Small employer indicator (SEM1)

R14 Further education and training providers


Last updated

From: Education and Skills Funding Agency

What is the small employer indicator (SEM1)

Training Providers must ensure apprentices employed by a small employer are recorded with the small employer indicator (SEM).

What is classed as a small employer?

Employers with fewer than 50 people working for them can train, at no cost, apprentices aged 16-18 or aged 19-24 who have previously been in care or who have an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP).

When does SEM need to be recorded?

Training Providers must ensure apprentices employed by a small employer are recorded with the small employer indicator (SEM1) for the duration of learning that takes place with that small employer.

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

Recording in the Current Academic Year

For any learners starting learning with a small employer in the current year a training provider can record the SEM on the correct date in year.

A training provider can also record this code retrospectively within the year that training started with the small employer. The system will correct itself and the provider will receive the correct completion payment.

What if it is not recorded?

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

For learners who started learning with a small employer in a previous year and the SEM was NOT recorded, co-investment will be generated, and this will prevent a completion element being paid.

Retrospective recording of the small employer indicator will not remove the generation for co-investment contributions from an employer in a previous academic year.

In this scenario:

  • A provider must not collect that co-investment from the SEM eligible employer – it is provider error, and the employer must not pay.
  • You can contact the ESFA customer service team for further assistance with this scenario and with the release of the completion payment via the Customer Help Portal.

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You can talk to our community for peer to peer support.

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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