Funding for water industry training

State Funding Programs

User Choice Traineeship Funding

Funding is available under the User Choice Program for existing and new water industry employees in Queensland. Both Certificate II Water Operations and Certificate III Water Operations are subsidised under the program.

Both the Certificate II and III Water Operations are currently ‘Priority 1’ qualifications under the User Choice Program and the attainment of previous qualifications does not necessarily have an impact on eligibility unless the prior qualification/s were also funded through User Choice. As per the current User Choice Policy, a participant can access User Choice funding twice (i.e. complete two funded qualifications) provided that the second funded qualification is a Priority 1, a higher level than the first and higher priority than the first.

Only RTOs that are pre-qualified suppliers with the Department of Education and Training (DET) can deliver training under the User Choice Program. The subsidy is paid directly to the RTO on completion of units and reporting to DET.

A compulsory student services fee (paid by the employer or employee) must be charged by the RTO, this is a per nominal hour fee and is generally in the vicinity of $600-800 per student (for Certificate II and III Water Operations qualifications).

Students must be signed up to a formal training contract though an Apprenticeship Network Provider to access User Choice funding. For further details on specific eligibility requirements contact your local Apprenticeship Network Advisor.

The process for accessing User Choice Funding is:

  1. Choose an RTO.  Details of those eligible to deliver these traineeships are available here by typing in the search phrase "NWP" and using the 'Funded Under' filter to refine the search. Click on 'providers' to see eligible RTOs.   Details of each RTO's specialisations, delivery and costs are available here
  2. Contact the RTO and ask for a quote based on the number of people you have, advising that your people will be eligible for a User Choice traineeship.  The quote will need to have a compulsory student services fee, a cost for the training, plus costs for travel/ face to face delivery if that is what you require.  Agree on a price and level of service.
  3. Contact the Apprenticeship Network Provider servicing your region by typing in your postcode here. The APN will arrange to complete documentation required for signing the trainee up and assess eligibility for other funding, including Commonwealth incentives.
  4. The APN will confirm approval and the training can commence.
    Costs will vary depending on the qualification chosen, number of trainees, amount of face to face delivery and other factors.  Contact for assistance in interpreting your quotes.

Higher Level Skills

Funding is available under the Higher Level Skills (HLS) program for both Certificate IV Water Operations and Diploma Water Operations. To be eligible participants must not have completed (or be enrolled in) a Certificate IV or higher level qualification. Participants must also be employed in the water industry.

Similar to the User Choice funding RTOs must be pre-qualified suppliers and registered with DET to deliver training under the HLS program. Funding is paid directly to the RTO on completion of training requirements and reporting to DET.

Employers and employees can go directly to an approved RTO to access HLS funding.

Certificate 3 Guarantee

The Certificate 3 Guarantee provides a government subsidy to support eligible individuals to complete their first post-school certificate III qualification. It also supports Queensland's Year 12 graduates to transition to employment by providing fee-free training in high priority qualifications.

The Certificate III Water Operations is funded under the Cert 3 Guarantee program as a high priority.  

The current subsidy level is available on the Queensland Training Subsidies List. The subsidy is paid directly to the RTO as training is delivered and reported to the department.

Queensland Skills Gateway

Information on RTOs delivering water qualifications in Queensland as well as details on which RTOs are registered to deliver under particular funding programs is available on the Queensland skills Gateway website -


National Funding

Apprenticeship/ Traineeship employer incentives

The Australian Government has introduced a number of initiatives to assist employers who take on an Australian Apprentice (the term apprentice includes trainees).  Employers of Australian Apprentices may be eligible to claim a completion incentive payment of up to $3,000 for employing an Australian Apprentice at the Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level (subject to meeting the required eligibility criteria).

Assistance on all aspects of Australian Apprenticeships can be obtained from an Australian Apprenticeships Centre. To contact an Australian Apprenticeships Centre, please call the Australian Apprenticeships referral line on 13 38 73.