Training provider types

There are 3 types of apprenticeship training providers on the register of apprenticeship training providers:

  • The main provider – enters contracts with the employers that use the apprenticeship service to pay for apprenticeship training or holds a contact with ESFA to deliver employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy
  • Employer provider – trains their own employees or those of connected companies and uses the apprenticeship service to pay for the apprenticeship training
  • Supporting provider – enters subcontracts with main providers and employer providers to enhance apprenticeship training for employers and their apprentices


Your responsibilities

To receive government funding, you must enter the ESFA apprenticeship agreement for training providers for the provision of levy-funded apprenticeship training.

Supporting providers do not sign the provider agreement but must understand the ESFA funding rules before working with main providers and employer providers.



Apprenticeship standards – developed by trailblazers and approved by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education. Standards describe the skills, knowledge, and behaviours an apprentice needs to be competent in a defined occupation. The apprentice is assessed at the end of the apprenticeship by an end-point assessment organisation to ensure that the apprentice has achieved occupational competence.


What funding will you get?

You will only receive government funding if you are chosen from the register of apprenticeship training providers by an employer to provide apprenticeship training, or if you already have a contract with ESFA to deliver to employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy.

ESFA pays 80% of the funding in monthly instalments during the apprenticeship and the remaining 20% on completion of the apprenticeship programme.

Funding bands limit the amount of government funding that can be used to pay for apprenticeship training. Main providers will need to consider funding bands when agreeing on the cost of training and assessments with employers.

Supporting providers will be paid by the main provider or employer provider they are subcontracting from.


How to register

If you want to be a registered apprentice training provider, the first step is to check your eligibility. To be eligible all applications must have:

  • A valid UK provider reference number
  • A valid Information Commissioner’s Office registration number for education and training
  • A registered UK business address
  • Read what you need to know about being an apprentice training provider

Applicants to the main provider or employer provider route must also have:

  • Been actively trading for at least 12 months and have financial information to support this
  • The ability to train apprentices in the first 12 months of joining the register
  • A management structure that has experience of developing and delivering training

Applicants to the supporting provider route must have been actively training for a minimum of 3 months.

Applicants must not have an inadequate Ofsted grade for apprenticeships in their latest inspection report.

ESFA will start to assess applications on the first working day of each month for any applications received during the previous month. It usually takes around 12 weeks to assess an application but can take longer.

Those taking the supporter provider route should note that the subcontracts with main providers and employer providers can be up to a maximum value of £500,000 per year in total. For organisations with no history of apprenticeship delivery, this is limited to £100,000 in the first year on the register.


Application guidance

In your application you will be asked to provide evidence of the following:

  • Who is involved with apprenticeships in your organisation
  • Your financial status and ability to meet any financial commitments
  • How you evaluate the quality of training and outcomes
  • How to assess prior learning
  • How your leaders and managers document and define clear expectations of setting high standards for apprenticeship training
  • Your employees’ experience in training, including qualifications
  • The process of professional development for your employees
  • Your plan for continuity of apprenticeship delivery as well as equality and diversity, safeguarding and health and safety policies
  • How you engage with employers and your contracting arrangements with them (just main providers)
  • The commitment statement template you will use to support the apprenticeships (just main and employer providers)

More information can be found here.

For further details please email or telephone 0203 405 4000 and ask to speak to the apprenticeship department.


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