Introduction to the pilot

The Institute aims to ensure that apprenticeships are funded appropriately across all sectors, and are accessible to as many employers as possible. That is why we have been developing a new, more transparent model for recommending funding bands (the government’s maximum funding contribution).

This development has included significant consultation and stakeholder engagement, taking on board the technical advice, suggestions and guidance received. Combined with two rounds of impact testing, the work has had a major influence on the shape and content of the new model. 

During 2022, we will pilot the new funding model, starting with a small number of apprenticeships and building momentum over the year. As we pilot, the existing funding model and the new funding model will both be operational.

The published guidance and core documentation, that volunteer trailblazers participating in the pilot will need to use, is accessible via the allocating a funding band page.

If you have questions, do contact us directly at


Journey - changes to the funding recommendation process

Commissioned research

A report was jointly commissioned by the Institute and DfE to add to the body of knowledge about apprenticeship standards and gain a better understanding of the actual costs of delivering apprenticeship training and assessment.

The research was designed to inform the work of both the Institute and the Department, including the design of a new approach to making funding band recommendations. The report captured a snapshot of the apprenticeships programme at that moment in time and has strengthened the Institute’s evidence base on the costs of delivery.

Link to IFF research document 

Timeline from February 2020 to September 2022

September 2022

In September 2022, IfATE published a consultation summary report which captures stakeholder feedback to the second consultation. The report captures the key themes raised in consultation responses and provides an overview of the main features of the new funding model pilot.

January 2022

The key change the Institute has made to the model presented during the most recent consultation is to remove the initial rates-based estimate from the proposed new approach.

This means that, in every instance, the trailblazer group will need to provide specific, defined information on various aspects of the individual apprenticeship being considered.

This change was made following direct stakeholder feedback on the need for the model to allow for bespoke inputs for every apprenticeship. The Institute also believes that the removal of the initial rates-based estimate of the approach will strengthen transparency and provide a clearer and simpler process for employers and other stakeholders.

Autumn 2021

The consultation update noted that the Institute planned to publish a full consultation response in parallel with the outputs from the testing work and the conclusion of Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)’s review of funding eligibility which was launched that same month.

Whilst the Institute’s impact testing work concluded in autumn 2021, ESFA’s review of funding eligibility remains ongoing and, as such, the Institute will not be publishing the full consultation summary report until later in 2022. The report will include a summary of the piloting phase and set out the outcomes of testing.

The ESFA’s review of funding eligibility may still have an impact in the future on what is or isn’t eligible for consideration as part of ongoing funding band recommendations. It remains, however, out of scope for the Institute’s work on designing a new approach for making funding band recommendations. Any subsequent changes that are made to the funding rules will be reflected in the respective calculations of the new model.

December 2020

The Institute published a consultation update document in December 2020 which outlined the key themes from responses.

August 2020

In August 2020, the model was refined to take on board the feedback received to the consultation and it was decided to launch a second consultation on a revised ‘hybrid’ model combining a rates-based approach with a trailblazer-input approach.

To support the consultation, the Institute published a narrated presentation to set out the key elements of the proposed new funding model. The funding consultation proposed changes walk-through can be found on YouTube.

Similarly, this second consultation also generated a good level of feedback, with the topic of eligible costs consistently appearing in responses. Respondents continued to refer to ESFA’s funding rules and ineligible costs which fall outside of funding. In response to feedback and general engagement more widely across the sector, the ESFA agreed to take stock of their funding rules eligibility position and their review is ongoing.

February 2020

In February 2020, the Institute launched a consultation on proposed changes to the funding band recommendation process and set out plans to use a rates-based model to generate funding bands. The consultation generated a large response rate across the sector with respondents expressing support for a system that would allow TBs to provide specific information to allow funding bands to reflect more nuanced costs and that a new model needs to accurately capture consumables costs to reflect variation.