Training, Qualification & Pathways

Aboriginal people often face barriers to taking up opportunities in further education or employment. These barriers are multiple and varied.

This section contains information from National, State and Territory sectors on training initiatives and mechanisms that are available to support successful transitions into further study, training or employment.


Training incentives and assistance schemes

The Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme for VET (2009-11) provides funding to support up to 2 hours of targeted tuition per subject per week to Indigenous students enrolled and studying Australian Qualifications Framework accredited VET courses at eligible non-government VET institutions.

Supplementary Recurrent Assistance (2009-11) provides supplementary per capita assistance to eligible non-government VET Institutions with a minimum Indigenous enrolment of 20 full time equivalent students to assist them to accelerate educational outcomes for their Indigenous students.
The Training Initiatives for Indigenous Adults in Regional and Remote Communities Program (2007-11) provides funding to attract, engage and support Indigenous adults in regional and remote communities to access vocational education and training opportunities, including the Australian Government’s additional training places as part of Skilling Australia for the Future policy.

The Indigenous Regional Projects element of the Industry Training Strategies Program provides support for a range of innovative projects and initiatives that assist key stakeholders to improve the participation of Indigenous Australians in nationally recognised training and skills development programs, specifically Australian Apprenticeships and training packages which lead to sustainable employment.

The Australian Apprenticeships Access Program (2008-13) provides vulnerable job seekers that experience barriers to entering skilled employment with nationally recognised pre-vocational training, support and assistance.

Financial support

A range of general financial support programs are available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertake further study. Each program has a specific set of eligibility criteria.


ABSTUDY provides living allowance and supplementary benefits to assist students to complete secondary schooling and go on to further education.

Commonwealth Scholarship Program aims to facilitate choice in higher education and increase higher education participation for Indigenous students. There are two main types:

  • Indigenous Commonwealth Education Costs Scholarships which are generally to assist with education costs
  • Indigenous Commonwealth Accommodation Scholarships which are generally to assist with accommodation costs.

The Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (2010-13) provides funding to universities to undertake activities and implement strategies that improve access to undergraduate courses for people from low SES backgrounds and improve their retention and completion rates.

The Pensioner Education Supplement helps with some of the ongoing costs of education to assist recipients to gain qualifications to make them competitive in the labour market.

Employment – Indigenous-specific programs

The reformed Indigenous Employment Program began on 1 July 2009. The Australian Government has committed over $750 million over five years to make the program more responsive to the needs of Indigenous job seekers and employers. It includes:

  • The Indigenous Capital Assistance Scheme which offers Indigenous businesses access to commercial finance, and culturally appropriate professional and mentoring support services.
  • The Indigenous Wage Subsidy which provides financial assistance to employers who employ Indigenous Australians.
  • The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) Work Experience Subsidy which provides wage subsidies to employers who offer paid work experience to new CDEP participants who are on income support.
  • Indigenous Cadetship Support which links Indigenous students undertaking diplomas, advanced diplomas and undergraduate degree courses and employers in an arrangement that involves full-time study and work placements.
  • The Aboriginal Employment Strategy which provides individually tailored assistance to help Indigenous job seekers prepare for, gain and retain jobs.

The Australian Employment Covenant initiative marks a commitment between Australian Employers, the Australian Government and Indigenous Australians to break the cycle of unemployment and poverty by adopting a “learn or earn” policy. It aims to secure 50,000 sustainable jobs for Indigenous Australians, and 50,000 workplace mentors.

The Indigenous Opportunities Policy  aims to promote employment, training and business opportunities for Indigenous Australians, where Commonwealth projects involve expenditure over $5 million ($6 million for construction) in regions where there are significant Indigenous populations.

The Australian Apprenticeships Pathways website contains many links to assist the employee and employer.

Apprenticeship Office

The Department of Training and Workforce Development’s ApprentiCentre registers training contracts and gives advice and support to employers, apprentices and trainees, parents and guardians, through every stage of the apprenticeship and traineeship process. ApprentiCentre has staff who can help with all aspects of apprenticeships and traineeships.  Call 13 19 54 or visit the website.


Employing People

‘Small Business WA” provides general information on employment issues and practices.