About us

The Skills Funding Agency was replaced by Education and Skills Funding Agency in April 2017.

SFA funds skills training for further education (FE) in England. We support over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations, and employers with £3.2 billion of funding each year.

Skills Funding Letter: April 2016 to March 2017

  • SFA business plan 2016 to 2017 describes how we will deliver our key objectives and operational imperatives

  • SFA senior management (PDF, 1.78MB, 6 pages) outlines what our senior management team are accountable for and the responsibilities of their teams

  • new organisations – if you are new to the SFA, find out how to compete for funding opportunities to provide education and skills training


We are responsible for giving colleges, training organisations and employers the right funding to help adults, young people, 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)
  • running the National Apprenticeship Service which supports, funds and co-ordinates the delivery of apprenticeships and traineeships throughout England and provides a dedicated, responsive service for both employers and learners
  • running the National Careers Service, which gives impartial, professional advice on careers, skills and training
  • overseeing and managing Advanced Learner Loans
  • in the 2014-2020 ESF programme, providing an opt-in service to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and LEP area ESIF sub committees, to work with colleges and training organisations in meeting their locally identified skills priorities; procuring, managing and match funding training activity funded by ESF, which it has identified as meeting the needs in the local ESIF strategy

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)


During the financial year 2016 to 2017 we have 6 strategic objectives:

  • maintain the current apprenticeship funding system whilst developing the digital apprenticeship service to enable employers to control funding and recruit high-quality apprentices

  • deliver simplified national adult education funding systems (non-apprenticeship) to support government policy. Champion the opportunities for learners and employers to engage in high-quality apprenticeship, traineeship and skills opportunities

  • deliver on intervention cases alongside our wider work to increase college sector resilience

  • support and monitor the implementation of area reviews including securing solutions for long-term failing colleges

  • deliver shared services, through the Funding Agencies Shared Services Team, that enable effective financial, data and digital system management, (together with with the Education Funding Agency)

Who we are

SFA has staff throughout offices in the UK. We have an advisory board to ensure that we have direct input from customer groups in shaping and influencing our work.

We work with the Funding Reform and Localism Steering Group (FRLSG) to develop a simpler, more locally responsive funding system for adult skills, excluding apprenticeships.

We also support employer strategic networks such as the Apprenticeship Ambassador Network and the Apprenticeship Delivery Board to drive growth in apprenticeships.

Corporate information

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