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9.8 Retraining and further education

Last amended 
12 April 2023


A key component of the vocational aspect of a rehabilitation plan is to provide appropriate assistance to enable the client to secure suitable and sustainable employment in a civilian setting. More information regarding suitable work can be found in section 9.2 of this library. For injured workers, upskilling or re-training through formal education and training can be important for securing meaningful employment at a reasonable level of income and job security. For more information about what constitutes ‘good’ work, visit the Health Benefits of Good Work webpage.

Where a comprehensive vocational assessment determines that further training and/or education is needed for a client to be able to be able to return to the workforce in suitable and sustainable employment, then this must be considered. This approach applies equally to all DVA clients, regardless of the rank achieved during their employment in the ADF or the length of time which has passed since they have served in the ADF. For more information about what should be included in a vocational assessment, please see section 9.5 of this library.

Further education and training options:

There are many further education and training options which can assist with improving a person’s employment prospects, including:

  • on-the-job training;
  • short courses;
    • For instance, forklift training, Workplace Health and Safety training, first aid, or training in software applications such as MYOB. This may or may not be a course that falls within scope of the Australian Qualifications Framework.
  • a combination of on-the-job training and short-term courses, which could include apprenticeships;
  • secondary education, where the course of study is either an accredited secondary or a preparatory course. This is considered ‘study’ for the purpose of this policy;
  • tertiary education* courses within the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF);
    • Training within the AQF includes Certificate level (Certificate I-IV), Diplomas, Advanced Diplomas/Associate Degrees, Bachelor-level degrees, Graduate Certificates/ Diplomas, and other post graduate qualifications. This is considered ‘study’ for the purpose of this policy;
    • Institutions offering these courses include:
      • Technical and Further Education (TAFE) colleges;
      • Higher education institutions (eg, university); and
      • Accredited Registered Training Organisations (RTO).

* More information about tertiary education can be found in Section 9.8.1 of this library.

Positive impacts of vocational training and education*:

  • Harness existing motivation: Where clients are highly motivated to undertake vocational training, research indicates that they are more likely to make a successful return to work once they undertake their desired course of training**.
  • Transferable skills: A course of vocational education or training can equip a client with transferrable skills and empower rehabilitation clients, giving them the confidence to pursue a new career without reliance on DVA for longer term ongoing support.
  • Job security: Nationally recognised qualifications can provide a person with job security within the labour market generally. Even if they choose to cease employment with one employer, their qualifications and experience can be transferrable to other employers.
  • Time to adjust to new circumstances: A period of retraining also provides rehabilitation clients with time to adjust to and learn to manage new circumstances, prior to commencing ongoing employment. For example, participating in retraining may help a person to identify triggers that make them feel anxious or angry. This can inform activities as part of rehabilitation plan designed to help a client to address and manage these triggers more effectively. 
  • Psychosocial benefits: DVA recognises the positive benefits that can be gained through participating long-term training like vocational training and education. These may include for example, building social connections, positive work habits and confidence. In some cases, it may be appropriate, given a client’s unique circumstances, to consider participation in study where a person is not participating in a rehabilitation plan with the explicit goal of returning to employment in the short term. Further information about study as part of a psychosocial rehabilitation activity can be found in section 6.9 of this library.

* DVA acknowledges the positive impacts of vocational training and education, but notes the funding of such activities under a DVA rehabilitation program is subject to meeting other eligibility requirements.
** Situations may arise where education is requested for DVA funding that is outside the scope of what DVA will support. In these circumstances, Rehabilitation Providers are expected to manage the client’s expectations by understanding and communicating what can reasonably be considered for funding through DVA.