Growing Workforce Participation Fund

Round 3 applications are now closed

Applications opened on 28 May and closed at 5pm, 9 July 2024.

Program key details
Eligible applicantsIndustry groups in the fund delivery areas that meet all eligibility criteria


Round 3: Closed

View the list of successful projects from previous funding rounds

Funding awarded

$20,000 – $200,000 per project

Project lengthMaximum of 12 months to complete a project
Key documents

Purpose of the fund

The Growing Workforce Participation Fund develops partnerships with industry to build longevity and sustainability in the workforce. It does this by empowering industry and employers to support job seekers from identified groups who experience greater disadvantage in the labour market.

It is one component of the suite of programs delivered under the revitalised Back to Work initiative, which is designed to give businesses the confidence to employ Queenslanders who have experienced a period of unemployment and help workers facing disadvantage in the labour market.

The fund provides:

  • industry-led solutions to find and keep employees in Back to Work target locations
  • greater industry-specific support for disadvantaged and vulnerable target groups.

The fund will support industry organisations to primarily support people from the following groups:

  • young people (aged 15–24 years)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • people with disability
  • long-term unemployed people (unemployed 52 weeks or longer).

The fund is administered by the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT).


Funding of between $20,000 up to $200,000 is available under this fund.

Industry organisations funded to deliver projects under this fund have a maximum of 12 months to complete a project.

Online information sessions

Online sessions have finished. Read the full presentation to learn more about the fund including eligibility requirements and the application process.

Funded areas

The following areas are targeted.

  • Wide Bay-Burnett
  • North Queensland/Whitsunday
  • Far North Queensland
  • Mackay/Isaac
  • Central Queensland
  • North West Queensland
  • South West Queensland
  • Ipswich
  • Lockyer Valley
  • Logan
  • Moreton Bay
  • Scenic Rim
  • Somerset


We encourage collaborative projects that may include the participation of local governments, partnerships with regional industry groups and other industry groups, and cohort representative groups. Applications must be submitted by an eligible provider.

To be an eligible provider, you must:

  • be Queensland-based and have operated for a minimum of 2 years prior to submitting an application
  • be an industry organisation, or be able to demonstrate that the business should be considered an industry organisation to our satisfaction
  • be registered for GST and hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN) at the time of submitting an application and for the life of the services agreement
  • have a proposed eligible activity that relates to the target groups and locations
  • have proven experience in providing employment-related (or similar) support to the target groups
  • be compliant with all local, state and Australian Government laws and regulations, including but not limited to, industrial relations, workplace health and safety and taxation legislation.

Successful applicants from Rounds 1 and 2 are not required to resubmit an application to seek extensions or additional support for ongoing projects.

Existing applicants can contact the Growing Workforce Participation Fund team for further advice on 1300 369 935 or email

Eligible activities

Examples of eligible activities are:

  • projects that aim to increase labour market participation and engagement from the target groups
  • pre-employment support projects
  • workforce development and resources
  • projects that address industry-identified employment shortages.

Ineligible activities

Funding cannot be used for:

  • any project or scope of work that is deemed to be core business of the applicant and/or partners
  • any project or part thereof that has been, or may be, funded under another government program
  • any recurring cost for the organisation, for instance
    • ongoing staff costs not related to the project
    • established positions within the organisation
    • normal operating costs (e.g. utility and telecommunications charges, building lease costs)
    • core functions of the organisation
  • the purchase of assets/capital equipment, or significant assets (buildings or vehicles)
  • retrospective payments for expenses already incurred prior to grant funding approval, or for work already undertaken
  • costs of consultants/contractors or other suppliers of services that are financially associated with the applicant
  • travel costs, including hiring and leasing of transport, airfares and fuel. (In recognition of the transport restrictions in rural and remote areas in Queensland, travel costs may be considered if it is critical in enabling full participation of the eligible activities)
  • costs associated with attendance at domestic or international trade shows, including interstate and overseas travel
  • any other costs deemed ineligible by us.

How applications are assessed

Stage 1 involves the assessment of applications against the 'capacity to manage' criteria outlined in the guidelines for funding.

You must must demonstrate a 'capacity to manage' for your application to be eligible to proceed to Stage 2 assessment.

Stage 2 involves assessing eligible applications against the remainder of the assessment criteria outlined in the guidelines for funding by us and an assessment panel (established by us) that may include representatives from both with and outside the department.

The role of the assessment panel will be to discuss, prioritise and recommend applications for funding to us.

You should note that:

  • the order of the list of assessment criteria is not to be taken as an order of precedence or an indication of weighting which will be given to any particular criteria
  • and
  • the list of assessment criteria is not necessarily exhaustive, and we may also have regard to such other criteria as it considers appropriate in our sole discretion.

Following the completion of both stages of assessment for the funding round, you will be notified of our decision in relation to your application.

Assessment criteria

Applications are assessed against the following criteria.

We look at, for example, the:

  • financial viability of the organisation
  • organisational structure, governance, risk management and reporting framework
  • experience in managing government funds and delivering similar projects
  • project team, including the project team’s experience in working with and supporting the target groups.

We look at, for example:

  • project objectives and outcomes, including the projected innovation
  • evidence of how the project addresses issues using contemporary solutions
  • commitment that the project supports the objectives of the revitalised Back to Work program
  • links to local employers, other industry organisations and stakeholders.

We confirm that, for example:

  • there is a demonstrated industry demand (evidence-based) and benefit
  • the project doesn’t duplicate other programs or services, which includes clearly stating how the project differs from normal business activities
  • the project has the capacity to meet employment shortages and labour market needs.

We look at, for example:

  • the defined key performance indicators (KPIs) for project delivery
  • how project success is defined, the measurable outcomes of success and how these will be incorporated in project implementation and outcomes reporting
  • the economic and social impact of the project
  • the commitment to share learnings with industry and government
  • how the information will be shared and through what mechanisms/channels.

We look at, for example:

  • evidence that demonstrates the project is the most suitable option/solution
  • the ability to deliver proposed outcomes within prescribed timeframe
  • an identified approach to reduce the costs of project delivery
  • the level of complementary funding and assistance from other sources
  • a clear explanation of why government funding is required for the project.

We do reasonable checks against available government and publicly available information to verify there are no matters of public interest that would prevent funding from being paid.

Examples of when an application might not be approved on a public-interest basis include:

  • the applicant, its owners, or relevant management staff, have a history of poor compliance with legislation, including laws related to workplace health and safety and industrial relations
  • matters involving bankruptcy or fiscal insolvency
  • matters involving fraud or financial crime
  • the applicant was, or is currently, being funded for a similar scope of work under another government program.

How to apply

Applications opened on 28 May and closed at 5pm, 9 July 2024.

Submit your application by completing these steps:

  1. Read the key documents
  2. Check your eligibility.
  3. Complete, check and submit your application via DESBT SmartyGrants. You will need to register for an account if you don't already have one.

Successful projects

View the successful projects from previous funding rounds.

Contact us

Email or phone 1300 369 935 for enquiries about the Growing Workforce Participation Fund.