Refugee Council of Australia
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Information about education for refugees

Vocational education and training (VET) and apprenticeships

Vocational education and training (VET) provides training and skills for work. For many jobs in Australia, you need a VET qualification. At the lower level, these are called Certificates and Diplomas, but VET providers can also provide degrees.

This resource is provided by Australian Qualifications Framework.

This page explains the system for different educational qualifications in Australia.

Different organisations provide VET qualifications. There are Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions, which are funded by governments. Other organisations, called Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), are run privately. RTOs can offer some courses that are funded by government.

Another kind of vocational education and training is an apprenticeship or traineeship. An apprenticeship or traineeship means that you will be learning while you are working to complete a qualification. You can also qualify for more advanced training after completing an apprenticeship. You can combine paid work and structured training on the job or off the job – or both.

You can find out more information on vocational education and training, including apprenticeships, on the following websites.

This resource is provided by Australian Government.

This national directory provides information on training courses for school leavers, students, apprentices, and employers.

Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships provides information and tools for those looking to become or to hire apprentices and trainees.

The state or territory websites also provide more information, including about help with costs:

Vocational education and training for refugees and people seeking asylum

Victoria, New South Wales, and the ACT all offer help to refugees on temporary protection visas and people seeking asylum and refugees with vocational educational and training. As these people are not permanent residents, they are not generally able to get the kind of financial help that someone with a permanent visa or a citizen can get.


The NSW government offers fee-free training from 1 January 2017 for people holding any protection visa, humanitarian visa or a bridging visa if the person is living or working in NSW. The person must be at least 15 years old and no longer at school. The training can be for apprenticeships and traineeships, any course for a Certificate (I, II, III or IV) on the NSW Skilled List, and for higher-level courses identiifed as a priority by the Government. You may still need to pay costs for tools or field trips.


The Asylum Seeker Vocational Education Training (ASVET) program is a Victorian State Government funded initiative to allow refugees on temporary visas and people seeking asylum to get vocational qualifications. Anyone who has a temporary protection visa (Temporary Protection Visa or Safe Haven Enterprise Visa) or a Bridging Visa E or F with study rights can enrol. They can now enrol directly into a course run by a TAFE or a Learn Local provider, but for other providers they must be referred by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

This applies to Certificate and Diploma courses. This gives people access to courses at the same price as Australian citizens pay. They can also apply for free TAFE courses that have been identified by the Victorian Government as a priority.

Australian Capital Territory

Both the ACT’s Skilled Capital program and the Australian Apprenticeships program can be accessed by refugees on temporary visas or people seeking asylum, if they are at least 15 and not in school, and live or work in the ACT.

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Refugee Week 2022

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