, allowing you to borrow all or part of the cost through a responsible funding method. You simply pay-as-you-go with simple terms & conditions. Take a look at their dedicated courses page about us to choose what you want to study with the help of Study Loans funding. 

Note: VET Student Loans must be repaid.

JobTrainer is an investment of more than $201 million into the vocational education and training (VET) sector. This joint initiative between the Federal Government will allow new workers, school leavers, apprentices, and trainees to access free and low cost training.


What courses are being funded?

JobTrainer provides free and low cost training for industries, regional, and remote locations where there are identified skill shortages. These industries include social welfare, health, transport, warehousing, postal, manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade.

Free and low costs courses will range from nationally recognised qualifications (Certificate I — Advanced Diploma), plus short courses and skill sets that support licences, permits, and academic pathways.


How much will the courses cost?

Approximately 88,900 training places will be subsidised under JobTrainer.


Who is eligible for JobTrainer?

To qualify for a free or low cost course under JobTrainer you must be; aged 17-24 years of age or currently unemployed (this includes people who are new to the workforce or need to re-skill because they lost their job) or receiving an income support payment (eg, JobSeeker, Austudy, Youth Allowance). Certificate-IV-in-Commercial-Cookery