Childcare qualifications funding

Find out what help you could get towards the cost of a childcare qualification.

Please note that you can no longer apply for Individual Qualification Bursary funding (IQB).

The following guidance is for childcare practitioners and setting managers seeking funding to help with the costs of childcare qualifications.

Advanced Learning Loan

Practitioners wishing to study for a Level 3, 4 or higher qualification can apply for the Government's Advanced Learner Loan to help with the cost of a college or training course.

Student finance

Practitioners wishing to study for a Level 5 or 6 qualification can apply for student finance to help pay for university or college tuition fees and living costs. You might get extra help on top of this, for example if you’re on a low income, are disabled or have children.

Employing an apprentice

Early years or childcare settings looking to take on an apprentice are eligible for funding from the National Apprenticeship Service.

Introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy

From April 2017, the way apprenticeships are funded within the UK is changing with the introduction of an Apprenticeship Levy. This is a payroll tax that will only be applicable if:

  • your setting has an annual pay bill of £3 million or more each year
  • your setting is connected to other companies or charities with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more each year.

Those employers who do not need to pay the levy will continue to apply for a grant.

Settings employing apprentices who started on their apprenticeship training before 1 May 2017 will not be affected by the introduction of the levy. These apprentices will continue on the same terms and conditions at the time their training started.

Further information can be found on GOV.UK's Apprenticeship funding page.

Becoming an apprentice

If you are 16 or over, and not in full time education, you could become an apprentice. You will work alongside experienced staff, gain valuable skills and experience in a specific career, earn a wage, be paid holiday and study towards gaining a recognized qualification.

Last updated:
7 September 2023
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