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Training outside of employment

Career advice, free level 3 qualifications, and financial support for level 4 and 5 qualifications are all available through Government initiatives for your workforce.

Basic skills (English, maths and digital)

Free English, maths, digital courses and qualifications for adults.

English and maths entitlement

In England, any adult who does not already have a level 2 qualification (GCSE grade 4 or equivalent) in English or maths is legally entitled to fully funded study up to level 2. 

Your workforce gets the potential to progress and your business increases its productivity.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

Adults can be fully or part-funded to study for ESOL qualifications from entry-level to level 2. 

ESOL improves English language skills which provides a clear return for individuals and the economy. 

Full-funding is available through the Adult Education Budget (AEB) if individuals:

  • are unemployed, looking for work and in receipt of certain benefits
  • in low-wage employment 

Some AEB-eligible learners can have up to 50% of the course cost paid for through a Government contribution.

In 9 Mayoral Combined Authorities (MCAs), AEB funding is allocated locally as well as in the Greater London Authority (GLA). Therefore in these areas, eligibility may differ.

Digital entitlement

Any adult with low digital skills is entitled to fully funded essential digital skills qualifications, at entry-level and level 1. These equip adults with the full range of essential digital skills needed for life, work and further study. 

Funding for other digital skills qualifications may also be available but this will depend on local training providers.

Benefits of free basic skills qualifications

Without your business needing to fund the training, they help you:

  • develop the talent pool in your business
  • ensure your entire workforce is digitally literate 
  • ensure your workforce has the English, maths and digital skills they need 
  • progress your current employees into higher skilled roles
  • offer free qualifications to adults

Free qualifications for adults

Free level 3 qualifications are government-funded courses for any adult aged 19 and over, who are looking to achieve their first full level 3 qualification or earning below national minimum wage.

A full level 3 qualification is equivalent to an advanced technical certificate, diploma, or A levels.

Without needing to fund the training yourself, they help you:

  • develop the talent pool in your business
  • progress your current employees into higher skilled roles

The Free Courses for jobs offer and the qualification list has been developed with industry, and will be regularly reviewed.

Benefits of free level 3 qualifications

Read the LinkedIn Workplace Learning report 2019 for information on developing a loyal and talented workforce.

Offer free qualifications to adults

Upskill your workforce by helping your employees find a free level 3 qualification.

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service can help you:

  • explore work and skills opportunities for your workforce including those offered as part of the skills recovery package.
  • carry out skills needs analysis for your business to understand gaps and find solutions.
  • find skilled people to fill current vacancies in your organisation.

Employer costs

The National Careers Service is free to use.

Benefits of National Careers Service

The National Careers Service can help you:

  • futureproof your business for the future labour market
  • help to develop your current workforce and supplement with talented individuals who have the skills you need
  • increase your resilience and productivity
  • take part in national virtual jobs fairs

Use the National Careers Service to support your workforce

Find out more about the National Careers Service and how to contact them.