National AEB tender winners 2023 revealed

55 training providers awarded share of £75m pot

55 training providers awarded share of £75m pot

5 Jul 2023, 22:12


Results of the delayed national adult education budget tender have been released tonight, FE Week can reveal.

Fifty-five training providers have been awarded contracts from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

Contract values for individual providers have not been released, but FE Week understands the full amount available of £75 million has been awarded.

Big names missing from this year’s winners list (see table below) include the likes of The Child Care Company, Skills Training UK, Babington and the Learning Curve Group.

However, the results are subject to a 10-day standstill period in which unsuccessful bidders can appeal. Contracts are due to commence from August 1.

The overall tender, launched in February, is made up of £12 million for Free Courses for Jobs and £63 million for non-devolved adult education budget (AEB).

AEB contract values range from £203,950 to £2,496,460 and, for Free Courses for Jobs, between £17,780 and £825,506.

The 54 winners represent a further reduction in the number of training providers with AEB contracts with the ESFA.

The agency reduced the number of AEB contractors from 208 to 88 last time when it last procured in 2021.

Of the 2021 winners, just 20 have won contracts again this time around.

FE Week analysis shows that eight of the 55 winners are judged as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted, half of whom were inspected this year. Meanwhile, four of the contractors have not yet been inspected by the watchdog at all.

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  1. Ian Taylor

    It’s just utter madness that the ESFA, pay no regard whatsoever to an organisations OFSTED history or report, its past performance or proven ability to produce verified outcomes of actually helping people into work or further their careers. Organisations are judged purely on their ability to appeal to a readers sense of whether a question has been fully answered. As training organisations we invest in quality provision that leads to results, we are judged and inspected against a robust inspection framework, but all that effort is for nought, all the training of staff is for nought, all the job outcomes are for nought, lives changed for nought if it all depends on a whim of a reader, who has no context as to what they are reading. The country is poorer for it, as quality private providers move into the corporate arena, where their investment in quality is rewarded with repeat business rather than be at the mercy of an uninformed bureaucrate making decisions in the dark, with no context. Not only are learners disadvantaged by this approach, so are businesses and the professionals who have worked so hard to meet the exacting OFSTED regime.

  2. Tony Williams

    Well a lot better than what the West Midlands Combined Authority did. They haven’t engaged any of their previous providers which were over 30 which were good enough in 2019 but not now. They chose out of town providers for their main two projects.
    Their AEB needs an investigation into the underspend and the delays they took. A lot of organisations folding not returning the funds and BMET College giving £1.6 to Redstone Associates who subsequently went bust!!.
    ESFA were much better lets get them back from this incompetent organisation. They are a shambles.