Skills Development


Skills Development Program provides financial support, to eligible individuals who are seeking full-time post-secondary training at a public or private training institution, for duration of 12 weeks or greater or short-term training of less then 12 weeks. Individuals who participate in Skills Development may be required to make a financial contribution towards the cost of their training.
To be considered for funding individuals have to be EI eligible, be engaged in a case management approach, and have an employment plan developed with a Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour representative.

Program Information

Skills Development program provides assistance to individuals who clearly identify barriers to employment and a willingness to discuss options to remove these barriers.

Individuals must participate in the employment planning process that includes a general information session; the
identification of barriers; a detailed job search; labour market research; career exploration; work and educational
history; and other items that may be identified through the process of creating an employment plan. The employment plan
is developed by a representative of the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour, or Employment Options.
Locations for offices can be found by clicking this link Employment Centre. Individuals must be approved for funding before starting any post-secondary program, as approval is based on active case management and employment plan development. Financial support is not retroactive, therefore you must be approved through the outlined process before starting your program of studies.

Eligibility Information

Client Eligibility

  • Be a resident of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Be Canadian citizens or permanent residents entitled to work in Canada;
  • Have an active employment plan that is linked to the post-secondary education being pursued;
  • Sign a Client Consent Form to allow for the exchange and/or release of information;
  • Meet the definition of an EI insured participant; and
  • Be deemed to have made the transition from school to work. This means that the individual must have been out high school for a minimum of two years. During that two-year period, the individual must have been working or looking for work.

Other criteria may apply.

Training Eligibility

  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, training institutions must be registered, in keeping with provincial regulations and standards. If a private training institution is offering a course that is 50 or more instructional hours, that institution is required by law to be registered. Only exception to this requirement is if the individual is a fee-payer. If you are considering fee-payer option please make an appointment with one of local representatives that can be found by clicking this link to find out more information.
  • All training supported through Skills Development must lead to a certificate, diploma or degree.
  • Be full-time, except for training supported through the fee-payer policies where the client can cover the tuition and other costs himself/herself and only needs to continue to receive EI Part I benefits to cover living expenses.
  • Skills Development program agreement cannot exceed three years in duration. An academic upgrading/ABE intervention can be supported for three years, followed by a skills training intervention for another three years.
  • University – First Degree can only be considered if the individual has completed a minimum of 50 percent of the required courses, can show a continual reliance on the EI system, and has met other criteria related to previous work history and attachment to the workforce.
  • There is no minimum duration on the length of a training program that can be supported under the Skills Development Benefit.
  • Training institutions are required to provide details of training specific costs to the Department by completing the Program Cost Form.

How to Apply:

  • Applications for Skills Development can be started by contacting the representative at Employment Centre closest to you to begin the development of your employment plan. A completed employment plan and submission of all required documents is necessary for you to be considered for funding at least four weeks prior to the start date of the training program. However, for programs commencing in September, completed applications for Skills Development must be received at least six weeks prior to the start date of the training program. (For example, if your program begins on September 3, 2019, this information must be received by July 19, 2019). The date the employment plan and required documentation has been received by the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour is the date when you are considered to have requested assistance.
  • Applications received after these timelines may not be processed.
  • Any request for funding under Skills Development must be approved by a representative of the Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour before you begin your training program.

Decision-Making Process


Day 1: A complete application (including an employment plan and required documentation) is received by the Department and assigned for assessment.


Day 2-19: The agreement manager reviews employment plan and required documentation to ensure all information, to make final decision, is on file.
Once this is complete it is forwarded to delegated authority for approval / denial.
Assessment begins after the completed application has been received by the Department to ensure eligibility criteria are met.

Conditional Approval

Day 20: Delegation of authority will approved or denied.

Click here for details on the service standard.

Contact Information

Advanced Education, Skills and Labour Office Locations
General enquiries: 1-800-563-6600
TTY: 1-866-729-4685

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