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News & Publications

ESFA publishes its latest apprenticeship funding rules

The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published its latest apprenticeship funding rules for the period 1 August 2020 to 31 July 2021.

For more information, visit the Government website at: https://gov.uk/guidance/apprenticeship-funding-rules

The Government has also produced a checklist to help employers (in England) ensure they are meeting the apprenticeship funding rules.

Do I have a genuine job for an apprentice?

By genuine, the Government means:

  • The apprentice must have a contract of service with you, or an apprenticeship training agency, which is long enough for them to complete the apprenticeship successfully (including the end-point assessment). Exemptions apply*
  • The cost of the apprentice’s wages must be met by you.
  • The apprentice must have a job role (or roles) with you that provides the opportunity for them to gain the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve their apprenticeship.
  • The apprentice must have appropriate support and supervision on the job, by you, to carry out their job role.

Have I checked the eligibility of the apprentice?

The apprentice must work for you, or a connected company or charity as defined by HMRC and they must:

  • Have the right to work in England.
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England.

Have I chosen a main provider and negotiated a price?

The relationship between you and the main provider is important throughout the apprenticeship. Your main provider must offer you the option of using the recruit an apprentice service for all new recruits into your business.

You and your main provider must agree a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including the training costs and any subcontracted training. The price must include the cost of the end-point assessment which you must agree with an end-point assessment organisation.

Have I checked the duration of the apprenticeship and that prior learning has been considered?

You must make sure the apprenticeship training will last for at least one year. The standard specification or assessment plan may require this to be longer to support the delivery of the full apprenticeship content. The main provider must account for the apprentice’s prior learning and because this can reduce the content and length of the apprenticeship it may also reduce the price you negotiate with them. Funds must not be used to pay for skills already attained by the apprentice.

Have I got an apprenticeship agreement with the apprentice?

An apprenticeship agreement must be signed at the start of the apprenticeship. It is used to confirm individual employment arrangements between the apprentice and yourself and is a legal requirement.

Have I got a commitment statement?

You must have a commitment statement, signed by you, the apprentice and the main provider. This is sometimes known as an individual learning plan and sets out the plan for the agreed training.

Have I recorded the apprenticeship?

If you are a levy payer, or a non-levy payer who is using reserved funds, and have an apprenticeship service account you must record the apprenticeship details. You can ask the main provider to do this for you.

Have I ensured my apprentice is on the correct wage?

Apprentices must be an employee on the first day of their apprenticeship and as a minimum at least be paid a wage consistent with the law for the time they are in work, in off-the-job training and studying English and maths (if appropriate).

Have I checked on the progress of my apprentice?

You must make sure the apprentice is taking part in learning throughout the apprenticeship and has regular progress reviews that involve you and the provider.

Do I have evidence?

You must provide evidence to the main provider of the apprentice’s average weekly hours and any changes to working patterns. You must also have evidence needed for any additional payments made to you because of the apprentice’s characteristics (for example, their age). You must give the main provider evidence of the apprentice’s eligibility at the start of their apprenticeship.

Need more information?

Further Gov.UK guidance can be found here.

*Industry relevant exceptions apply for apprentices who have been made redundant with less than six months before the final day of their apprenticeship practical period; and, apprentices who have been made redundant, with more than six months but less than 12 months of their apprenticeship remaining. These apprentices may seek a further contract of employment and an apprenticeship agreement with a duration of less than 12 months if required, and ESFA will fund them for up to 12 weeks while they do so.