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2022 - 23 WMCA Skills Programmes Funding Rules

Section 9. Free Courses for Jobs (FCFJ) additional Funding Rules


This section sets out additional funding eligibility rules for learners funded through Free Courses for Jobs (FCFJ). Eligibility rules set out in the Eligibility section of this document are also applicable to learners funded through FCFJ.

As part of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, a targeted level 3 adult offer has been developed to support adults without an existing full level 3 qualification and, from 1 April 2022, adults who meet the definition of ‘low wage’ or ‘unemployed’. This offer is also known as the free courses for jobs (FCFJ) offer.

The offer includes:

  • level 3 qualifications which will support the development of new skills for adult learners and improve the prospects of eligible adults in the labour market. In particular, eligible adults aged 24+ can now access fully-funded level 3 provision from the list of level 3 free courses for jobs (FCFJ) qualifications available via the DfE list of qualifications approved for funding
  • WMCA will also fund additional qualifications as listed below through Free Courses for Jobs. Please note these are only available to fund via WMCA funding.
  • additional level 3 qualifications for 19 to 23-year-olds that are not included in the legal entitlements
  • the ability for eligible learners to take one short qualification (identified by category code 49) without exhausting their eligibility. We expect this flexibility to be used where a learner could benefit from a more substantial qualification once they have completed a short qualification

Principles of Funding

We will fund eligible learners where the WMCA have formally agreed the allocation and qualifications with the provider.

Providers must make sure an individual is eligible for FCFJ funding before claiming funding for them. It is your responsibility to check the eligibility of the resident at the start of each adult learning aim, and only claim funding for eligible residents.

An uplift is payable at 2 different rates and follows the earnings methodology set out in the funding rates and formula document. This uplift should be used to support delivery of the level 3 adult offer.

Only level 3 qualifications included in this offer will attract an uplift. There may be additions to the list to ensure it meets the needs of the economy; we encourage providers to check availability regularly.

When qualifications are added to the list of qualifications included in this offer, they will become eligible for funding from that publication date and will not be backdated to the start of the level 3 adult offer (1 April 2021) or the funding year.

We will fund eligible learners to take one short qualification, followed by one further qualification in the level 3 adult offer, without exhausting their eligibility. Short qualifications are identified by category code 49 which can be found in level 3 free courses for jobs (FCFJ) offer – short qualifications within find a learning aim.

A learner will not be eligible for this additional short qualification offer if they have already achieved one of the short qualifications prior to 1 April 2021.

You must not claim for ESFA Skills Programmes funding where learners are already being funded through an Advanced Learner Loan (ALL) for qualifications that are in the level 3 adult offer. The criteria for ALL can be found in the Advanced learner loans funding rules 2021 to 2022.

You may fund eligible learners who are:

  • Enrolled on Level 3 qualifications eligible for government funding; and
  • Those qualifications are in the sector subject areas covered by the Free Courses for Jobs (FCFJ) offer but not included in the national list of qualifications; and
  • They are technical, vocational, or occupational qualifications

Learner Eligibility

To be funded by the WMCA, residents must meet the following criteria:

  • They are aged 19 or above on 31 August within the 2022 to 2023 funding year
  • They have not achieved a full level 3 qualification, or above, which meets the requirements set out in the full level 3 section; or
  • They have not achieved a qualification available through the level 3 adult offer unless that qualification is a short qualification, as set out below
  • They enrol on the level 3 adult offer qualifications approved for funding with effect from 1 April 2021
  • From 1 April 2022, we will also fully fund individuals as part of the offer where they:
  • meet the unemployment or learners in receipt of low wage criteria and
  • if they already have an existing full Level 3 qualification or higher, or have achieved any other qualification included in the level 3 adult offer qualifications list (DfE list of qualifications approved for funding), that qualification must have been achieved before 1 April 2021 or
  • if they have achieved a short qualification as set out below, and that was achieved after 1 April 2021, the individual is eligible for one further qualification through the offer
  • enrol on the level 3 adult offer qualifications approved for funding with effect from 1 April 2022

Once a learner has achieved their qualification(s) in line with the paragraphs above, they will have exhausted their eligibility for the offer.

Data Submission

You must accurately complete all ILR fields as required in the ILR specification, even if they are not required for funding purposes.

The ILR must accurately reflect the learning and support (where applicable) you have identified, planned and delivered to eligible individuals. You must not report inaccurate information that would result in an overstatement of the funding claimed.

Where your data does not support the funding claimed, we will take action to correct this, and we could recover funds you overstated.

In addition to the information in this section, the Performance and management rules have been provided, which sets out how you should submit data and how the WMCA will undertake its financial due diligence, make payments, performance manage, audit and gain assurance from its providers.

WMCA has provided extra guidance regarding ILR coding please refer to the WMCA Coding guidance for more information.

You should also refer to the ESFA ILR specification and provider manual for 2022/23, and any other relevant documents referred to in those documents.

You must:

  • use LDM code 378 and FFI code 1 to claim funding for learners who meet the requirements above use LDM code 378, FFI code 1, and LDM code 382 when recording learners who meet the low wage criteria.
  • record the employment status of learners accessing the offer in the ILR
  • use category code 49 to identify a short course qualification in find a learning aim

Additional FCFJ approved qualifications for delivery

In addition to the national Free Courses for Jobs qualifications, WMCA will also fund additional qualifications as listed below in line with the Free Courses for Jobs (FCFJ) funding eligibility.

You must ensure you use LDM code 378 when recording these learners on the ILR (and LDM code 382 when recording learners who meet the low wage eligibility) and record the employment status of learners accessing the offer in the ILR;

Please note: These qualifications will not attract an uplift.

Qualification Number
Course title


BTEC National Extended Certificate in Business


BTEC National Extended Certificate in Computing


Certificate in Web Design and Development (RQF)


BTEC National Certificate in Computing


Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (Development Knowledge)


Certificate in Coaching and Mentoring


Pearson BTEC level 3 Applied Human Biology


Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy


BTEC National Extended Diploma in Information Technology (Level 3)