Survivors of domestic and family violence and their dependents will be eligible for fee-free vocational training, in a measure designed to help people across NSW gain financial independence and stability. The program will begin from 1 July 2016 and is an extension of the fee-free scholarship scheme made possible through the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled vocational training policy.

Fleeing domestic violence can be the most challenging decision anyone makes and this program will encourage survivors of domestic and family violence and their eligible dependents to gain skills to get a job and gain their independence. The NSW Government is committed to preventing domestic violence and improving its response and support for survivors. Training and education is a great way to support our most vulnerable to help them get back on their feet and into the workforce, and I encourage those eligible in the community to apply for this program.

Fee-free scholarships provide training in qualifications up to and including Certificate IV under Smart and Skilled including courses those qualifications that support apprenticeships and traineeships.

Minister for Skills John Barilaro said Smart and Skilled is designed to help people to get the skills they need to find a job or advance their career.“The NSW Liberals & Nationals are giving those who are most vulnerable in our community the best chance to access the skills and services they need to rebuild their lives,” Mr Barilaro said.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Pru Goward said these scholarships will help improve employment opportunities for survivors of domestic violence, so they can take back control.“Having a stable and fulfilling job is a crucial step in gaining financial independence, which is important for people who have left a violent relationship,” Ms Goward said

To be eligible, individuals provide a letter of recommendation from a domestic and family violence service or agency such as Legal Aid NSW, organisations who provide Integrated Domestic Family Violence Service, organisations who provide Staying Home Leaving Violence services, organisations who deliver Specialist Homelessness Services and Domestic Violence NSW.

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Anyone experiencing domestic or family violence is urged to contact the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 656 463 or Men’s Line on 1300 789 978.