Frequently asked questions
Am I eligible for the Upskill and Invest – Young Farmers Scholarship?
To be eligible for the scholarship you must:
- be aged 35 years or under at the time of the application close date
- be working in a food and fibre farm business in Victoria at least three days per week for the past three months
- have at least two years of total experience on-farm, and
- be an Australian citizen or permanent resident currently residing in Victoria.
How many scholarships are available?
Each year, 12 to 15 scholarships are awarded to young farmers aged 35 years or under. Since 2015, 50 scholarships have been awarded to young farmers across Victoria.
It is a competitive process, so make sure you complete your application in full and address all criteria in the application form.
If you would like help with the application, please phone 136 186 or contact YoungFarmer.Coordinator@ecodev.vic.gov.au.
What types of study or training will be funded through the program?
Applications will be considered for any form of study or training that is relevant to developing a career in agriculture, including professional short courses or workshops.
Eligible study or training must be:
- a minimum of 16 contact hours (this may involve more than one course or workshop, and may be across multiple institutions and/or organisations, or offered online)
- delivered by a registered training organisation (RTO)
- delivered by another reputable organisation (such as an industry organisation) approved through discussion with the department.
- For further information, contact YoungFarmer.Coordinator@ecodev.vic.gov.au.
See these examples for ideas of types of training that may be eligible. Alternatively you can contact the department to discuss your ideas.
Study or training in the areas of business planning and management, risk management and financial literacy are encouraged.
Study duration should not be more than two years, unless otherwise agreed with the department.
How can I find study opportunities in my area?
You can also contact your local industry organisation for information on training and development opportunities or your local Victorian Farmers Federation branch.
Will the Upskill funding cover my travel, accommodation, time off work or childcare costs?
No. Upskill funds will only cover agreed out-of-pocket expenses (up to $5,000) that are charged by the training provider to undertake the approved training.
Recipients will be required to provide a copy of the invoice and receipt for payment of tuition fees from the training provider.
Can I use the scholarship funds for courses I have completed or I am currently undertaking?
No. Upskill scholarship funds cannot be used to reimburse courses that you have already completed or are currently undertaking at the time of application.
However, scholarship funds can be used to pay for future parts for example, individual subjects or the next term or semester of a course, diploma or degree.
I am eligible to receive funding through the Victorian Training Guarantee, can I still receive the Young Farmers Scholarship?
Successful scholarship applicants who are also eligible for the Victorian Training Guarantee (or any other form of government funding) to undertake the approved training, will be provided with funds that cover any funding shortfall (up to $5,000) associated with fees charged by the training provider.
Recipients will be required to provide a copy of the invoice of fees, and receipt for payment, from the training provider.
What types of activities can the Invest funds be directed towards?
Completion of study or training using the Upskill scholarship funds will unlock the Invest funds, which supports you to apply your learnings on the farm.
There needs to be a clear link between the skills acquired through the Upskill activity and the Invest activity.
Invest activities that focus on putting skills into practice and on additional support and training (such a professional services, consultants, business management support) are encouraged.
Can I use the Invest funds towards recent purchases?
No. Invest activities must not be undertaken before the Upskill activities are completed.
If an Invest activity is undertaken before the Upskill activities are completed, the department may seek reimbursement of the scholarship funds paid to you.
What if I want to change my Invest proposal once I have started my Upskill training or study?
If you want to revise your Invest activities, a revised Invest proposal must be provided to the department for consideration within 30 days of completing the Upskill activities.
The value of the revised proposal should not exceed the value of your original proposal approved through the application process.
Approval from the department via email will be required before the revised Invest proposal is implemented.
Revised Invest proposals must explain how the expenditure will support implementation of learnings from the Upskill activities.
Can I apply for the Invest funding but not the Upskill funding or vice versa?
No. The Young Farmers Scholarship program aims to increase young farmers' skill base and both components are essential. Invest funds are not made available until after all Upskill training has been completed.
If you are an employee on a farm, speak with your employer about suitable Upskill training and Invest activities such as agricultural business management (Upskill), professional development (Upskill or Invest) or a project on-farm (Invest).
What benefits will the scholarship provide employers?
Young Farmers Scholarships benefit the scholarship recipients the businesses that employ them.
Scholarship recipients gain skills, knowledge and experience that strengthen their employers' skill base and provide opportunities for knowledge transfer within the business.
Applicants and their employers can contact the department if they would like to discuss the program and the potential benefits for employers.
Can more than one member of a farm business or family apply for the scholarship?
Yes. Each application will be considered on its individual merits.
However, applications that seek to link Invest proposals across more than one application will not be considered.
What happens if I can't complete my studies due to illness or other personal reasons?
You will need to speak with your training provider to discuss possible alternative arrangements – this may involve deferring your studies until you are in a position to recommence your study or training.
You will then need to notify the department in writing of any change to your study plan.
If you are not in a position to recommence your study or training, the department may recoup funds already paid to you.
How are the scholarship funds paid?
Scholarship recipients receive a payment via electronic funds transfer to a nominated bank account, after they have met requirements set out in the Program Guidelines. Payments may take up to four weeks to process.
Do I have to pay GST or other tax on my scholarship?
Whether or not the department pays the GST component of a service or other agreed purchase that you have paid for with your scholarship funds depends on your GST status.
Scholarship recipients can choose to receive the scholarship in their capacity as an individual (i.e. no ABN, not a business), a business not registered for GST, or a business registered for GST.
If you choose to receive the scholarship as an individual, you will be reimbursed the total amount paid by you to the supplier, including the GST component.
If you choose to receive the scholarship as a business that does not need to be registered for GST, you will be reimbursed the total amount paid by you to the supplier, including the GST component.
If you choose to receive the scholarship as a business that is registered for GST, you will be reimbursed the amount paid by you to the supplier, excluding the GST applied by the supplier.
Further information can be found in the Program Guidelines or by contacting the department.
The department recommends that you seek independent financial advice on tax implications such as GST and income tax.
How long do scholarship holders have to undertake their Upskill training and enact their Invest proposal?
Study duration should not exceed two years, unless otherwise agreed with the department.
The Invest funds should be expended within six months of completing study or training, unless otherwise agreed with the department.
I am an employee of the Victorian State Government, can I still apply?
Unless there is a clear conflict of interest, that is, you are involved in the application assessment process, you will be eligible to apply for the scholarship.
If you are unsure whether there is a conflict of interest, please contact the department.
Can I use funds towards gaining a vehicle licence?
No. Training to gain a licence required by law to undertake an activity is not eligible.
Can I use funds to purchase livestock, land or boats?
No. Funds can not be used to purchase livestock, land, boats or to cover normal operational business expenses.