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Workforce Skills Set Fund

A funding program that will invest in targeted training to meet emerging industry needs, as well as specialist and regional needs for employment outcomes


Not-for-profit groups, businesses, individuals

The Workforce Skills Set Fund (WSSF) is a funding program that will invest in targeted training to meet emerging industry needs, as well as specialist and regional needs for employment outcomes. It will complement the Funded Skill Set List (FSSL) launched in February 2021.

WSSF will inspire the testing of new models of developing and delivering skillsets.

It aims to encourage a broader cultural shift in training and workforce development by:

  • promoting dynamic partnerships between industry and training providers to identify and respond collaboratively to emerging workforce needs
  • increasing investment by industry through co-contribution (in-kind or financial).

The objectives of the WSSF are to:

  • strengthen the relationship between industry and training providers to ensure delivery of skillsets that provide quality workforce training and skill development
  • test skillsets offerings to upskill/reskill workforces, building an evidence base to support the development of the Skills First Skill Sets policy
  • improve the flexibility and responsiveness of Victoria's training system in meeting industry skill needs and enterprise training requirements
  • contribute to industry confidence/investment and broader economic recovery efforts.

Funding approach

$13 million in funding is available over 3 years on a rolling basis to projects of varying size, duration, and complexity. Funding will be made available through grants to training providers in partnership with employers and industry groups for the:

  • delivery of existing skill sets that may require further support for viability (Stream 1)
  • development and delivery of different accredited skill set combinations where there is evidence of a business or broader current or emerging need (Stream 2)
  • development and delivery of new skill set training, including the use of non-accredited elements where existing training does not meet the need of industry (Stream 3)

Applications seeking funding for non-accredited elements under Stream 3 will be assessed on suitability for potential to progress to formal accreditation.

Skills First Contract holders are invited to submit project applications which will be assessed against the program criteria for funding types.

  1. Grant funding

    Opened 25 October 2021


  • Funding will be managed under three (3) streams to provide targeted investment in identified areas of skillset development and delivery.

    All streams must demonstrate a partnership with an industry partner, including a co-contribution.

    Stream 1

    Grant to support delivery of existing skill sets.

    • Purpose: Supporting TAFEs to deliver existing skill sets potentially in thin markets (regional and specialist skill sets)
    • Eligible Grant Recipients: TAFEs
    • Funding Type: Payments linked to milestones

    Stream 2

    Grant to develop and deliver new skill sets from existing accredited units.

    • Purpose: Bundling existing accredited units in new ways to form new skill sets which meet local needs
    • Eligible Grant Recipients:All providers that hold a Skills First VET Funding Contract
    • Funding Type: Payments linked to milestones

    Stream 3

    Grant to develop and deliver new skill sets not met by existing accredited units.

    • Purpose: Supporting emerging industry through new training which will be considered for accreditation after successful piloting.
    • Eligible Grant Recipients
    • Funding Type: Payments linked to milestones


    Funded projects for delivery of Streams 1 and 2 are expected to be completed within 6 months of a grant being awarded.

    Funded projects for development and delivery of Stream 3 are expected to be completed within 12 months.

  • All Victorian training providers that hold a current Skills First VET Funding Contract are eligible to apply.

    Stream 1 proposals will be limited to TAFEs.

    Funding will not be considered for:

    • proposals that create an ongoing liability for Government.
    • proposals that are deemed more suitable for consideration under the Department’s other funding programs e.g. Regional and Specialist Training Fund (RSTF) or Workforce Training Innovation Fund (WTIF).
    • business as usual costs included in the “course overheads fees”.
  • 1. Industry need and impact / partnerships– 30%

    1.1 Criteria questions

    • What is the industry need for this skill set?
    • What are the reasons for the current skills gap?
    • Why are current options for training not meeting this demand?
    • List the occupations specific to industry/employer consultation.

    How this will be assessed

    • Describe the current skill gaps and how the gaps arose.
    • Describe how existing skill sets and training do not meet the needs identified by industry. Outline how the skill set outcome aligns with the skill need.
    • Detail how your proposal will be successful in meeting the demand, compared to other options.
    • Describe the expected outcomes / impact of this proposal will have for the employer / industry.
    • Describe how the expected outcomes will drive workforce training and skill development in the training and TAFE system (i.e. capacity for sector-wide benefits)

    Stream 2 and 3 only

    • Describe how existing skill sets do not meet identified industry needs

    1.2 Criteria questions

    • How will the industry/business partner satisfy a co-contribution towards the training proposal?

    How this will be assessed

    • Outline the proposed co-contribution by industry *Note: it is expected that a co-contribution by industry will be appropriate to the project’s stream and scale.

    1.3 Criteria questions

    • What consultation have you undertaken in the development of this proposal to ensure it will deliver the expected training benefits?
    • What consultation have you undertaken to ensure that the project outcomes are sustainable in the future?

    How this will be assessed

    • Demonstrate industry linkages and industry support for the provision of this training
    • List the stakeholders that you have consulted with and the nature of the consultation
    • Provide evidence of consultation such as industry letters that provide information about job vacancies, the need for trained candidates, current and future employment opportunities
    • Provide evidence of endorsement and recognition of the skill set for industry

    Criteria 2: Training Delivery Capability, Capacity and Approach – 30%

    2.1 Criteria questions

    • Describe your strategy to meet the proposed timeline of your proposal.

    How this will be assessed

    • Detail the readiness of the project
    • Upload a completed project plan

    2.2 Criteria questions

    • What is your capability/capacity to manage the project?

    How this will be assessed

    • Provide information on previous projects you have undertaken that demonstrate capability and capacity to deliver this project
    • Detail project risks and mitigation strategies. (Section in the Project on a Page template).
    • Indicate whether a trainer and assessor (Standards for RTO’s Clauses 1;13 – 1.16) (streams 1 & 2) has been allocated or will be recruited. If recruited, outline your recruitment strategy including timelines
    • What strategies / tools will you use to manage the project and the project partnerships to deliver the project on time and on budget?

    Stream 3 only

    • Provide details on the approach you will take to develop new units and/or training components including who will project manage, subject matter expertise, engagement of course developers, etc.
    • Provide details how potential trainer and assessors will meet the Standards for RTO’s Clause 1.13 (a, b and c) when the Skill Set is eventually accredited.

    2.3 Criteria questions

    • How will the delivery of this skill set meet industry needs?
    • What is the rationale for your proposed mode of delivery for the selected course?
    • What is the rationale for any components of on-the-job and campus-based delivery?

    How this will be assessed

    • Upload a copy of the Training and Assessment Strategy (TAS) for the WSSF application. The TAS should include:
      • when you intend to commence training
      • a percentage breakdown of the mode of delivery (e.g., Classroom/practical/on-line/self-supervised study)
      • details of any units where there is a requirement of mandatory work placement or structured workplace training. Please include how many hours are required and the arrangements that you will implement for work placement or structured workplace training.
    • Outline the expected impact on workplace productivity

    Criteria 3: Student Attraction and Retention – 15%

    3.1 Criteria questions

    • Who will be the target student cohort/s for this training?
    • How will you attract students to this training?

    How this will be assessed

    • Define the target student cohort/s. (You will need to report on this number regardless of the type of funding applied for)
    • Detail the student recruitment strategies that you will use for this proposal. This may include:
      • Partnerships with industry
      • An existing student pipeline from industry
      • Promotion through industry associations

    3.2 Criteria questions

    • What strategies will you put in place to ensure students remain engaged in the training and high retention rates are achieved?

    How this will be assessed

    • Outline any wrap around services that you will provide to students including language literacy numeracy (LLN) support, counselling services, special needs support, inclusiveness policy and strategies
    • Detail any pathway opportunities or entry and exit points for students

    Criteria 4: Cost to deliver, value for money and sustainability – 15%

    4.1 Criteria questions

    • What are the costs for this proposal?
    • How do they provide value for money?
    • What is your sourcing strategy?

    How this will be assessed

    • Provide breakdown on costings. Complete the Grant Budget Template and upload in the online portal.
    • Detail the extent of any co-investment
    • Provide detailed evidence of costs associated with course delivery
    • Once established, will this course remain sustainable beyond the initial WSSF funding
    • Explain how you have ensured that the costs are delivering value for money for the Victorian community
    • Have you aligned to Victorian Government procurement policies, if so, which? (Procurement Policies and Framework)External Link

    4.2 Criteria questions

    • Over what period of time will this training meet the needs of industry?
    • Will there be a continued need after the project?

    How this will be assessed

    • Detail whether the training is to meet an immediate industry need
    • If there is a continued need, over what time period do you expect the need to continue
    • Detail sustainability methods and strategy for provision of this course beyond the initial WSSF funding period
    • Explain how the project provides new learnings for the training and TAFE system, industry and government

    Criteria 5: Evaluation and Outcomes – 10%

    5.1 Criteria questions

    • How are you going to measure the impact of your project?
    • Describe how you will capture lessons learnt from the project?

    How this will be assessed

    • Explain how the project, taken as a whole, will be evaluated, including the measures of success and outcomes.
    • Examples of evaluation questions:
      • How has industry benefited from the project?
      • How many students gained employment or were upskilled at the end of their training?
      • Have student and employer satisfaction increased?
      • Are the project outcomes sustainable?
      • Has the program been delivered within its scope, budget and expected timeframe?

    Attach the completed Evaluation Plan Template.

  • The department will assess applications against the program criteria:

    1. Industry need and impact / partnerships– 30%
    2. Training delivery capability, capacity and approach – 30%
    3. Student attraction and retention – 15%
    4. Cost to delivery, value for money and sustainability – 15%
    5. Evaluation and outcomes – 10%

    Preference will be given to applications that demonstrate:

    • strong industry backing; and
    • clear employment pathway for training participants.

    There is an expectation that industry will make a co-contribution.

    If the we receive an application that has the potential to duplicate an existing submission or project, we may recommend that applicants collaborate to obtain the best outcome for the project.

  • Expressions of Interest (EOIs) and applications can be lodged at any time throughout the year.

    To lodge your interest, complete the Workforce Skills Set Fund EOIExternal Link .

    A department representative will contact you within five business days to discuss your proposal and suitability for the fund.

    If your EOI is deemed viable, we'll send you a link to the online grant application form.

    Applications are to address the program criteria.

    At the time of application, the following templates must be completed and uploaded into the online application system:

    For general queries, information on facilitation support, online information events or to register for email notifications and updates, email


  • When must applications be submitted?

    The Workforce Skill Set Fund is a rolling fund. Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the year.

    Potential applicants are invited to make an expression of interest.

    For applications lodged any period after 30 November 2021, the department commits to reviewing applications within 6 weeks.

    What information must I include in my application?

    Please refer to the application guidelines.

    Can I submit more than one application?

    Yes, eligible providers can make more than one application. Each application will be judged against the eligibility criteria.

    If I am proposing skill sets with different industry partners will each proposal require its own discreet application?

    Yes, separate applications are expected to be submitted by a lead provider for each skill set aligned to an industry partner.

    If a lead provider partners with more than one industry partner to develop and deliver a single skill set, then only one application is required.

    Who can apply?

    The lead applicant must be a training provider that currently holds a Skills First contract with the department.

    Can a not-for-profit apply for funding?

    A not-for-profit can partner with a Skills First contract holder to deliver a skill set.

    Are there specific eligibility criteria for this fund?

    Yes, there are five things that the department will consider as part of an application assessment.

    1. Industry Needs and Impact (30 per cent)
    2. Training Delivery Capability, Capacity and Approach (30 per cent)
    3. Student Attraction and Retention (15 per cent)
    4. Cost to deliver, value for money and sustainability (15 per cent)
    5. Evaluation and Outcomes (10 per cent)

    Please refer to the guidelines under heading Eligibility.

    All applications will be assessed by the Department of Education and Training against these five program criteria.

    If my submission is not successful, can I submit a revised application?

    Yes, you will be provided with a high-level summary outlining why your applications was not successful.

    What proposals are not eligible under the Workforce Skill Set Fund?

    Funding will not be considered for:

    • proposals that create an ongoing liability for Government
    • proposals that are deemed more suitable for consideration under the department’s other funding programs e.g. Regional and Specialist Training Fund or Workforce Training Innovation Fund
    • business as usual costs included in the “course overheads fees”.

    Is there a cap on the amount requested for each application?

    No, there is no cap on an application request.

    What are the total funds available under the WSSF?

    The Workforce Skill Set Fund will provide $4.5 million per year with an overall total of $13 million over three years.

    What kind of budget do I need to provide?

    A budget is required as part of the application, as well as a rationale demonstrating the proposal represents value for money.

    The budget template is in the How to apply section.

    A copy of the budget template is also provided as part of the Workforce Skill Set Fund online application.

    Each line item of expenditure and income will be considered by the assessors, so please ensure the budget is explained clearly.

    Can I apply for funding that supports the development of training and assessment resources?

    Yes, you can. The Workforce Skill Set Fund supports the development of quality training and assessment resources to provide the best learning outcomes to the learner.

    How do co-contributions work?

    The requirement for a co-contribution has been included to demonstrate industry investment in training. It is expected that the co-contribution will be proportional to the funding project request.

    A co-contribution may be a financial contribution to offset costs. It could also be non-financial and include items such as providing equipment, a work site, materials, and subject matter expertise.

    Can industry co-contributions include wages for participants undertaking the training?

    No, the cost of a wages for a participant undertaking the training is not part of the training delivery cost, and therefore cannot be counted as a co-contribution.

    How many units of competency can I include under a Stream Three skill set?

    Skill sets may consist of a single unit, or combinations of units.

    Can my application mix streams i.e. some accredited units plus a non-accredited one?

    If the skill set proposal includes a mix of some accredited units and non-accredited units then it should be submitted as a proposal under Stream Three.

    Who will own the intellectual property of training developed?

    It is expected that contracts will require an intellectual property (IP) licence be provided to the department to enable us to share training materials.

    Is there an expectation that successful pilots will be included on the Funded Skill Set List?

    Successfully piloted skill sets will be considered for inclusion on the Funded Skill Set List (FSSL) where it fulfils the FSSL criteria and demonstrates demand.

    Successfully piloted Stream Three skill sets that include non-accredited elements will be expected to be tracked towards accreditation.

    Can the learner be new to the workplace, or can they be existing employees?

    It is expected that most proposals will involve learners new to the workplace. However, there may be situations where a learner can be an existing employee.

    A skill set may be designed to meet requirements for entry into an industry or workforce and be a pathway to a full qualification.

    Alternatively, there may be a regulatory change, or introduction of technology that requires upskilling of existing employees in a particular industry.

    It is expected that the applicant articulates the reasons for the choice of learner as part of their proposal.

    Are programs aimed at secondary school students eligible under this initiative?

    No, this initiative is not targeting students enrolled in secondary schools.

    What is the difference between a pre-requisite and an entry requirement?

    A pre-requisite is specified when the learner must be assessed as competent prior to completing a subsequent unit.

    An entry requirement can include a range of conditions including age, licenses, completion of a specific unit or a qualification.

    Can we mandate entry requirements for learners?

    Skill sets aimed at an industry licence or accreditation must identify all of the requirements of that licence or accreditation (including any possible entry requirements such as minimum age) and explain how learners can readily attain the desired outcome.

    If your proposal uses a skill set defined in a training package you are required to meet any entry requirements specified.

    If you are creating a skill set using units from a training package and/or accredited training or from existing units and non-accredited components, then it is important to limit entry requirements to what is essential for successful completion of the training.

    What detail do we need to provide regarding entry requirements?

    Where entry requirements are identified, a rationale must be provided and expressed in terms of competency or licensing requirements.

    You should also clearly identify where any entry requirements are set by your RTO and are not an entry requirement of the training product you develop for each Stream.

    Refer to Section Four - Training Package Products PolicyExternal Link as guidance.

    Can learners be made to complete pre-requisites if I develop a Stream Three Skill Set?

    Pre-requisite units must only be used where essential to achieving the subsequent competency.

    It is important to identify any pre-requisite and co-requisite units, and the sequence of delivery and assessment.

Reviewed 03 April 2023