Studying in Victoria

Since the end of 2010, asylum seekers have been able to access government-subsidised
courses in Victoria thanks to a grant from the Victorian Government. This is only
possible if they have been referred to the course by the Asylum Seeker
Resource Centre.

The courses open to asylum seekers are part of the Victorian Education and Training (VET)
system, and include Certificate 1 to Certificate 4 in a range of areas, such as:

  • Aged Care and Health Services Assistance
  • Transport and Logistics
  • Warehousing
  • Disability work
  • Some trades

Under this agreement with the Victorian Government, asylum seekers can only study
courses that offer a concession fee (or ‘government-subsidised place’). For instance,
since July 2012, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas have stopped offering concession fees.
Asylum seekers can only study at that level if they pay full fees.

Asylum seekers can only study at university in Australia if they pay full fees – several
thousand (sometimes tens of thousand) dollars.

Asylum seekers under the age of 18 can attend school.

These qualifications are nationally accredited, which means they are recognised all over Australia.

In Victoria, you are only allowed one government-subsidised course at each level (Cert 1, 2, 3, or 4). It doesn’t matter if they are in different study areas or if you have paid for a course yourself: if you have done a course at a certain level, you can only ‘upskill’ by undertaking a course at a higher level than your existing qualification. It is very important to consider this when choosing a course.

The only exceptions are if you are under the age of 20 (you can do several courses at the same level) or if one of these courses is an English course.

Also, you are only allowed to enrol in two courses per calendar year (January to December).

Most courses take between three months and a year to complete. It takes time to learn. Some courses may be shorter, and can be completed in 4 to 5 weeks.

However no subject can be studied in one or two weeks.

You will see advertising in newspapers and on-line for ‘free courses’ that can be completed in one week, while the same course is offered elsewhere over three or six months. There is a reason why a course takes a long time, and it is not possible to learn in one week what can take three months elsewhere.

Work placements

Some courses (such as Aged Care or Health Services Assistance) will offer work placements. The longer the work placement, the more you will learn and the easier it will be for you to find a job.

Many students find work where they did their work placements, but this does not happen if the placement only lasted two days as the employer did not get a chance to really see how well they work. Once again, there is a reason why it is better to do a work placement for a month rather than a day or two.

Employers know this, and do not support these very short courses. They much prefer that you have studied for several months and have done a work placement, because it means you will be more knowledgeable and more ready to start work.

And remember! Once you have done a certificate at a certain level, you cannot do it again, even if you feel you didn’t really learn much.

So don’t waste your chance to study, do it well, with a qualification that is well regarded.

In order to be eligible for VET funding, you must be referred by the ASRC. The ASRC is the only agency in Victoria that is able to get a government-subsidised place for you.

If you approach a course provider yourself, or choose a course that is not supported by the ASRC, you will need to pay full fees.

The ASRC ASSET program will help you find a course that meets your interest, provide useful skills and gives you a good chance to get a job. We only support courses with good employment outcomes and we will not support you to do a course in a sector where it is very difficult to find work.

Our role is to provide advice to you about what courses are available to meet your interest, but also about what is possible. You may need to build up your writing skills and study skills before you can study what you want.  Your ASSET worker has the right to refuse to put you into the course you want to do if they think you are at high risk of failing.  They will always offer an alternative.

We will give you all the paperwork you need to enroll, including a referral letter and a ‘Referral to government-Subsidised funding’ with your photo and details. Without these documents, you cannot get a government-subsidised place.

Once you are in the course, we will call you to check how you are going.