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Published: 18th July 2023

What employers need to know about changes to the ESFA funding rules 2023/24

Updated Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Apprenticeship funding rules for the 2023/24 academic year.
Rachel Roby
Strategic Apprenticeship Lead

The updated Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Apprenticeship funding rules for the 2023/24 academic year will be coming into effect in three weeks and contain important changes which any employer currently or planning on offering apprenticeships should understand.

Firstly, version 1 rules have been published four months before the start of the new academic year to allow more time for all parties to implement the changes.

Secondly, rules have been consolidated into 1 document (combining main provider, employer-provider, and employer rules.

Thirdly, they have removed of ‘unnecessary rules and duplication and simplified the language’.

Finally, the ESFA has reviewed evidence requirements and included them at the end of each section to support understanding.

So what does this all mean? The impact these changes will have is fairly far-reaching, so employers should bear the following in mind as they plan for the next academic year:

  1. An increase in flexibility for employers, including virtual progress reviews, and allowing up to 42 days for signatures on training plans
  2. Monitoring active learning and administration of a break in learning are moving to a calendar month – as opposed to 28 days
  3. Part-time or zero-hour contracted apprentices can achieve their apprenticeship more quickly, provided the 12-month minimum duration and all off-the-job training has been achieved
  4. There continues to be a strong emphasis on developing a robust training plan, identifying all off-the-job training opportunities for the duration of the apprenticeship
  5. The care leaver bursary for apprentices is increasing to £3,000 from August 2023
  6. This set of funding rules should be much easier to implement than last year’s rules, meaning providers should be able to be organised ahead of September cohort starts

The full funding rules are available on the ESFA website here.

If you have any questions about how this will affect you as an employer, please contact Rachel Roby (rachel.roby@cogentskills)

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