Funding | Centre Onboarding | NCFE

What can we help you find?


The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) brings together the former responsibilities of the Education Funding Agency (EFA) and Skills Funding Agency (SFA). Hundreds of our qualifications are eligible for ESFA funding, with more being added all of the time.  

Please check the ESFA Hub for specific qualification funding information.

For AEB funding rules and learner eligibility criteria, please refer to the ESFA’s funding rules.

How can I find out if a qualification or unit is funded?

When ⁠searching for qualifications, use the Funding filter to narrow your search results and discover which qualifications attract funding from sources such as the National Skills Fund, Advanced Learner Loans and more.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

For apprenticeship information, please see the ESFA Apprenticeships funding page.

For traineeship information for 16–18 year olds, please see the ESFA Traineeship funding page.

For traineeship information for 19–24 year olds, please see the Adult Education Budget funding and performance management rules for the relevant year.

Apprenticeship Levy

The UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy came into effect in April 2017, putting the onus on employers to create the optimal apprenticeship scheme for their business. It applies to all employers in England whose payroll is over £3million annually.

For every pound the Levy contributes to an employers’ digital wallet, the Government will top up the amount by 10%.

Employers have an allowance of £15k, but if they are a group of companies that are connected, they will only be able to use one £15k levy allowance. The levy rate is 0.5% of their payroll.

Read more about the Apprenticeship Levy and the rules that apply to all apprenticeships provision. 

Programmes for the unemployed

As unemployment remains high, getting people ‘work ready’ by providing them with the skills they need to access the labour market has never been more important.

We have a broad range of provision funded through the combined Adult Education Budget that supports the outcomes of each of these initiatives.

Providing pathways to employability – what have we got to offer?

  • Employability skills
  • Enterprise skills
  • Job search and interview skills
  • Job search and employability skills
  • Single unit registration
  • Traineeships.
Sectors we cover for the sector-based work academies programme (SWAP)
  • Arts, Media and Publishing
  • Business, Administration and Law
  • Education and Training
  • Health, Public Services and Care
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Leisure, Travel and Tourism
  • Preparation for Life and Work
  • Retail and Commercial Enterprise.

We offer a number of single units that can provide training for unemployed individuals. The delivery of units to unemployed learners is part of the flexibilities available under the Single Adult Education Budget covering mainstream delivery to 19+ learners.

Wales and Northern Ireland

The funding mechanisms for Wales and Northern Ireland differ to the funding system in England. The Education and Education and Skills Funding Agency have an England-only remit, meaning that funding for qualifications undertaken in Wales and Northern Ireland are distributed directly to providers by Government rather than through a funding agency.


The Qualifications in Wales database (QiW) is  the main point of reference for all approved qualifications that are eligible for post-16 funding in Wales.

Main qualifications within learning programmes must be selected from those listed on the QiW database as eligible for funding and approved for delivery, and must relate to the learning area of the programme.  

Northern Ireland

Funding for qualifications and/or training in Northern Ireland is distributed by the Department for Education and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI).

DELNI offers various types of funding support for learners, employers and providers, with different eligibility criteria for each.

The Department allocates funding among the six regional further education colleges annually, who then subcontract to private training providers as and when required. The funding is primarily focused on widening access, increasing participation, addressing skills shortages, and innovation. 

Information for new centres

Once providers have completed the centre approval process and registered as a Centre, the first question that is often asked is "How do I draw down funding for qualifications?" This section deals with the public funding body who centres will most regularly deal with, the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

How do I draw down funding for qualifications?
Accessing funding for learners aged 16–19

The ESFA funds FE colleges, sixth form colleges, sixth forms in schools and academies to provide study programmes for:

  • Learners aged 16 –19
  • Learners up to the age of 25 when they have a Learning Disability Assessment (LDA) or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
  • 14–16 year olds who are directly enrolled in eligible FE institutions
  • Home-educated learners of compulsory school age at any FE college.

A range of information and guidance for providers is available on the ESFA website and should be referred to by all new centres looking to deliver qualifications to 16–19 year olds.

Accessing funding for learners aged 19+

The ESFA has a range of information for providers on their website which explains the procedure for registering with them and drawing down funding for eligible learners.

Once you are registered as a centre on the Register of Training Organisations and approved to offer our qualifications (including those within Traineeships and Apprenticeships), you can explore the opportunities for contracting and drawing down public funding.

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