Education & Skills Funding Agency

The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) are a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, their job is to fund and regulate adult further education and skills training in England.

The ESFA’s mission is to ensure that people and businesses can access the skills training they need to succeed in playing their part in society and in growing England’s economy. They do this in the context of policy set by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and informed by the needs of businesses, communities and sector and industry bodies.

Qube contracts directly with the ESFA, which asides meaning funding is more ready available for individuals and employers who qualify, means we are closely monitored and regulated.



European Social Fund

The European Social Fund (ESF) is designed to improve the skills of the workforce and to help people who have difficulties finding work. ESF provides additional investment to support and enhance Skills Funding Agency activity, to enable disadvantaged people to access and benefit from employment and skills opportunities.

How is European Social Fund spent?

In the current ESF programme running from 2007-13, the Skills Funding Agency is responsible for ESF learning provision to the 19+ age group. ESF contributes additional and enhanced provision to mainstream programmes such as Train to Gain and Apprenticeships.

For young people, ESF will support young people in jobs without training who are at risk of becoming ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET). This provision will enable them to gain skills and knowledge that will improve current and future employment or learning. ESF will also secure learning provision for specific groups of disadvantaged young people, particularly NEET, narrowing the attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged young people.

Who can deliver European Social Fund provision?

The Skills Funding Agency procures ESF funded learning provision using methods such as open and competitive tendering and negotiated funding. The Skills Funding Agency is a co-financing organisation for ESF in England. As a method of funding, co-financing distributes ESF funds directly to project providers such as Qube Learning.

Cross-cutting themes

European Union regulations require all co-financing organisations and projects to actively promote two specific cross-cutting themes during the ESF programme: gender equality and equal opportunities; and sustainable development. Requirements will form part of provider contracts with the Skills Funding Agency and specific guidance on these themes is available from the ESF in England website.

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