Grant updates

22 February 2024: 2023–24 funding round closed.

13 November 2023: Applications for 2023–24 funding round opened.

3 August 2023: 2022–23 funding round projects announced – view the funded projects list (XLSX, 20KB).

Program overview

The Indigenous Workforce and Skills Development Grant (IWSDG) program funds Indigenous designed and led projects that support or respond to local training and workforce needs.

The IWSDG program recognises that skills and training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be more successful when solutions are designed and developed locally and supported by the community.

The program aims to create training and employment pathways for up to 800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to increase their likelihood of greater economic and social participation.

Up to $4 million will be available under the program until 30 June 2024 to fund Indigenous designed and led projects that support or respond to local training and workforce needs.

Grant delivery schedule

Funding year

Opening date

Closing date


22 February 2023

04 May 2023


13 November 2023

22 February 2024

The IWSDG program specifically targets Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are seeking local training and employment opportunities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples may also be indirectly assisted with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous employers being supported to create culturally safe and responsive workplaces.

The selection of participants is at the discretion of the funded organisation, subject to the eligibility criteria and in consultation with the Department of Employment Small Business and Training (DESBT).

This program must be delivered at no cost to participants.

The IWSDG program has a project-based delivery model and will fund Indigenous-led projects to address a training and skills challenge or opportunity, with a specific focus on activities that support job outcomes and improved economic participation and advantage.

We expect local solutions and new approaches will be developed to:

  • support transitions from school to training or work
  • increase training completions
  • build local workforce capability
  • ensure local non-Indigenous businesses have culturally safe workplaces.

We encourage Indigenous organisations to offer flexible projects that can be customised to meet individual needs and you can include a mix of the following face-to-face services and activities:

  • culturally safe training
    • delivery of fit-for-purpose, regionally responsive and culturally safe training approaches that are adapting to changing job markets and skills needs
    • development of training products to build cultural capability to transform workplace practices
    • delivery of, or referrals to, nationally recognised training to gain skill sets or qualifications up to Advanced Diploma level
    • delivery of 'soft' or 'essential' skills to promote job mobility so participants can thrive in any workplace
    • delivery of foundation skills (language, literacy, numeracy, digital and employability skills)
  • support services
    • provision of wrap around support, including meal programs, subsidised travel costs, interview outfits, driver licence assistance, case management, etc
    • delivery of integrated learner support, including career advice, resume writing, job search techniques and job readiness skills
    • provision of health and wellbeing support to build confidence
    • assistance with formal identification such as birth certificates, Medicare cards, tax file numbers, etc
  • connections with employers
    • provision of ongoing career coaching and mentoring
    • connection to local employers and/or peak industry bodies to advise on career options, workplace expectations and promote networking opportunities
    • provision of work experience opportunities
    • delivery of education sessions and workshops to increase cultural competency of local non-Indigenous employers to support employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander job seekers
    • delivery of culturally customised business training to support self-employment and build business skills to start a small business
    • provision of post-employment support
  • workforce planning and research
    • development of workforce plans – identifying ways to address local workforce challenges and opportunities in remote locations
    • delivery of action-based workforce planning initiatives such as flexible career and employment pathways
    • applied research and/or course development and product design.


The IWSDG program funds Indigenous organisations to deliver place-based projects that have a focus on assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into employment while addressing local training or workforce concerns for the community. The intent of this program is not to provide direct funding to individual Indigenous businesses to assist with expenses relating to core business activity such as operating costs, recruitment costs, staff attraction, wages, staff training and business development within your own organisation.

The following entities are not eligible to apply:

  • Indigenous businesses registered as an individual/sole trader
  • Indigenous businesses registered as partnerships.

Applicant organisations eligible for funding must be an Indigenous organisation, and:

  • be located in Queensland
  • have an ABN and be registered for GST
  • be an incorporated association or a public company limited by guarantee or a council
  • have past experience delivering employment, training and/or workforce development services
  • can provide company constitution, charitable constitution, or governance documentation
  • 50% of the board of directors identity as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.

Examples of eligible organisations can include:

  • Indigenous councils, corporations, organisations and institutes
  • Indigenous community groups and neighbourhood centres
  • Indigenous social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations
  • Indigenous organisations who are the only workforce or service provider in remote or discrete communities
  • Indigenous groups such as chambers of commerce.

Partnership arrangements between eligible organisations are strongly encouraged as there may be benefits to connecting and collaborating to generate effective solutions.

Funding available

A maximum of $250,000 of funding is available per project, for 12 months of delivery.

The amount of funding will be dependent on:

  • the location of project delivery
  • nature of the training and employment support to be provided
  • number of participants to be assisted
  • the additional activities or specialist services to be provided.

Application process

There will be 1 funding round held each year, for 2 years up until 2023–24, under a transparent and contestable application process.

One lead Indigenous organisation is to apply for and manage funding for each project.

Applications for the 2023–24 funding round opened 13 November 2023, and closed at 5pm, Thursday 22 February 2024.

Applications must be submitted via the Training and Skills Programs Portal.

Draft project proposal

Before applying, you are encouraged to submit a draft project proposal (DOCX, 636KB) to for review and feedback by your local DESBT Principal Indigenous Program Officer.

You can submit your draft project proposal at any time, however be aware of the funding round closing dates so that you allow enough time for feedback to be provided.

Grant writing workshops

The Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) and our local DESBT Principal Indigenous Program Officers held workshops in November and December 2023 across Queensland for Indigenous organisations interested in applying. Watch a recording of the statewide online workshop.

Training and Skills Programs Portal

Register for an account

Upon registering, you'll receive an email verifying your user account. Once your email address is confirmed, you'll be able to log on to the portal to create or associate your account to your organisation.

You must read and accept the portal terms of use and privacy statement.

Completing your application

Read the guide to applying for funding (PDF, 1.1MB) to assist you in writing and completing your application.

Follow these steps to submit your application:

  1. Login to your Training and Skills Programs Portal account (from anywhere and any device with internet access).
  2. Navigate to the 'Applications' tab and select the application form for the IWSDG program.
  3. Read and accept terms and conditions. Note you will have to accept these at the beginning of every application.
  4. Complete the application form, uploading any required supporting materials and using relevant templates supplied on the portal.
    1. You can complete your application over time.
    2. When you click on the 'Save & Next' button, your application is automatically saved. The portal does not save mid-page.
    3. Attachments can be PDF, DOC or DOCX and must be less than 10MB each.
  5. Review your application, ensuring it is completed, and read and accept declaration terms. From the last page of your application, you can review any part via the 'Applications' tab.
  6. Click the 'Save & Submit' button to lodge your funding application.

Once submitted, you'll receive an email confirming that your application has been received.

It is recommended you submit your application no later than 2 days prior to the closing date to ensure any unforeseen issues do not prevent you from applying. Incomplete and late applications are not considered.

Training and Skills Programs Portal support

For technical and other online application assistance:

Program documents

Applications for the 2022–23 funding round closed 4 May 2023 – view the funded projects list (XLSX, 20KB).

Paving the Way – the First Nations Training Strategy is the Queensland Government's plan to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' skills development and respond to local and community employment needs.

The $8.3 million strategy is a key commitment under the $200 million Future Skills Fund, which is focused on building the skills needed for future jobs and ensuring every Queenslander has the opportunity to participate.

Paving the Way is also supporting the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–32 to ensure Queensland has trained people to strengthen our communities and keep Queensland at the forefront of new economic opportunities.

Paving the Way includes actions and initiatives to help drive job opportunities across 3 focus areas:

  1. Indigenous-led training and workforce solutions
  2. Skills and training pathways that meet local workforce needs
  3. Cultural awareness and competency.

Contact us

For general enquiries about the Indigenous Workforce and Skills Development Grant program, email or phone 1300 369 935.

For specific enquiries about your application, contact your local DESBT regional office.

Last updated 22 February 2024

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