Apprenticeships care leavers’ bursary guidance

Updated 8 February 2023

Applies to England


The bursary is for eligible apprentices who are in care or are care leavers. It will help remove financial barriers to accessing and completing apprenticeships.

The bursary is separate to the additional funding that employers and training providers can receive to support care leaver apprentices.

Find out about apprenticeships and what help is available for care leavers in the Amazing Apprenticeships care leavers guide.

You can also find out about career and employment development opportunities on the Care Leaver Covenant website.

Resources for care leavers, employers and organisations working with care leavers are available from the Learning and Work Institute. These include case studies and practical tips on supporting care leavers in apprenticeships.

Payment of the bursary

The bursary is paid by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to the apprenticeship training provider once the apprentice has been on the apprenticeship for at least 60 days.

The provider must pass it on to the apprentice within 30 days of receiving it, unless ESFA provides confirmation in writing that a longer period is acceptable.

For the payment to be made, the eligible apprentice must tell their training provider that they are a care leaver and provide written confirmation from their local authority.

Training providers should ensure candidates and apprentices have an opportunity to say if they are a care leaver. They should also give the apprentice a choice as to whether this information is shared with their employer.

If the apprentice does not want the employer to be informed, the additional payment for the employer will not be given. Training providers should refer to the apprenticeship technical funding guide for details on how to record this in the ILR.

Payment amount

For apprentices who start their apprenticeships up to and including 31 July 2023, the bursary is a single payment of £1,000. It can only be received once by an individual care leaver.

For apprentices starting their apprenticeship on or after 1 August 2023, the bursary will be £3,000. It is payable in instalments over the first year of the apprenticeship.

Eligible apprentices

For an apprentice to be eligible for the care leavers’ bursary, they must:

  • be aged under 25 at the time they start their apprenticeship
  • not have received the care leavers’ bursary before
  • be either an eligible child, a relevant child or a former relevant child

Young people should speak to their local authority personal adviser (PA) or social worker for professional advice and information about their leaving care status.

The website of the children’s rights organisation Coram Voice has an Am I a care leaver? quiz that can help young people understand their leaving care status and the support they should get.

Eligible child

This is a young person who:

  • is 16 or 17 years old
  • has been looked after by a UK local authority or health and social care trust for at least a period of 13 weeks since the age of 14
  • is still looked after by a UK local authority or health and social care trust

Relevant child

This is a young person who:

  • is 16 or 17 years old
  • has left care within the UK after their 16th birthday
  • was an eligible child before leaving care

Former relevant child

This is a young person who is under 25 who was either an eligible or a relevant child before turning 18.