What we do

We fund skills training for further education (FE) in England. We support over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations, and employers with more than £4 billion of funding each year.


We are responsible for giving colleges, training organisations and employers the right funding to help young adults, the unemployed and people with low skill levels to get the skills they need for employment. This includes:

  • supporting traineeships for young people not in education, employment and training (NEET)
  • funding and coordinating apprenticeships throughout England
  • running the National Careers Service, which gives impartial, professional advice on careers, skills and training
  • overseeing and managing 24+ Advanced Learning Loans
  • being a co-financing organisation for the European Social Fund (ESF) in England, which is investing in jobs and skills
  • helping offenders get into education or training using the Offenders’ Learning and Skills Service

We also:

  • maintain Individualised Learner Record (ILR) data
  • publish data and datasets to support planning and performance reporting in FE
  • support the Learning Records Service, who maintain Unique Learner Numbers (ULNs) and Personal Learning Records (PLRs)


From 2013 to 2014, our priorities will be to:

  • create more apprenticeships
  • ensure employers understand the benefits of apprenticeships and traineeships
  • continue developing our National Apprenticeship Service into a single service for learners, providers and employers
  • meet local further education needs by developing our National Careers Service with the Local Enterprise Partnerships
  • support and develop traineeships and 24+ Advanced Learning Loans
  • prepare learning providers for changes to Adult Community Learning, so that they are in line with the targets in New Challenges, New Chances
  • improve our data service, by making our data open to the public

Full details of our priorities and how we will achieve them are in our current business plan.

Information on our performance against our responsibilities and priorities for the past year can be found in our annual report.

Who we are

SFA has staff throughout offices in the UK. We have an advisory board and 4 advisory groups:

Corporate information

Jobs and contracts

Corporate reports

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