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Community Service Obligation

What is CSO?

The ACE Community Service Obligation Program has been designed to support people who experience barriers to training and employment. The Program will deliver short course training to eligible participants to give them the necessary skills and knowledge to move into further study and/or gain employment. It is part of the NSW Government's Smart & Skilled training reform.

Barriers may include (but are not limited to):

  • Limited employability skills
  • Ongoing personal issues impacting on educational achievement
  • Financial limitations in accessing childcare, transport and/or respite care
  • Low literacy, language, numeracy or computer skills

Disadvantaged learners may include:

  • Students who are Commonwealth welfare recipients and their dependants
  • People with a disability
  • Long term unemployed 
  • Young people (15-17 years of age) who are at risk of not making a successful transition from school to further training or work 
  • Migrant/refugees who are unemployed or underemployed 
  • People with other barriers to the Smart & Skilled entitlement program
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders   


To be eligible for funding under the CSO program you must be:

  • an Australian Citizen, New Zealand Citizen, permanent resident or humanitarian visa holder and
  • aged 15 years or older 
  • not at school* and
  • living or working in NSW.

* special conditions apply to ACE CSO programs for young people still at school. Contact SGSCC for further information.

If you have not completed a Certificate IV or higher level qualification, under Smart and Skilled you are entitled to enrol in a subsidised Adult and Community Education (ACE) program up to Certificate III level.

Eligible Commonwealth Welfare Benefits

These include:

  • Age Pension
  • Austudy (including Veterans' Children Education Scheme)
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension (second or subsequent course enrolment per year, first enrolment is exempt)
  • Exceptional Circumstances Relief Payment
  • Family Tax Benefit Part A (maximum rate)
  • Farm Help Income Support
  • Mature Age Allowance
  • Newstart Allowance
  • Parenting Payment (Single)
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Special Benefit
  • Veterans' Affairs Payments
  • Widow Allowance
  • Widow Pension (including Widow 'B' Pension)
  • Wife Pension
  • Youth Allowance

Courses Available

Training may be provided in a range of areas including:

  • English Language and literacy
  • Job Skills Training
  • Basic computer skills
  • Computer literacy

What fees will I pay for Smart and Skilled ACE programs?

If you are eligible for subsidised training under Smart and Skilled, you pay only a portion of the training cost. The rest is subsidised by the NSW Government. Some students will be eligible for a fee exemption or a concession.

How can I find out more?

To find out more about Smart and Skilled visit the website at or Contact Us