About Head Start

Head Start combines secondary school education with an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Head Start operates in 12 hubs across Victoria and is available in every Victorian government school.

Head Start coordinators are based in schools and support students to undertake school-based apprenticeship and traineeships (SBATs), aligned to the student’s preferred pathway. The coordinator liaises with the school, student, parents, employers and training organisations while the student undertakes the SBAT.

Head Start coordinators are employed by the department. Schools receive funding through the Student Resource Package and Schools Targeted Funding Portal to cover costs associated with staffing and delivering Head Start across a group of schools (referred to as hubs).

Schools may refer students wanting to undertake SBATs to the appropriate coordinator for specialist support.

Head Start aims to help students:

  • complete their schooling
  • remain at school and build numeracy and literacy skills
  • increase their future employability and earning potential
  • access quality VET courses with an approved training provider
  • get the skills, confidence and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace
  • undertake paid employment to build the career they want.

How Head Start works

Career planning

Students work with their school career adviser to explore the right pathway. The career adviser refers the student to a Head Start coordinator.


The student meets with the Head Start coordinator to assess readiness for an SBAT.


Working directly with the student and parent/guardian, the Head Start coordinator assesses student readiness and identifies potential pathway opportunities.

Identify opportunity

The Head Start coordinator helps the student find an employer who is ready to commit to mentor an SBAT.

Work-based learning

Before the apprenticeship or traineeship formally begins, the student is supported to assess the workplace, including through completion of work experience or Structured Workplace Learning with the employer. This experience is overseen by the Head Start coordinator.

Personalised timetable

The Head Start coordinator works with the school to develop a flexible, individualised timetable to help the student successfully combine work, training and study.

Develop pathway plan

The Head Start coordinator develops a pathway plan aligned with student and employer needs and available training options.

Complete contract

The Head Start pathway plan and training contract is completed by the student, parent/carer (for a student under 18 years of age), school, employer and RTO.

Start the SBAT

The Head Start coordinator will work with the student during their Head Start journey and support their ability to meet the demands of school study, vocational training and paid employment.

Complete the SBAT

For a student who does not complete their SBAT while still at school, Head Start will support them to continue as a full or part-time apprentice or trainee post-school.

To contact your local Head Start coordinator, visit Head Start apprenticeships and traineeshipsExternal Link .

Includes information about how Head Start works

Reviewed 21 February 2024

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