Education and training

Getting a good education is an important part of growing up and transitioning to adult life.

The main pathway is usually through secondary school, and for many young people, on to further education. If you or someone you know is in care services or transitioning from care there are supports available.

This webpage has information about, supports in school, getting back into school if you have had a break and about careers education.

After you have finished with secondary school you can go on to TAFE or university. This is an opportunity to choose a pathway more closely based on your talents, interests and abilities, and your employment goals.
On this webpage you will find information about studying at TAFE and university, about the Skills First Youth Access Initiative, Free TAFE courses, getting support to get back into education, and how to get advice and information through the Skills and Jobs Centres.

There are an amazing variety of courses available; you just need to find the right one for you.

In-school support for young people in care

If you would like some support going to school or to get back into school, the following services are available to assist.

LOOKOUT Education Support Centres are designed to boost the capacity of the schools, carers, child protection practitioners and care services to support you and your education goals. You should have a Learning Mentor who will help you stay connected to school. The Designated Teacher provides support and advocacy within the school. LOOKOUT Centres also work with a range of other professionals, including Student Support Services and Koorie Engagement Support Officers.

Each of the four LOOKOUT Education Support Centres has a Careers Education Advisor.

The Navigator Program supports you or someone you know to return after a break to education and learning.

Post-school support for young people in care and transitioning from care – studying at TAFE and University

Raising Expectations can support you to go onto TAFE and University. Its partner universities, La Trobe University, Federation University Australia, Swinburne University of Technology and Victoria University offer financial, academic and personal support if you have care experience.

Raising Expectations also works with other Victorian TAFEs and universities.

Visit the Raising Expectations website for more information, send a message via the online enquiry form, or email

If you want to study a TAFE course as a stand-alone qualification or as a pathway to university, refer to the Skills First Youth Access Initiative below.

Free study at TAFE

Via the Skills First Youth Access Initiative

The Skills First Youth Access Initiative can support you if you are 24 years and under, and have been on a child protection order (at any time) or youth justice order or are a resident at an Education Youth Foyer to access TAFE courses and not pay tuition fees.

Courses are listed on the Victorian Skills Gateway.
You may be able to study more than one course, provided the second course is at a higher level than the first course and you enrol before you turn 24 years.

When you enrol in vocational education through the Skills First Youth Access Initiative you will be linked into care leaver services and supports at the TAFE or dual sector university.

For more information and a referral form visit Skills First Youth Access Initiative, email or visit Raising Expectations.

Via Free TAFE

Free TAFE for priority courses offer training courses across Victoria for people aged 16 and upwards. If you are eligible for the Skills First Youth Access Initiative you are encouraged to enrol in this initiative as it offers a wider range of courses, students may be able to study more than one course and you should be linked into supports and services.
Free TAFE provides an option for students who are not eligible for the Skills First Youth Access Initiative.

Other support programs

Skills First Reconnect. Reconnect provide a range of wrap-around services to increase participation in education and employment. If you are aged 17-19 and have been disengaged from education and training for over 6 months, Reconnect can support you. If you are aged 20 and over and have been unemployed and/or disengaged from education and training, or if you have been or are currently on a Youth Justice Order and other groups in need of higher levels of support. Skills First Reconnect has providers across Victoria.

Skills and Jobs Centres offer a range of free supports, advice and services on training and employment opportunities – including apprenticeships. These services are available anyone. Centres are co-located with TAFEs or dual sector universities.

Melbourne City Mission Leaving Care Hotline
1300 532 846

9 am to 8 pm weekdays and 10 am to 6 pm on weekends and public holidays.