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Future Fit Traning

Adult Education Budget – A Complete Guide

Are you a UK resident over 19 looking for ways to kick-start your career? If yes, the Adult Education Budget may just be the right move for you.

The Adult Education Budget is a government-funded programme that enables adults over the age of 19 to get a wide range of qualifications. Employers can also take advantage of this funding to up-skill and support the career progression of their staff.

However, few people are aware of this programme, leading to insufficient available funds.

This continuous underspending shows that funding is available, but fewer people opt for this programme.

So, if you want to know more about whether or not you are eligible for AEB funding, keep reading.


This article will discuss everything related to the Adult Education Budget, from history to how it works, approved qualifications, eligibility, and others.

So, let’s get right to it, shall we?

What is the Adult Education Budget and How Does it Work?

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) is a government-funded programme developed to address the skills shortages in young adults in the UK. It also helps individuals and employers improve career opportunities or fund career changes.

This way, young adults will be equipped with the needed skills for the workforce and further learning.

The AEB ensures more tailored and adaptable learning programmers are available to help eligible adults enhance their skill set, build confidence, and improve employability.

The courses funded by the AEB are delivered by different providers, including universities, further education colleges, adult learning institutes, independent training providers, sixth-form colleges, employers, and local authorities.

The AEB used to be nationally managed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (EFSA). Still, since the start of the 2019/2020 academic year, the government has transferred the responsibility for the Adult Education Budget to the Mayor of London.

This means that the Mayor of London is now responsible for the yearly funding management and allocation. Additionally, the main priority of the Adult Education Budget funding is to ensure that adults have unrestricted access to the skills training that they need.

How can the Adult Education Budget be used?

The Adults Education Budget is shared across different regions in the country, and more than half of the budget is managed by combined regional authorities. Only local training providers, like universities, mayoral authorities, and employers, can access these funds. Outlined below are the different ways the AEB funding is used.

  • Individuals aged 19-23 can get full funding for complete level 2 or 3 qualifications if they don’t have one.
  • Low waged learners who earn less than £18,525 yearly and are above 24 can get full funding for level 2 or 3 qualifications.
  • Unemployed individuals can get full funding for any qualification up to level 2.
  • Low waged non-native English speakers can get full funding to improve their English language skills up to level 2.
  • Individuals 19 years and above, who have digital skills below level 1, can get full funding for essential digital skills qualifications up to level 1.
  • Individuals aged 19 and above who have yet to achieve a GSCE grade A*-C for English and mathematics can get fully funded English and mathematics qualification up to level 2.

Qualifications Approved by AEB

Learners can only be fully funded for one qualification from the list highlighted below.

  • English and mathematics
  • Essential Digital Skills qualifications
  • English for non-native English speakers
  • Traineeship
  • Adult community learning
  • First full qualification at level 2
  • First full qualification at level 3

Why the Adult Education Budget Funds English and Mathematics Qualification

As mentioned earlier, the Adult Education Budget can be used to fund English and mathematics qualifications for adults over 19 fully. English and mathematics are critical skills needed in almost every path, whether further education or an apprenticeship.

With a recognized level 2 qualification — GCSE or grade 4, it can be easier for individuals to further their careers. This is why the AEB is funding this qualification to bridge the skills gap and help individuals kick-start their careers.

Employers can also use the Adult Education Budget to help employees improve their basics, enabling them to further their careers.

Who is Eligible for AEB funding?

The eligibility for the Adult Education Budget funding is based on the individual’s age, circumstances, and past attainment. However, the basic eligibility requirement is that you must:

  • Be 19 years or above
  • Live in England
  • Have been living in the European Union for nothing less than three years
  • Have not completed the course you want to enrol for previously.

Now that we know the basic requirements for AEB funding let’s look at some examples of individuals that meet the residency requirements and are eligible for this funding.

  • UK nationals and other persons with right of abode that has been residents of the UK, the Crown Dependencies, or the British Overseas Territories for at least three years.
  • UK nationals that are residing in the European Economic Area, Switzerland, or Gibraltar for at least 3 years before the first day of learning.
  • EEA and Swiss nationals that have obtained pre-settled or settled status under EUSS.
  • Irish citizens in the UK or Ireland.
  • Irish citizens in EEA and Switzerland
  • Non-UK nationals that have been residents in the UK for at least three years before the first day of learning (residents in the UK for educational purposes only are not included).
  • Family members of EU nationals
  • A family member of an eligible person in Northern Ireland
  • Individuals with specific immigration status types, like refugee status, humanitarian protection, leave outside the rules, discretionary leave to enter or remain, indefinite leave to enter or remain, Ukraine Family Scheme, etc.
  • Children of Turkish workers that have been residents in the UK
  • Asylum seekers that have lived in the UK for six months or more
  • An individual granted stateless leave.
  • British armed forces personnel and Ministry of Defence personnel
  • People who live in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Wales.

Who is not eligible for AEB funding?

We have highlighted different examples of individuals that do not meet the eligibility criteria. So, if you fall into any of these criteria, you are not eligible for funding.

  • Individuals that are in the country unlawfully
  • Students in the UK on a student visa
  • Individuals in the UK on holiday
  • Family members of people with student visas
  • Individuals with study restrictions on their residence permit

How can employers access the funding?

As an employer, you can access the Adult Education Budget funds to up-skill and re-skill your employees, aid their career progression, and solve skill shortages.

Before accessing the funding, employers need to ensure that the learners are eligible, and they can do that on the government website.

Then, they can create an account with The Hub to access the funds directly.

How to claim Learning Support Funding through AEB

The Adult Education Budget can also offer support funding to adults with learning difficulties or disabilities, enabling them to achieve their learning goals. The Learning Support Funding commonly referred to as LSF1, is directly available through the ESFA for adult education.

For institutions to claim this funding, they need to offer evidence at the start of a learner’s programme alongside continuous monthly supporting evidence.

Additionally, this funding is available to ensure adult learners with learning disabilities get the same high level of support as their counterparts.

How to claim the Free Courses for Jobs Offer

A targeted level 3 adult funding offer was introduced on 2 April 2022 for adults who are unemployed or low-wage. This will include funding for level 3 qualifications that support new skill development for an adult to improve their prospects in the labour market.

This funding is majorly for adults above 24 years to access fully funded level 3 qualifications.

Wrapping Up

The Adult Education Budget is one of the many ways the government is looking to bridge the skills gap in the country. As long as you are 19+ and meet all the criteria discussed in the article, you can look for eligible local providers in your region and apply for funding – it’s that easy.

Also, if you have a learning disability, don’t worry, as there is special funding available to help you get the same learning opportunities as others.