Guidance

How to become an approved training provider and bid for funding

Information for organisations who want to offer apprenticeship or further education training funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

Register

Organisations who want to deliver education and training need to register with the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP) and obtain a UK Provider Reference Number (UKPRN).

With a UKPRN you can register on the ESFA e-tendering portal (Bravo) in order to receive information about procurement opportunities published by the ESFA.

To be eligible to deliver education and training on behalf of the ESFA you must apply to one or both of the following registers, details when you can apply are published through Bravo.

If you apply to the register of apprenticeship training providers or are awarded a contract for services to deliver education and training for the first time you will need to complete a number of different actions.

Being on the register of training organisations does not automatically give you access to funding.

After your application to the register of apprenticeship training providers is successful or you are awarded a contract for services for the first time we will send you a unique provider identification number (UPIN). The UPIN is required for all your correspondence with ESFA.

Set up a super-user to get roles and permissions for ESFA services

You need to register on the ESFA security service IDAMS. The first person to register will be the super-user. They will be in charge of setting up roles, permissions and passwords for your staff.

Provide your bank details

You need to complete the bank details form and return this as a PDF to the email address on the form.

Your organisation’s finance officer must complete a separate verification form and return this to the email address provided.

Bank details change requests are subject to a verification process that may take up to 15 working days.

Sign apprenticeship agreements and contract for services

Your super-user will need to give you the SFS contract authoriser role.

This role allows you to sign ESFA apprenticeship agreements or contract for services through the Skills Funding Service (SFS).

Employer providers can sign their agreement through the apprenticeship service.

Register on the Learning Records Service

You need to get unique learner numbers (ULN) so you can submit Individual Learner Records (ILRs) data for apprentices and learners.

To get one you will need to register on the Learning Records Service (LRS).

Register on Employer Data Return Service (EDRS)

Register on the Employer Data Service (EDRS) using your UPIN to be able to:

Employer providers are required to get a separate EDRS number for every employer site.

Submit your training offer on course directory

You are required to submit the details of the training you offer using the course directory provider portal.

Your offer must be complete and up to date so employers and the public can find the training you are offering. If you are providing apprenticeship training the course directory also populates find apprenticeship training with your offer.

Using the apprenticeship service

If you are offering apprenticeship training then our guide for apprenticeship providers will help you through the process. The guide provides information on using the apprenticeship service and supporting the employers you are working with.

You will need the apprenticeships editor role to update apprentice details. Your super-user can give this role to you.

Returning data for payment

You need to return individualised learner record (ILR) data to the ESFA on a monthly basis.

You need the following roles and permissions to do this:

  • provider submissions user - to submit the ILR return and view the validation reports
  • provider information officer - to view the funding/financial reports

ILR information is used to:

  • calculate payments due to you
  • match with information from an employer’s digital account (for apprenticeships)
  • calculate co-investment due to you from employers (for apprenticeships)
  • support financial assurance
  • create national statistics

Our individualised learner record (ILR) data and guidance gives information on how to collect, return and check the quality of your data.

You need to submit your data return to the Hub at the correct time.

Higher education institutions (HEI), also need to submit a monthly ILR return as well as a regular HESA student record. You can find further information on the HESA website.

Support tools for management information systems

For training providers that do not have a data management system we provide an ILR learner entry tool from the Hub.

Monitoring your performance

All providers with a funding agreement or contract for services must follow the ESFA funding and performance management rules.

ESFA uses your ILR data to monitor your performance for quality and audit purposes throughout the year.

Roles and permissions

Essential roles and permissions needed to use ESFA services:

Apprenticeship service

Apprenticeships editor – this allows the user to respond to employer apprenticeship training requests and update apprentice details.

Skills Funding Service (SFS)

SFS contract authoriser – this allows the user authority to sign ESFA apprenticeship agreements or contracts and receive email alerts from the Skills Funding Service (SFS).

Data collections

Data exchange service: provider submissions user - this role allows the user to submit the (Individual Learner Record) ILR return and view the validation reports.

Data exchange service: provider information officer - this role allows the user to view the funding/financial reports.

Additional roles and permissions:

Skills Funding Service (SFS)

SFS - contract manager: This role allows a user to view ESFA apprenticeship agreements or contracts and receive the email alerts. This role does not have the authority to sign any documents in SFS.

SFS - contract user: This role allows the user to view all areas of the SFS. This role does not have the authority to sign any documents or get email alerts in SFS.

The guide to SFS user roles provides more information.

Data collections (DCFT)

Data exchange service - provider submissions user: This role allows the user to submit the (Individual Learner Record) ILR return and view the validation reports.

Data exchange service – provider information officer: This role allows the user to view the funding/financial reports.

Contact us

  • for technical support with ESFA systems or for data enquries, please contact our service centre

  • for all other apprenticeship levy and apprenticeship service enquiries, please email the national contact centre or call 08000 150 600

  • for help getting a unique learner number (ULN), contact the LRS service desk.

Published 2 February 2018