Tuesday, 14 January 2014

My subsidised studies as a fresh Australian PR

Update - More details on this lobang may be found here.

Our readers may have noticed that ever since migrating here, we have gotten rather lazy to blog. So if you have noticed the departure from our ordinarily well-researched posts, we hope you can bear with it. I've found that references take up more of my time than they seem to be worth to our readers, anyway.

So this will be a 'quick and dirty' post. Subsidised studies probably aren't a major reason for most people who choose to migrate anyway. Either you haven't studied and thus would face challenges getting a Skilled Migrant Visa, or you are qualified and shouldn't have much trouble landing a job if you are willing to start at a lower level and aren't too fussy.

Except for those who came on a dependants' Visa, like me. What do we, the lesser-qualified, do?

I could start my job search with my existing qualifications. Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies, majoring in Journalism. No relevant working experience in this field.

My only working experience thus far was as a Navigating Officer, and I am not willing (or allowed - by Mindef) to pursue a similar line. Besides, the Navy gives  its officers no internationally-recognised qualifications - apart from sponsored degree or diploma studies. My ship-driving certificate which allows me to drive a Frigate isn't even recognised by Singapore's very own MPA! But I digress.

Someone on Facebook suggested that I do a Automotive certificate. So I thought: Why not? I've always had an interest in cars.

On that sleepless night, I did some Googling, and came up with a few institutes to try applying for. I didn't have much idea of how much the courses would cost, and I had a $3-4k budget in mind. I didn't find much feedback differentiating between the various institutes, so I shortlisted by distance.

Menzies Institute of Technology got back to me first. And based on the info I gave them, they told me that I would likely qualify for a government subsidy, and would I like to go and check out their campus?

So we headed there the very same day. I was happy enough with what I saw, and learned that I qualified for a subsidised Certificate 3 in Automotive Mechanical Technology. Usual Price: A$14k. My price after subsidy: A$825.

What the heck. I signed up on the spot.

- Be a PR
- Your desired course must be an 'upgrade'. A's highest recognised qualification is a BSc, as she had her NUS credentials certified and submitted to AITSL for her teacher assessment. My highest recognised education level is essentially a Form 12 (A-level) in the eyes of the Aussie Government, as my NTU degree was not certified by the relevant Australian Authority. It doesn't matter that I have a Bachelor's in Communication Studies as I am not the primary applicant. 

This is so even though I submitted my complete educational qualifications as part of the migration process. Or so Menzies assured me.

A would qualify for a subsidy for any course above a Bachelor's level, should she choose to go for that. And I will continue to qualify for subsidies for subsequent upgrading courses such as a certificate 4, or degree course.

- The upgrading course may not have to be related to your previous expertise or field of study. In future, I could do a Cert 4 in aged-care, for instance, if they do not require earlier certification. Likewise, I was not required to have a Cert 1 or 2 in Automotive as prerequisites for the Cert 3 course I am taking.

Pre-Christmas goodies from the Bakery Class at Menzies!

- Your level of subsidy varies according to course. For courses which are popular or which the Government deems that industry has low demand for, the subsidy is lower. E.g. a subsidised dental assistant certificate 3 course costs around $4k.

- Do your homework first before committing. Due to visa fraud cases (some abused student visas to work, and paid for courses just to be in Oz to work, without actually studying), attendance is taken seriously. There might be implications for those who fail to attend or complete their courses.

And here's a video of one of my classmate's cars. I think it is not viewable on mobile devices, in case you notice an error..


- S


  1. I started doing my Phd in Sg before migrating. Didn't qualify for a scholarship. No subsidies either. After a year, I had to give it up for personal reasons. I applied to study here (in Australia) and started about 6 months ago. Cost = $0. I really couldn't believe my ears. As a citizen I didn't get any privileges but as a PR here I was covered under the Research Training Grant provided by the Aussie govt.

    1. Rani, BASKET. Cheaper than my mechanic cert!

      Good on you! I was encouraged to study PhD by A, but I don't have the stomach for that sort of thing. I think academia is a nice (potentially) cushy lifestyle but it doesn't turn me on.

      Wish you all the best in your degree/research and thanks for sharing :)


    2. Hi, thank you for a very informative blog. Hope you can help me out with this. Since you are not the primary applicant and your recognised qualification by the oz govt is the A levels instead of your degree, would you still be entitled to a subsidy should you decide to do a masters or a phd? reason why i ask this is because a masters or phd would be a few upgrades above an A level certificate and not exactly a direct upgrade.

      Many thanks and all the best in your journey there :)

    3. Not sure. You can probably find out for yourself. I don't intend to be rude, but just telling it as it is since I have no interest in Masters or PhD.

      What I've heard is that Oz is trying to encourage more people to pursue higher academia. So you will probably get some sort of funding. But in case you haven't heard, bachelors degrees cost a pretty penny even for citizens. I guess too many people want to pursue the basic degree and thus the Govt does not wish to fund it.

      It does not have to be an upgrade "level by level". If I qualify to enrol in a diploma course, I will get the funding.

      Do pop by to share more about how your journey goes :)


  2. Didn't know the subsidies for courses were so good. Will definitely need to explore this avenue. I'm getting rather tired of my IT job and would like a change to something more hands on :-p

  3. spent the last 1.5 hour reading your ramblings and enjoyed it! Reminded me how my good wife and I started our journey in Melbourne as well. Had no regrets and never looked back, our 3 sons are thankful they are living here and not SG. Hope you and your wife settle well, take care and keep safe!

    1. Thanks Bransom

      All the best to u and your family too :)


    2. Thk you! Automotive course keeping you busy? You should breeze through it. Hitting the bike trail this weekend?