Updated January 2024

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) is a valuable resource for individuals and employers alike, bridging skills gaps, improving career opportunities and supporting career progression.

Learn more about the AEB, how it can be used and who can benefit from it.

What is AEB funding?

Set up by the government, the Adult Education Budget funds a wide range of training and qualifications for adult learners aged 19+.

The AEB is nationally managed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and provides great learning opportunities to help individuals gain new skills to secure employment or advance in their current careers.

See which qualifications are approved for funding >

How can the AEB be used?

The Adult Education Budget is shared around the country, with over half of the budget managed by regional combined authorities and accessed through local training providers, like Gateway Qualifications’ network of recognised centres.

The AEB can be used to:

  • Fund anyone aged 19-23 to get a full level 2 or level 3 qualification (including level 3 free courses for jobs) if they don’t have one already. (Those aged 24+ may need to contribute costs.)
  • Fully fund low-paid learners (earning less than £20,319 per year∞) aged 24+ to get their first full level 2 or level 3 qualification.
  • Fully fund anyone who is unemployed for any course or qualification up to level 2.
  • Fully fund low-paid individuals (for whom English is not their first language) to improve their language skills up to level 2.
  • Fully fund individuals aged 19 years and above for digital functional skills and essential digital skills qualifications up to level 1 where their existing digital skills are below level 1.

In short, the Adult Education Budget is a great way to develop your own skills or to upskill your workforce and it is extremely flexible in how this is utilised.

We will also guide you through the process of how best to manage the funding and get the most out of each Academic year.

∞  This is the national ESFA low wage threshold.  The low wage threshold varies in devolved regions.  Always refer to the relevant adult funding rules based on the learners home postcode.

We can help you maximise your Adult Education Budget

At Gateway Qualifications, we are committed to the value of adult education, and we help training providers get the most out of their AEB funding.

Flexible qualification design

When designing and developing qualifications, we focus on flexibility to suit the needs of the learners and the providers by maximising the number of funding providers can access to benefit the learner, proving them with every chance of success and progression.

Benefits providers and learners

We’ll help you maximise your Adult Education Budget to better benefit your learners, while also ensuring qualifications are cost-effective for you to deliver. Even if you are uncertain about where to start your funding journey, we can find and tailor a solution that is geared towards getting the best out of your funding allocation for your learners.

An option for all eligible learners

To support your ongoing adult education delivery, there are options available for all eligible adult learners. From shorter, discreet courses to engage more difficult learners, back-to-work courses, to Sector Based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPS) – we provide a holistic approach to adult learning.

Find out if you are eligible for AEB funding

To be eligible for AEB funding, you or your employee(s) must:

  • Live in England
  • Be aged 19 or over
  • Have been living in the EU for at least the last 3 years
  • Enrol on a course that they have not previously completed

To find out more about the Adult Education Budget or see how we can support you in gaining or delivering professional qualifications, please contact us at 01206 911 211 for a friendly, no-obligation discussion, or fill out an enquiry form.

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