Stewart Segal is chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers

The latest Skills Funding Letter from the Skills Minister to the Chief Executive of the SFA sets out the budgets for skills for the next five years. These budgets are reviewed on an annual basis but the minister says that he hopes there will not be significant changes. It certainly sets a clear direction of travel.

The budget for Apprenticeships in 2016/17 is £926m which compares with £740m in 15/16. This increases to £1.485bn in 19/20 by which time employers will be paying the Levy. This figure will fund all 19+ apprenticeships including those not paying a Levy. It is not clear how much of the £1.485bn will come from the Levy. The Levy is expected to raise £2.5bn in England but that will also have to fund 16 -18 year old apprentices. What we do know is that there will be additional investment in the programme and many large employers not involved in the programme today will be paying the Levy and therefore very likely to get involved in Apprenticeships.

The minister reinforces the message that increasingly the customer and not the government or institutions (either national or local) will be making decisions around what gets delivered. On Apprenticeships, he says 'It will be for businesses to make decisions about where the apprentices they employ are trained'. The minister has not repeated his statement that he wants colleges to deliver two thirds of the Apprenticeship starts. Instead he encourages all providers to deliver the high quality growth the programme needs, saying, 'There are many exciting opportunities for agile providers to operate in this new, more market-style environment'.

Subcontracting continues to be a major focus. The letter reinforces the current controls of subcontracting but asks the SFA to review how lead providers add value through the process. AELP has produced a number of resources to improve supply chain management in the system and we will continue to work with AoC and the SFA to ensure that subcontracting arrangements focus on improving the delivery to the customer.

The budget for non-apprenticeship adult skills is £1.5bn which is about the same as this year because it includes Adult and Community Learning and the learner support funds. It is interesting to note that this budget remains higher than the current Apprenticeship budget despite some people saying that Apprenticeships are the only solution. The non-Apprenticeship budget is now called AEB (Adult Education Budget) and includes funding of Traineeships, programmes for the unemployed, first level 2 and 3 for younger people and English and maths. In other words, it funds the statutory entitlements of learning. Some of the co-funded learning for employed people will not be eligible from 2015/16.

Traineeships will remain a high priority within AEB. AELP has always tried to keep this a priority and we will push for this in the allocations of AEB for 16/17. All providers will be able to deliver Traineeships from August 2016 but we are also asking for an earlier implementation of this change. There seems no reason why those providers that want to deliver Traineeships should not be able to do so now.

The letter sets out a clear direction of travel for the management of the AEB. From 2016/17, block grant funded providers (colleges and local authorities) will be co-managed by the SFA and LEPs/Combined Authorities. SFA will do the allocations on behalf of the local areas and will work with LEPs etc on developing a more flexible contract that will be jointly managed and monitored. For ITPs, SFA will do the allocations and manage the contracts but providers will be expected to ensure their delivery is linked to LEP priorities etc. From 2017/18 the contracts for AEB will probably have to be retendered because of EU rules. There may be a de minimis which will mean that many providers could retain their contracts without retendering, but those arrangements will be discussed with AELP over the next few months. The signal is clear that AEB budgets will be progressively devolved over the next 2 or 3 years.

The letter leaves us with a very positive outlook for the next 5 years especially in terms of Traineeships and Apprenticeships where there is likely to be a significant increase in investment. However there is a lot of detail still to be agreed and we cannot help being cautious about how these plans will be implemented.

Stewart Segal is chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page