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New Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Key Changes and Implications from 1st August 24

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The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has published the updated apprenticeship funding rules that will come into effect from 1 August 2024. These rules set out the requirements and guidelines for employers and training providers involved in delivering apprenticeships in England. The new rules introduce several significant changes and clarifications aimed at improving the quality, accessibility, and compliance of apprenticeship training.

Learner Eligibility

Age-based Eligibility: The age of the apprentice on the learning start date will now be used for determining all age-based eligibility criteria, providing a clear and consistent approach.

Funding for learners with additional needs: The government will fully fund apprenticeship training costs for apprentices aged 22-24 who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan or have been in local authority care.

Recognition of Prior Learning

Skills scan for apprentices aged 19+: Training providers are now required to conduct a thorough skills scan for apprentices aged 19 and above, assessing their existing knowledge, skills, and behaviours against the relevant apprenticeship standard.

Tailored apprenticeship programs: By evaluating prior learning, providers can customise the apprenticeship program to meet the specific needs of each apprentice, avoiding duplication of training.

Off-the-Job Training

Front-loaded or block release delivery: For apprenticeships using a front-loaded or block release delivery model, active learning (off-the-job training and English/maths) must take place at least every 3 calendar months.

Other delivery models: For all other apprenticeships, active learning is still required every calendar month.


De minimis exemption: A new £100,000 “de minimis” exemption allows subcontractors to deliver apprenticeship training and on-programme assessment without being on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP), subject to certain conditions:

  • Only main providers and employer-providers who have fully achieved the subcontracting standard can use this exemption.
  • The subcontractor must have a valid UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN) and cannot deliver full apprenticeship standards.

Flexi-Job Apprenticeship Agencies (FJAAs)

FJAAs as employer-providers: FJAAs registered as both a training provider on RoATP and an Office for Students (OfS) provider with degree awarding powers must operate as employer-providers when delivering training to their own apprentices.

  • FJAAs must only claim actual training costs and follow employer-provider rules.

Funding for English and Maths

Changes to funding: The rules for funding English and maths qualifications have been updated. (Provide specific details on the changes if available)

Evidence Requirements

Initial assessments: New evidence requirements have been introduced for initial assessments. (Provide specific details on the new requirements)

Evidence packs: Providers must maintain comprehensive evidence packs to demonstrate compliance with funding rules.

Redundancy and Breaks in Learning

Clarifications: The rules have been clarified regarding redundancy and breaks in learning to ensure appropriate support for apprentices.

Funding Allocations

Funding bands: Apprenticeship standards are assigned to funding bands, with the upper limit ranging from £1,500 to £27,000. The funding band represents the maximum amount of funds that can be used from an employer’s apprenticeship service account or government co-investment.

Co-investment: For apprenticeships started on or after 1 April 2019, non-levy paying employers and levy-paying employers with insufficient funds in their apprenticeship service account pay 5% of the total negotiated price, with the government covering the remaining 95% (up to the funding band maximum).

Additional Payments

Additional payments for employers and providers:

£1,000 for apprentices aged 16-18 or 19-24 with an EHC plan or care leaver status

Care leavers’ bursary:

£1,000 paid to apprentices who are care leavers, in instalments at 60, 120, and 300 days into their apprenticeship


The new apprenticeship funding rules for August 2024 introduce several key changes and clarifications aimed at improving the quality, accessibility, and compliance of apprenticeship training in England. Employers and training providers must familiarise themselves with the updated rules and adapt their practices accordingly to ensure a smooth transition and maximise the benefits of the apprenticeship system.

By providing clarity on eligibility criteria, recognising prior learning, refining off-the-job training requirements, introducing subcontracting flexibilities, and supporting learners with additional needs, the ESFA aims to create a more efficient and inclusive apprenticeship framework. The funding allocations and additional payments further reinforce the government’s commitment to investing in skills development and supporting apprentices from various backgrounds.

As the implementation date approaches, effective communication and collaboration between employers, training providers, and other stakeholders will be vital in successfully navigating the changes and delivering high-quality apprenticeship programs. By staying informed and compliant with the latest funding rules, all parties can contribute to the growth and success of apprenticeships in England, ultimately benefiting individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole.

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