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Upskilling and retraining

Information about skills training courses and retraining programs.

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Courses and training programs

There is a wide range of new courses and training programs now available to help people boost their employment prospects, including:

  • What's Next? helps you decide what to do if you've been retrenched and looking for work
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) offers over 770 qualifications
  • Smart and Skilled - helping people to find new work or advance their careers through high-quality, affordable training
  • various career transition programs designed to build confidence and skills as people look to change the type of work they do

Many of the courses are free, or at reduced costs.

What's Next? If you lose your job

What’s Next? is run by the Australian Government and helps you decide what to do after you've lost your job or are looking to start a new career. It follows a 3-step process:

  1. Where do I stand? - helps you navigate the retrenchment process
  2. Get your next job - tips on understanding your local job market and how to go about finding work
  3. Try something new - information on education and retraining options as well as identifying transferable skills

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET partners with industry and government to provide people with workplace skills and technical knowledge to advance or change their careers, effectively offering a pathway to around 500 occupations.

With an emphasis on hands-on experience, courses concentrate on those occupational skills and competencies that employers increasingly demand.

Vocational Education and Training covers 8 of the 10 occupations predicted to have high jobs growth over the next few years. These include:

  • carers for children, the aged and disabled
  • software and application programmers
  • hospitality workers
  • advertising, public relations and sales

There are over 770 VET qualifications available ranging across Certificate I, II, III and IV, as well as Diploma courses and Advanced Diploma courses.

Smart and Skilled

Smart and Skilled aims to help people in NSW get the expertise they need to find a job, and advance or change their careers.

The training courses were developed by industry, community and job market experts, and cover many workplace sectors in NSW. Eligible students can receive:

  • access to subsidised training across 4 levels of certificates
  • funding for higher-level courses (Certificate IV and above) in priority areas of demand

Eligible students pay only a portion of the training cost. Fee exemptions and concessions are also available for disadvantaged students.

Skills Match

Skills Match is an interactive online tool from Job Outlook. It helps identify how your existing skills can be transferred to new employment options.

First, you enter jobs you’ve held, including any unpaid work. Then:

  • Skills Match lists a broad selection of abilities and expertise, broken down into various categories, associated with these past jobs
  • next, it outlines a range of new job ideas that use similar skills for you to consider

In response to coronavirus, a number of online short courses programs are now available. They offer practical skills and experiences across a range of industries.


TAFE NSW has developed a number of fee-free online courses that can generally be completed in just days or weeks. Note that:

  • eligibility requirements apply
  • there is a limit of 2 free courses per person
  • each short course requires various levels of commitment and time to complete

The free short courses are broadly divided across these categories:

  • developing administration skills
  • enhancing your digital impact
  • growing health and medical knowledge
  • improving leadership performance
  • strengthening practical business skills

In addition to the free short courses, other subsidised training is also offered, including:

  • mature-age scholarships
  • certification level training
  • Women in Business and other programs

University short courses


There are a range of online and on-campus university short courses available to help gain new skills or transition to a new career. 

The courses:

  • range from diplomas to graduate certificates 
  • cover a large range of topics
  • take up to 12 months to complete

Entry requirements vary for each course. If you need help with costs, you can apply to defer payment through the existing HECS-HELP program.

Open Universities Australia (OUA)

OUA is a collaboration between many Australian universities offering hundreds of degrees and single subjects online.

With potential disruption or downtime at work due to coronavirus, this could be an opportunity to:

  • expand your existing knowledge base
  • upskill to boost employment prospects
  • undertake new studies for a possible career change

Many of the shorter courses can be completed in weeks, and you earn credits towards a degree.

There are specialist programs to help people gain the confidence and skills to help them shift to a new career.

Career Transition Assistance (CTA)

CTA is run by the Australian Government and is for people aged 45 and older to build skills and confidence when applying for jobs.

You register with a jobactive provider and work together to:

  • identifying your goals and aspirations
  • better understand the local job market and the skills needed for those roles
  • gain confidence with using technology to search and apply for jobs


ParentsNext helps parents return to the workforce after an extended period off work due to childcare duties.

Many parents in this situation can often feel worried that their absence from the workforce can make it harder to find new work, or that they lack the relevant skills and training to compete for jobs.

ParentsNext service providers can offer support and guidance with:

  • childcare arrangements
  • establishing return-to-work programs and study options
  • locating employers offering child-friendly hours and flexible working conditions

In response to coronavirus, NSW’s adult and community education (ACE) providers have been given additional government funding to help them:

  • update courses with a greater mix of online content
  • develop their technical and teaching resources to improve online delivery

The community college sector has a unique focus during the pandemic on helping vulnerable students on a pathway to jobs by re-engaging them in learning and preparation for work.

Free IT courses online

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has compiled a wide range of free online tech courses.

They're offered by Australian and overseas universities as well as learning academies from across the world in response to coronavirus.

Courses cover many topics, from digital transformation and coding to 3D game development, and are aimed at all levels of learning.

Some of the participating institutions include:

Open Colleges is an Australian company providing online and face-to-face training and education services.

Their online courses cover a wide range of workplaces and skills that help students retrain, change or take the next step in their careers.

There are both certificate and diploma level courses plus nationally recognised qualifications offered across:

  • health
  • business
  • trades
  • childhood education
  • technology
  • design
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