How to use the Small Employer Indicator (SEM1)

Further education and training providers


Last updated

From: Education and Skills Funding Agency

What is the Small Employer Indicator?

The small employer indicator is used for employers with fewer than 50 employees to train apprentices at no cost who:

  • are aged between 16 to 24 and
    • have previously been in care or,
    • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Who should record the Small Employer Indicator?

Training Providers must recorded with the small employer indicator (SEM1) for the duration of learning that takes place with that small employer.

The small employer indicator must also be recorded for each academic year that the learner is in learning with the small employer.

What happens if the Small Employer Indicator is not recorded?

If the SEM1 is not recorded and co-investment contributions are outstanding, we will not pay the completion element of the apprenticeship programme.

When should the Small Employer Indicator be recorded?

Training providers can record the SEM1:  

  • on the correct date for learners starting learning with the small employer in the current year
  • retrospectively within the year that the training started with the small employer and our systems will issue the correct completion payment

What happens if SEM1 was not recorded?

When SEM1 was not recorded in the previous year, a co-investment payment will be generated and will prevent a completion element being paid.

If this happens, you must:

  • not collect that co-investment from the SEM eligible employer
  • contact the ESFA customer service team and they will support with the release of the completion payment

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If you have a specific query about that is not covered by this information or the guidance, please contact us using the Customer Help Portal.

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