A lot of people are often curious as to how Enable operates when it comes to delivering courses. We offer courses which are free to sign up and others which must be paid for by learners… so how does this work? What is the difference between the courses?

In this month’s blog post we taker a look into how Enable works and how this affects you and our courses.

Funding rules

You might see the word “funding” banded around on our website, on our social media and when you speak to us about training. But what does it mean when it comes to your enrolment?


Simply speaking, we offer “funded” and “non-funded” courses. In a nutshell, “funded courses” are free (with certain restrictions, mostly location based) and “non-funded courses” are paid for by the participants.

ESF Logo

With funded courses, we do still get paid for them (in case you were worried!), it’s just that we get paid by the agency to deliver them. This can be the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) or the European Social Fund (ESF) or another organisation. You’ll be able to spot who is paying us to deliver these courses as their logo will appear on the marketing we create, the paperwork for the course as well as on the course page on our website.

Various funding agencies support us in the delivery of the courses, sometimes there can be more than one agency which is responsible for funding the course. This can often mean that if you have questions regarding the course, we can sometimes take a little longer to respond as we have to get the information from various funding agencies. This includes them signing off any marketing materials we wish to produce for the course.

As our funded courses are governed by the person paying to deliver them, they can often have restrictions for learners to be classed as “eligible”. Usually this is a location based restriction, however this is sometimes based on employment status too.

For example, our Community Learning Courses are limited to those living in the Nottingham City Council. This is because the course is funded by the ESFA and we are subcontracted by Nottingham City Council. Their house, their rules. As much as we would love to deliver all of our courses to everyone across the UK, sometimes we have to turn people down as we will not get funding for them to do the course.

What is subcontracting courses?


As you will know if you have read our first blog post, you will know that Enable is a group of training providers and charities all with a similar goal. Enable applies for the funding from the agencies and we can either deliver the courses directly, or we are able to subcontract to others.

Subcontracting means that we may hold the contract for the course, and the arrangement with the funding agency, but we can use the funding to pay others to deliver the course. Occasionally it works the other way whereby we are the subcontractors on behalf of other’s funding contracts.

This is all dependent on the contract and agreement that we have with the funding agency as to whether we are allowed to subcontract or not. Some of our courses do not allow for this, which means that as much as we would love to support other training providers, we must offer direct delivery for the contract to be fulfilled.

Some of the more popular courses which we subcontract out are our Adult Education Budget (AEB) and Traineeships. This means that we pay other training providers to deliver the course on behalf of Enable. Learners on these courses are still classed as “Enable learners” but their tutor may work for another provider. All paperwork is processed by the team at Enable and this means our core team may occasionally have to contact learners if some information is missing from the paperwork.

You may have noticed last summer that we put out a “tender call” to our members and followers to apply to deliver our AEB and traineeships on behalf of Enable.

Tender Calls are where we are advertising to others that we would like to subcontract out some of our funding and training providers can apply to work with us on a contract. There is often an application process with strict deadlines to be followed. Training providers must be a member of Enable in order to deliver on our contracts.

How Enable’s membership scheme operates?


You may have spotted on our social media that we mention our members and our membership programme. We also have a whole section of our website dedicated to our members. We aren’t planning any revolutions with our membership and we aren’t looking to start any political parties with it. We simply have a “next level” for those who are interested in the work that we do.

If you have only recently heard of Enable, we will forgive you for not knowing a lot about us and what we get up to. You might have started by following us on social media, then signing up to our monthly newsletter, but you might wonder what is the next step?

Our membership is free for 12 months (and we currently have no plans to change that), we set it up for a 12 month rolling plan, meaning that you will need to renew after a year or you can choose to leave the membership if it’s no longer for you.

We certainly think that it’s worth it, as it grants you next level intel into the amazing work that we do. Our members get our exclusive membership update where they can hear about the latest courses, weeks before we announce it to the public. They receive support from Enable with tailor made courses and discounts on our training opportunities as well as the ability to network with other members.

On top of this we also give our members the first available booking slots for our Annual Conference and Celebrations and will often invite our members to give a presentation at the event itself.

Members are also able to apply for our “tender calls”, as we said above. Part of the application process of the subcontracting is that our subcontractors must be a member of Enable.

Our members can also nominate and elect the Enable Board of Trustees. This means that our members are a real integral part of Enable; they can help to shape the future of the charity and we will help to support them in all their endeavours too! All this for a couple of steps to sign up, and for free, we certainly think it is worth a couple of clicks.

Recently some of our members suggested a new awarding body for Enable to use for our courses. This has led to us being able to offer a wider range of courses as each awarding body has a different curriculum. We are constantly growing with our members support and we are supporting them for their future.

Awarding bodies – what are they?


Unless you are in the industry, the chances are you haven’t heard the phrase “awarding body” since you were at school doing GCSEs, CSEs, NVQs, A Levels etc. and even then it was probably only mentioned in passing.

So while Enable are a training provider, and your course might be delivered by our subcontracted members, and paid for by a funding agency – we still have to adhere to the curriculum set out by the awarding body.

When you take an accredited course with us, you will be registered with an awarding body. These are the organisations which set out the study topics for you to achieve the qualification. We should mention here that awarding bodies are solely involved with our accredited courses.

So while you were at school you may have heard of AQA as an awarding body, or EdExcel? These are some of the many awarding bodies available in the UK for providing qualifications. It means that you get a certificate authorised by them at the end of the course. They’ve accredited it.

We use several different awarding bodies for our courses, depending on the funding agency (different ones might request a certain awarding body as part of the contract). Or it could be based on who we are subcontracting for, in which case the contract holder tells us the awarding body and the curriculum. It may even be the case whereby we can choose the awarding body, in this case we try to choose the one we feel is most suitable for our learners.

Non-accredited learning is for our courses which do not have an awarding body and we produce the certificate at the end of the course.

What does this all mean?

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to the way that Enable operates, who we are held responsible to and how we run our courses. All the topics discussed here can sometimes feel a little confusing when we are talking to someone on the outside of the education industry.

Many of the opportunities we offer have been created based on feedback we have received and people asking us for certain training.

If you have any questions about how our courses are run, or would like to know more about our membership programme, please contact us.