What is the Certificate 3 Guarantee?
The Certificate 3 Guarantee gives eligible individuals the opportunity to complete a full certificate III qualification that leads to a job outcome or career advancement. To do this, the Queensland Government subsidises the cost of training for eligible students and provides greater choice by allowing more training providers to deliver government subsidised training.
The investment priority or importance of the training determines the size of the government subsidy. Training in vocational areas that align with important economic and industry skill needs receives a higher government subsidy. A higher subsidy is also paid to support participation by disadvantaged learners and for local delivery into country and remote areas in Queensland, and in Cape York and the Torres Strait.
Can any training provider deliver Certificate 3 Guarantee courses?
Only training providers approved by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training to deliver training and assessment services can deliver subsidised courses through the Certificate 3 Guarantee program. The department's approved training providers are called pre-qualified suppliers.
Are students eligible for Certificate 3 Guarantee if they hold an overseas qualification?
As part of the assessment process to determine if a prospective student meets all eligibility criteria to undertake Queensland Government subsidised training, the pre-qualified supplier must make an informed judgment about the person's education qualification gained overseas and whether it would enable the person to gain or qualify for their desired employment in Queensland. The pre-qualified supplier must clearly document their reasons for how they arrived at that opinion or evaluation, and be able to present this information at audit.
If a student holds an overseas qualification that has been recognised by an Australian professional body or other organisation as meeting the registration or licensing requirements for a specific occupation then the student would be deemed not eligible to access the Certificate 3 Guarantee.
If a student holds an overseas qualification that does not meet the Australian Qualifications Framework standards, the student may be eligible to access a Certificate 3 Guarantee equivalent qualification or undertake study in a different area, if considering a change in career.
The department provides overseas qualification recognition assessment services. For more information visit the Overseas Qualifications Recognition page.
Are students who hold qualifications that are not Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) qualifications eligible under the Certificate 3 Guarantee?
Students who hold a bachelor degree or higher level qualification awarded by a tertiary college or university in Australia are not eligible to access the Certificate 3 Guarantee as these qualifications form part of, and are nationally recognised within, the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
Students who hold a Certificate level I to Advanced Diploma qualification issued prior to the introduction of the Australian Qualifications Framework in 1995 are eligible to access the Certificate 3 Guarantee.
Can students complete more than one certificate III level qualification through the Certificate 3 Guarantee program?
No - students are entitled to access government subsidised training for one completed Certificate III qualification. For this reason, it is very important that prior to signing an enrolment form and committing to a course of study which will use up the entitlement, students take the time to consider the course they are choosing and to compare training options and costs
Can students already completing a certificate III qualification access the Certificate 3 Guarantee?
No - to be eligible to receive the Certificate 3 Guarantee, students must not already hold, or be currently studying a certificate III or higher level qualification. This includes any equivalent certificate III or higher level training completed at university or through an apprenticeship or traineeship. It does not matter if you paid for this training or it was subsidised by the government.
However certificate III qualifications completed while at school and foundation skills courses are not counted and you will still be eligible for the Certificate 3 Guarantee.
Is a student who has deferred from university eligible under the Certificate 3 Guarantee?
Students who have deferred from university are still enrolled at university and are therefore ineligible under the Certificate 3 Guarantee.
Can students get additional training to prepare them for a Certificate 3 Guarantee qualification?
Yes - when students enrol in a subsidised qualification under the Certificate 3 Guarantee, their training provider assesses them to identify if they need extra training support. If they do, they can access help with reading, writing and maths (called Foundation Skills) or related certificate I and/or certificate II courses which lead to the certificate III qualification. The cost of this extra training is subsidised under the Certificate 3 Guarantee Program.
What happens if my training provider stops offering a Certificate 3 Guarantee qualification I am enrolled in?
Under the training provider's contract with the department, if the training provider stops delivering your course, the training provider is obligated to assist you to move to another pre-approved training provider so you can complete your training.
If a student continues their qualification with another training provider, do they get recognition for the training they have already completed?
Yes - the first training provider must supply the student with a Statement of Attainment which shows any units of competency they have completed for the course or qualification. The student must present the Statement of Attainment to the new training provider so that their previous completed units of competency can be recognised.
Does the Certificate 3 Guarantee cover all training costs?
Individuals are expected to contribute to the cost of their training through a co-contribution fee. The amount of out of pocket expense for students through the co-contribution fee will vary from course to course and between different training providers.
The co-contribution fee must represent the total cost to the student and include any enrolment charges, tuition fees, services fees, material fees and all other costs associated with delivery.
Full costs are covered by the Queensland Government as part of free tafe for Year 12 graduates.
What fees can a student be charged under the Certificate 3 Guarantee?
The training provider is required to charge a co-contribution fee for students undertaking a Certificate III qualification and non-concessional students undertaking lower-level vocational qualifications. All training providers must advertise co-contribution fees up front and allow students to compare training provider fees. The co-contribution fee may be paid by the student or on their behalf by an employer or another third party but cannot be paid by the training provider.
More information about co-contribution fees is outlined within the relevant program policy. As per the relevant program policy, training providers can, but are not required to charge a co-contribution fee to students undertaking foundation skills training and concessional students undertaking Certificates I and II (lower level vocational qualifications). Also, participants of Skilling Queenslanders for Work, free tafe for Year 12 graduates and VET in Schools cannot be charged a co-contribution fee.
Are there concessional rates under the Certificate 3 Guarantee?
The Queensland Government pays a higher level of subsidy for qualifications undertaken by concessional students. This should enable training providers to reduce fee costs for these participants and/or provide extra learning support. The following students are entitled to concessions:
- students (or their partner or guardian) who hold a Health Care or Pensioner Concession Card;
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students;
- school students enrolled in a VETiS program;
- students with a disability; or
- students who are adult prisoners.
How are subsidy levels worked out?
The size of the government subsidy varies for each qualification based on the relative priority of the occupation aligned to the qualification, and the indicative value of the qualification based on relative length and complexity of training delivery.
This means high priority qualifications will be subsidised at a higher percentage, and generally a higher dollar value, than low priority qualifications. High priority qualifications align to the skills needs of industry and Queensland's economy, and support employment opportunities. High priority qualifications are identified based on national skills shortages, Queensland Government commitments, and other evidence relating to training pathways shown to be effective in supporting job outcomes for graduates.
What can I do if I am charged extra or ongoing fees by my training provider?
All training providers are required to advertise their fees and provide you with a breakdown of all costs in a training fact sheet or information summary for the qualification. If you are charged a fee that was not agreed upon prior to commencing the course, speak with the training provider about this. If you are unable to resolve this with the training provider, contact the department on 1300 369 935 or email
Are fees for a qualification the same when students change training providers?
Not necessarily, the amount of your out-of-pocket expense varies depending on the course you select and the training provider you choose. All training providers must clearly advertise their co-contribution fees upfront to enable students to compare fees before choosing to continue their training with another training provider.
Are students reimbursed for the costs of training they have incurred to date if they withdraw from the course?
This depends on each training provider's refund policy. This is why it is very important that students clearly understand the terms and conditions in the training provider's refund policy and clarify any concerns they may have, prior to finalising their enrolment and commencing training.