14 June 2016

While a lot of things are currently changing about funding, such as the way you can access funding, the names of funding streams, and the amounts that are available, there are still many ways colleges and training providers can access Government funding to support their learners in lowering the costs of further education.

At ABC Awards we aim to give you as much up-to-date information about available funding as possible and we are always on hand to support you if you find that qualifications are not attracting the funding that you need.

While we do our best to support the designation of qualifications for Advanced Learner Loans and Legal Entitlements, we also need support from our Centres to help us with these approval processes.

Often it is important for funding agencies to receive letters of recognition and demand from colleges and training providers in order to support our applications for funding approval. Particularly if you find that one our qualifications is not attracting the funding you need, your valuable supporting letter could help us ensure this isn’t the case in the future.

To find out how you can submit a letter of support please email our Funding and Research Manager Cathryn or call 0115 854 1620.

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What has changed?

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) is the new name for the previously known Adult Skills Budget (ASB). Administered by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), the Adult Education Budget combines two streams of funding: Local Flexibility and Legal Entitlements. These offer funds to colleges, training providers and employers to support learners in studying qualifications at the age of 19 and over in England and Northern Ireland.

In Wales, Qualifications Wales has recently launched the Qualifications in Wales (QiW) database which has replaced the Database of Approved Qualifications in Wales (DAQW).

Local Flexibility

You might have heard that Local Flexibility is the new way forward for funding – and it’s probably true. As part of the Adult Education Budget, Local Flexibility funding is allocated to programmes of study from Entry Level to Level 2 for learners aged 19 and over based on regional skills priorities.

As the Government devolves more power to localities, this includes the adult skills and education budgets, and this is where Local Flexibility comes into play.  Every locality will be developing skills agendas and recognising their local job-making priorities. As part of this process, Government funding will be available for qualifications and programmes which support these priorities. The amount of funding available will be decided by the SFA.

The great thing about Local Flexibility is that a broader fundable offer is available than it has been before and you will be able to deliver a range of local provision that may include:

  • Bespoke, locally designed or tailored training provision (for example, employability skills and confidence-building)
  • Eligible qualifications or their units from the Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF), which accounts for all qualifications regulated by Ofqual

At ABC Awards we have a wide offer for Local Flexibility spanning a range of key industry sectors. You will find qualifications funded through Local Flexibility available in the following sectors:

  • Building and construction
  • Counselling
  • Fabrication and welding
  • Fashion and textiles
  • Hospitality, patisserie and confectionery
  • Land-based and environmental
  • Languages
  • Motor vehicle
  • Performing and visual arts
  • Preparation for life and work
  • Retail, warehousing and distribution
  • Youth work

Make sure you talk to your Local Enterprise Partnership or Local Authority to find out what their skills priorities are before you commence your curriculum planning in order to maximise your fundable offer.

If you have any queries about which ABC Awards qualifications are available through Local Flexibility, please contact our Funding and Research Manager, Cathryn, or call 0115 854 1620.

Legal Entitlements

Legal Entitlements are the second branch of AEB funding and are also specifically for learners aged 19 and over. The funding allows learners to complete their first full Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications fully-funded.

Learners aged 19 to 23 studying for their first Level 2 and/or Level 3 qualification can complete this fully-funded, i.e. at no cost to them or to the provider. Learners aged 19 and over are also able to study for an English or maths qualification up to and including Level 2 fully-funded.

The SFA determines which qualifications are eligible for funding through Legal Entitlements, and only Ofqual or QAA regulated qualifications are accepted.

If there is a suitable, appropriately-sized qualification not currently eligible for funding through Legal Entitlement you can assist ABC Awards in attaining funding by providing a letter of support highlighting the level of demand and how it addresses a particular local need.

If you have any queries about which ABC Awards qualifications are available through Legal Entitlements, or if you would like to submit a letter of support for a qualification, please contact our Funding and Research Manager, Cathryn, or call 0115 854 1620.

Advanced Learner Loans

Advanced Learner Loans have replaced the 24+ Advanced Learning Loans and have been expanded to include learners from the age of 19 and over and qualifications from Level 3 to Level 6. Similar to university loans, learners taking out Advanced Learner Loans will begin repaying their loan once they have completed their qualification and are earning more than £21,000.

Learners cannot apply for these loans without the support of their college or training provider, who will need to complete a learning and funding information letter to support the learner’s application. More information about these loans and how to use them is available here.

Don’t forget that your learners may be eligible for full funding for a Level 3 qualification through Legal Entitlement, so check this route first before they consider applying for a loan.

If there is an ABC Awards qualification not yet eligible for Advanced Learner Loans then please contact our Funding and Research Manager, Cathryn, or call 0115 854 1620 to find out how you can write a letter of demand to ensure funding becomes available.

Wales

The funding of regulated, non-degree qualifications in Wales is now managed by Qualifications Wales. It has launched the Qualifications in Wales (QiW) database which replaced Database of Approved Qualifications in Wales (DAQW) earlier this year.

In order for qualifications to appear on the new QiW and qualify for funding, Centres are now required to submit a letter of demand to support the relevant awarding organisation.

If you are a Centre in Wales and an ABC Awards qualification you are currently delivering or would like to deliver is not appearing on the QiW, please contact our Research and Funding Manager Cathryn or call 0115 854 1620 to find out how you can write a letter of demand to ensure funding becomes available.

16 – 18 funding

While the information on the page has focused on the changes to SFA funding for learners aged 19 and over, don’t forget that ABC Awards also has a wide range of qualifications which attract funding through the Education Funding Agency (EFA) for 16 to 18 years olds (and up to the age of 25 if the learner has a disability).

To find out more information, please click here or contact our Funding and Research Manager, Cathryn.

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If you need any further information about funding or would like access to a range of useful websites and guides, please visit our funding page.