Before we can go any further we have already made four assumptions about you.
You understand how the mechanics of running your own business work. It would be wrong for us to offer you advice on the best type of company structure for your training company or your legal responsibilities. If you do need advice in this area Great Business is a good place to start.
You already have experience of being a trainer and want to take the next step of starting your own training company. Again if this is not the case take a look at Assessor Training for help and advice. Training is a very diverse industry that can cover many different skills.
You have already considered all the logistics and practicalities of starting your own training company. There is a lot of different things to consider. If you are unsure may we suggest you take a read of our page about bespoke training because you will find a lot of useful advice there.
You are already accredited to offer the courses that you would like to be funded by the government. It that is not the case please refer to Starting Your Own Accredited Training Company for advice on this.
What exactly are
Government Funded Courses?
Government funded course are any courses that are paid for entirely or in part by the government. The funding itself is actually managed by The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) which is an executive agency of the government.
The ESFA funds a variety of standalone courses and apprenticeships. This can be in the form of a direct payment from the ESFA via a contract or through an Advanced Learner Loans Facility with course fees being paid by The Student Loans Company.
Suffice to say the ESFA does not go around handing money out to everybody who asks. Funding is applied for via a tendering process but before you can tender the training providers has to be on their approved list.
What will I need to be able to offer
Government Funded Courses
What a training company needs to offer courses funded by the government varies depending on what type of training you are offering and how you would like it to be funded.
Check out the funding models below for more advice on each type and the suitability to your training company.
There are three main ways the
Government Funds Courses
Advanced Learner Loans
Adult Education Budget
The Adult Education Budget (AEB) is the main source of funding for all adult education outside of apprenticeships. It is described by The Department of Education (DfE) as the “means of engaging and providing adults with the opportunity, skills and learning needed to equip them for work, an apprenticeship or further learning”. It is a significant pot of money valued at around £1.5bn each year.
The AEB has four main strands that it funds:
Training for the unemployed
This strand is aimed at helping get unemployed people back into education or employment.
Traineeships are a mixture of training and work experience. They are designed to get people “Job-ready”. Often they are used as a route into an apprenticeship and normally include English and Maths tuition.
Community learning is for those who, for whatever reason, are considered to be a significant distance away from being able to secure employment or training. The funding can be used for a mix of accredited and non-accredited training.
The AEB is also used to fund a learner’s statutory entitlements. These are;
- English and Maths Functional Skills up to Level 2,
- support for those aged 19-23 to achieve a Level 2 qualification,
- for those aged 19-23 the opportunity to gain their first Level 3 qualification
And now the good and bad news.
If your thinking of starting your own training company offering government funded courses I have some bad news for you. To apply for an AEB contract you must be on RoTO and as stated earlier RoTO is not open for new applications. However, there is some good news. You can have a subcontract with an AEB contract holder without being on RoTO. That subcontract can be worth up to £100,000 a year. You can even have several subcontractors with different main contract holders but again the total of these must not exceed the magic £100,000.
Apprenticeships are the current big push in government funded training. There are three types of apprentice training providers
This is for training providers who will directly deliver apprenticeship training for employers and hold there own contract with the ESFA.
This is for employers who will directly deliver training to their own employees or those of connected companies only.
This is when apprentices are delivered as a subcontractor to main providers.
If you are starting your own training company offering Government funded courses Main provider or Supporting provider are the routes for you to follow.
There are a few prerequisites to applying to be a main provider they are;
- you must have been trading for at least 12 months
- you must be able to train apprentices in the first 12 months of being approved
- you must have sufficient appropriately qualified and experienced members of staff.
and for support providers
- you must have been trading for at least 3 months
- your subcontract will be limited to £100,000 in your first years and £500,000 thereafter.
In order to be considered to offer apprenticeships, you need to be on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP). This register is currently open and accepting applications. However, if you are thinking of applying you must have a valid UK provider reference number (UKPRN) and also a valid Information Commissioner’s Office registration number for education and training in place first.