Each apprenticeship is allocated to one of 30 funding bands, which range from £1,500 to £27,000.
Each funding band sets the maximum amount of digital funds an employer (who pays the levy) can use towards an individual apprenticeship. The funding band also sets the maximum price that government will ‘co-invest’ towards an individual apprenticeship, where an employer does not pay the levy or has insufficient digital funds and is eligible for extra government support.
Information about the apprenticeship levy and spending apprenticeship funds is available on gov.uk.
Funds can only be used to pay for apprenticeship training and assessment for apprentices. The funding band is not a funding rate and employers are expected to negotiate with training providers and end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) to agree an appropriate price to deliver the necessary training and assessment. If the costs of training and assessment agreed between the employer and training provider are more than the funding band, employers need to pay the difference with other funds.
Details about which costs can and can’t be funded are set out in the Department for Education’s apprenticeship funding rules.
The Department for Education has announced that from the 1 August 2023, when an organisation receives recognition for a standard from Ofqual or the Office for Students (OfS) they will automatically be placed onto the list of approved EPAOs. DfE will merge this list with the Register of Apprenticeship Training providers (ROATP) and rename it the ‘apprenticeship providers and assessment register’ (APAR). More information will be published soon by the Department for Education, and we will reflect these changes in our guidance in due course.
In a core and options apprenticeship, there are core duties and knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) that are shared across the occupations. There are also duties, knowledge, and skills (and maybe behaviours) specific to each occupation (option). Each apprentice must attain the core KSBs and attain the KSBs in one of the options. In practice, this means there is some variance in the learner journey, including the training provided.
Core and option apprenticeships are allocated one funding band. Where options have different costs associated with them, the funding band will be assigned based on the lowest cost option to achieve the apprenticeship. Training for any options taken beyond the ‘minimum’ required would be outside the apprenticeship, and employers will need to pay the difference.
We know that some employers may feel that the current funding band for the apprenticeship they use requires review. There is an established system in place to regularly review funding for individual apprenticeships, to make sure providers can deliver good quality training and assessment for both employers and learners. Our published change process outlines the required steps for funding-only revision requests.
We make a funding band recommendation to the Secretary of State for Education, who makes the final decision on the funding band for an apprenticeship.
Prior to the current funding model (FM) we made funding band recommendations using a quotes-based methodology, this was retired in November 2022.
As Trailblazer groups are employers that are representative of their occupations they are best placed to develop and submit the information that is required. To make a funding band recommendation using the FM, we use information and evidence provided by you alongside fixed-rates created using our independent evidence base.
The funding allocation process, and methodology, is transparent and you are encouraged to make a submission which details the necessary training and assessment, free from predefined funding aspirations. Following our moderation of your submitted funding package you will be given the opportunity to review our identified typical costs and submit additional information before we make our recommendation to the Department for Education. You will also have the opportunity to provide information to the Department for Education to be considered when the decision is made.
The information you provide will be used by us during the funding band allocation, review, and approval process. This may include sharing this information with the Secretary of State, or their delegate, to support them in their decision making when they consider our funding band recommendation.
We also compile information about apprenticeship training and assessment costs. We plan to share findings regularly with the Department for Education to increase understanding of apprenticeship costs and assist the Department for Education with monitoring the affordability of apprenticeships.
The information you provide may also be used by us to develop and test potential new processes or improvements to our existing processes. We may use the information to inform future fixed rates or other estimates or calculations which feature as part of the funding band allocation process.
By submitting information, either via the apprenticeship builder, other funding forms, or to your PM, you agree to us using it for these purposes and sharing it with the Department for Education as necessary. If you do not agree to the information being used in this way you should raise this with your PM prior to submission so we can discuss it further with you. Please note that you should not submit personal data as part of this process.
We offer several tools throughout the process to support you in identifying and supplying good quality evidence; the first of these is a Trailblazer funding workshop to introduce the FM and its timeline, this will be arranged by your Product Manager. It is recommended that you request this workshop at least 12 weeks prior to your intended submission date.
A revision to an occupational standard or end-point assessment (EPA) plan may lead us to review the funding band - as set out in our change requests process.
Where the model is being used for changes to an apprenticeship, a stability mechanism will apply. It means that funding band recommendations will not be reduced or increased by more than two funding bands.
This is to avoid significant funding band changes for apprenticeships that are being revised. However, the stability mechanism will not be applied to revised apprenticeships that meet the criteria of one or more of the categories in the table at the bottom of our funding band model page.
We have a duty to ensure market stability and ensure a value for money approach is taken in making funding band recommendations. The stability mechanism will help ensure we achieve this and has been introduced at the request of the Department for Education to mitigate the risk of significant and sudden changes to funding.
|1||IfATE sends initial funding information to the trailblazer group|
|2||IfATE gives the trailblazer group an estimate of salary costs|
|3||The Trailblazer group sources a quote for end-point assessment|
|4||Trailblazer group collates training information, supporting evidence, and EPA quote(s)|
|5||Trailblazer group seeks a pre-submission review, and following feedback makes a funding submission|
|6||IfATE moderates and verifies the training delivery information and evidence supplied|
|7||IfATE moderates the end-point assessment quote(s) supplied|
|8||IfATE uses independent evidence base to generate rates|
|9||IfATE presents typical costs that will be used in our funding calculation|
|10||IfATE calculates the proposed funding band recommendation|
|11||IfATE Approval Committee reviews and approves funding band recommendation, taking advice from route panel(s)|
|12||The Secretary of State makes the funding band decision|
For a new apprenticeship, we will provide you with information about the funding bands assigned to apprenticeships that share similar characteristics for example, the same route, similar level, and duration. This is to give you an overview of typical levels of funding. We do not use these characteristics when recommending a funding band.
A typical training delivery salary cost is used in the FM. This is either an estimate of typical tutor salary costs provided by us, or an evidenced typical tutor salary cost provided by you.
We will provide you with an estimate of typical training delivery salary costs. It includes gross salary and a fixed uplift which contributes towards national insurance and pension costs, referred to as ‘on-costs’.
Our estimates are informed by:
If you believe our estimate of typical training delivery salary costs needs adjusting for your apprenticeship, you should submit additional evidence. The evidence you submit must meet the requirements of two of the evidence categories below:
a. Two paid invoices for tutor services relevant to the occupation from different training providers, from the last 12 months.
b. Anonymised PAYE data for gross salary paid to two individual occupationally relevant tutors from different training providers, from the last 12 months.
c. One paid invoice for tutor services relevant to the occupation, and anonymised PAYE data, for gross salary for one occupationally relevant tutor. Each piece of evidence should come from a different training organisation, from the last 12 months
Where evidence of typical salary costs to meet the required evidence categories does not exist, you should talk to us so that we can look at how a funding band recommendation can be made using known available evidence. You should do this where there is expectation that the training delivery salary would differ from the typical, for example for niche or new occupations, and where genuine reasonable effort has not discovered all the required evidence.
You need to provide us with an EPAO quote(s) based on the apprenticeship’s end-point assessment (EPA) plan.
This EPA quote(s) can be from any EPAO that could potentially deliver the end point assessment. They do not have to be an organisation currently listed on the apprenticeship provider and assessment register (APAR). You must use the EPAO quote form. If it is not possible to get a quote, please discuss this with your PM.
As part of your submission, you should provide us with:
You, the trailblazer group, must determine the final set of information, and evidence, to include within your submission. This training delivery information and evidence should be based on what you believe to be an accurate reflection of current and necessary high quality training delivery and assessment. You are responsible for checking the accuracy and quality of this information.
To gather the information and evidence required to support your submission you may wish to work with or seek advice from stakeholders for example, training providers. Your PM can provide advice on ways to gather the information we require.
We strongly recommend that you ensure that funding evidence and data is reviewed by us so that we can advise on whether the funding package is ready to be submitted. You should seek our input 4 weeks before the intended submission date by sharing your funding package for a pre-submission review.
If you do not ensure we have the time to undertake a pre-submission review it may delay the funding band recommendation as it could result in a submission being returned to you for further work. If you cannot complete the suggested work by the submission deadline then you may have to wait for the next submission cycle, or risk submitting without the pre-submission review feedback having been fully actioned.
Following our pre-submission review, and acting upon recommendations we make, you should submit your funding package.
We moderate your funding information and evidence against the ESFA’s apprenticeship funding rules. This moderation includes the removal of all ineligible costs. If the information and evidence supplied isn’t sufficient, we will seek clarification, information, or further evidence from you.
We consider submitted information and evidence related to typical eligible costs against independent verification points to ensure value for money. These verification points may include:
The relevant route panel(s) (RP), who are independent from the funding development process, may be asked to provide their view on the typical training delivery of the occupational standard.
The RP may suggest additional sources of evidence to consider, as part of the funding band recommendation process, and provide their view on the accuracy and necessity of expected trainer or tutor salary, consumables, and mandatory qualification costs.
We may arrange for a peer reviewer to provide expert comment on the training costs associated with your apprenticeship. The peer reviewer is chosen for their experience of the occupation or sector in which the occupation is found. You and the RP will receive a summary of their comments if they are consulted.
In some cases, we will not seek advice from a peer reviewer. For example, where we already have adequate information to make a recommendation or where there is not a suitable peer reviewer. We may seek advice from multiple peer reviewers if we think there are additional insights which would be useful to help inform our decision.
We will, if necessary, adjust the submitted qualification costs for a mandatory qualification(s) so that it captures only the registration, certification, and examination costs. The costs will be reviewed in line with:
• publicly funded rates
• market prices of RoATP approved organisations
This is to ensure value for money.
If you have submitted typical training delivery salary cost evidence, we will consider whether it meets the evidence requirements listed in step 2. Where these evidence requirements have been met, we will progress the lowest verified salary cost, you have provided, for inclusion in our funding calculation. Where we verify that the evidence submitted points to a cost lower than our best estimate it could impact on our recommendation.
If the submitted evidence results in an adjustment to our best estimate of typical salary costs necessary, we will apply our ‘on-cost’ rate to this adjustment.
For example, where you have evidenced a typical gross salary of £26 per hour, and this is the lowest salary identified within the evidence you have provided to us, we will add our 18.05% ‘on-cost’ rate to this hourly salary amount. In this example the final typical salary to be used in our funding calculation would be £30.69
We may revise down the costs you have supplied based on our moderation and verification of your information and evidence. Where cost information submitted by you is incomplete, of poor quality, or insufficiently evidenced it could impact our recommendation.
Equally, where evidence suggests that the cost information submitted to us may not be necessary for the delivery of the apprenticeship, or, where evidence appears to be inaccurate, it could impact our recommendation. If such a judgment is made, you may be asked for additional evidence or clarification as part of our moderation and verification process.
We moderate your EPA quote(s) against the APAR conditions of acceptance.
We expect that any quotes provided are for high-quality EPA. On this basis, where we receive more than one quote, we will use the lowest moderated EPA quote in our funding calculation. This is to ensure value for money.
As part of our moderation process, we may ask you to provide additional evidence or clarification.
We have used our independent evidence base to generate fixed-rates for:
IFF ‘Costs of delivering apprenticeship standards’ has informed the data used to generate rates in the FM.
We provide you with:
This information will be provided to you in writing. You can either accept the typical costs we have identified, or where you disagree and a cogent reason exists, submit additional evidence for us to consider before we make a funding band recommendation.
You must inform us of your intention to submit additional evidence within 10 working days of our notification of these typical costs. You will then have a further 10 working days to submit this additional evidence. We may agree to allow you additional time if requested. If you do not notify us of your intention to submit additional evidence within 10 working days, we will progress the funding band allocation process using the typical costs identified. We may agree to allow you additional time if requested.
We will moderate and verify any new evidence that you supply in accordance with steps 6-8. This may lead to the funding band recommendation being made in a later cycle, When we present the typical costs we intend to use within our funding calculation we will detail the potential and impact of any delay which may occur due to the submission of additional evidence.
We calculate our funding band recommendation.
This is done by combining the values for: training, consumables, formative assessment, EPA, mandatory qualification(s), and programme management, governance, and administration; and applying an uplift of 9%.
The 9% uplift reflects the eligible cost margin and is applied to all funding band calculations, as detailed within our model schematic.
The proposed funding band recommendation and its evidence base, as outlined above, is provided to the relevant RP. They consider the proposed funding band recommendation and provide advice to IfATE’s Approval Committee (AC). RP do not approve funding band recommendations.
The proposed funding band recommendation and RP advice are then submitted to IfATE’s AC, a sub-committee of IfATE’s board, for approval. AC may approve the proposed funding band, or where they require more information, defer it for consideration at a future meeting or, ask you to re-submit. We will let you know if this happens, via a decision letter, and what actions you are required to take.
Only our provisional recommendation is presented to RP for comment, and AC for approval. If you wish to provide additional commentary this should be submitted as part of the additional contextual Trailblazer information (ACTI). The ACTI will only be considered by the Secretary of State, or their delegates, when making their final decision.
We will advise you of our funding band recommendation, once it has been agreed by our AC. Following notification of our funding band recommendation you can either agree to this recommendation being progressed to a final funding decision by The Department for Education (either with or without submitting further information – see under step 12 below), or consider seeking procedural review
You must inform us of your decision within 10 working day of this notification. If you do not notify us of your decision or take the relevant steps in connection with procedural review within the prescribed timeframes we will progress the funding band recommendation to The Department for Education, for a final funding band decision.
The Secretary of State for Education, or their delegate, makes the final decision on the funding band for apprenticeships.
You can provide the ACTI for the Secretary of State to consider, alongside our funding band recommendation. The ACTI should be submitted within 10 working days of notification of our funding band recommendation and is limited to a maximum of 500 words. The submission of an ACTI is optional and may only be submitted where you agree to this recommendation being progressed to a final funding decision by The Department for Education.
The funding band recommendation and ACTI, where produced, are submitted to the Secretary of State. They will make a funding band decision. They may set a different funding band to our recommendation.
We will advise you of the final funding band decision, once it has been made by the Secretary of State.
You must submit your typical training delivery information and evidence using our trailblazer data capture form.
We recommend that you consider the necessary typical training delivery, and the information and evidence you will need to submit, as you develop your occupational standard.
The completed trailblazer data capture form and EPA quote should be submitted at the same time as your occupational standard and EPA plan. Your PM can provide further guidance on completing the form.
We will consider all the evidence you provide when we make our funding band recommendation and engage with trailblazer groups as necessary throughout our moderation and verification. Where submitted evidence does not meet our requirements, we will explain this to you and, if necessary, you may be invited to submit additional or alternative evidence. We will advise you of our funding band recommendation, once the AC approves the funding band recommendation.
When you are notified of our funding band recommendation you will have two choices.
1. You may agree that the funding band recommendation can proceed to be considered by the Secretary of State. As indicated above you will have the opportunity to submit additional trailblazer contextual information (ACTI). If you do submit this additional information, it will be sent to the Secretary of State for consideration alongside our funding band recommendation. The Secretary of State will then make a funding band decision.
2. If you feel as though a material procedural error or other material irregularity may have occurred as part of our funding band allocation process, you may wish to consider seeking procedural review. If so, you must notify the IfATE within 10 working days of our decision that you intend to seek a procedural review. Full details of procedural review can be found on our website.
If you seek procedural review, the funding band recommendation will not go to the Secretary of State (or their delegate) for a decision until the procedural review has concluded (and, where a procedural review is granted, only after a fresh decision is made). You will still have the opportunity to submit the ACTI when the funding recommendation does progress to the Secretary of State for a decision.
After an apprenticeship is approved for delivery, it might be necessary to revise, adjust, or correct the occupational standard or the EPA plan. This usually does not happen until the apprenticeship has been in delivery for some time. Depending on what those changes are, we might need to make a new funding band recommendation. You should discuss any changes with your PM.
When we make a new funding band recommendation for an existing apprenticeship, we will use the same approach we do when setting a funding band for a new apprenticeship.
It is important to note that if a new funding band recommendation is made, the funding could be lower, the same, or higher than the current funding band assigned to the apprenticeship. If we recommend a new funding band, it will be based on the same 30-band structure used in all funding band recommendations.
A new funding band recommendation will typically be made if there is:
Typically, a new funding band recommendation will not be made if there is only:
We may or may not need to make a new funding band recommendation when there is:
For guidance, an example of a completed EPAO quote form can be found in the second sheet within the excel document.
Please contact your PM if you need support to complete the forms.
Last updated 25 July 2023