Strategic Development Fund: apply now

Apply for strategic development funding for the financial year 2022 to 2023.

Applies to England


The Skills for Jobs white paper set out the government’s blueprint for reshaping the technical skills system to better support the needs of the local labour market and the wider economy.

As part of this new approach the Strategic Development Fund (SDF) is now being opened to collaborations of further education (FE) providers across all areas of England. The SDF provides capital and programme funding to support changes in local teaching and training facilities and provision, enabling FE providers to meet the needs of employers, support local innovation and economic growth, and develop a more efficient overall delivery infrastructure.

What the Strategic Development Fund is

This one-year SDF will provide investment to enable areas across England to reshape their teaching and training provision and update their facilities in preparation for the roll out of the Local Skills Improvement Plans.

The purpose of the fund is to:

  • support providers across an area to upgrade their facilities, equipment and curriculum to better meet the needs of their local economy
  • enable colleges and other FE providers to build their overall capacity to meet local skills priorities, and to drive more effective and efficient use of funds through a more coordinated FE offer
  • support ongoing FE provider quality improvement through FE workforce training, developing sector-led approaches to peer-to-peer support, sharing good practice including two-way industry exchanges with FE providers
  • stimulate employer demand for and investment in skills leading to more sustainable provision, including by raising awareness about new technologies and driving the adoption of innovation in local businesses, especially in small medium enterprises

Who can apply

Applications may be made by groups of colleges and providers. It must be submitted by a lead applicant.

The lead applicant must be from one of the following:

  • general FE college
  • an institution which has been designated as being in the FE sector
  • FE colleges in their capacity as licensee of an Institute of Technology (IoT)

Apply for strategic development funding

  1. Read the application guidance (PDF, 380 KB, 31 pages)

  2. Register to use our e-tendering portal Jaggaer to submit any questions.

  3. Complete your expression of interest using the Strategic Development Fund application form (MS Word Document, 129 KB).

  4. Email your expression of interest to by midday on 13 May 2022.

All lead applicants will receive an email informing them of the outcome of their application.


The fund consists of £92m (£50m capital and £42m programme).

Each area may apply for up to £1.25m of programme and £1.5m capital funding.

Further details of what the fund can support are in the application guidance (PDF, 380 KB, 31 pages).

Local Skills Improvement Plans

Local Skills Improvement Plans (LSIPs) help:

  • bring employers, colleges and other providers, and local stakeholders together
  • set out the key changes needed to make technical skills training more responsive to employers’ skills need
  • tailor provision to the challenges and opportunities most relevant to the local area

In 2021 to 2022 LSIPs were piloted in 8 areas. Where a trailblazer Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) exists for an area or part of an area, it should be the basis for establishing skills priorities for applications to the Strategic Development Fund.

Where there is no trailblazer LSIP or parts of the geography are not covered by a trailblazer LSIP, other relevant skills analyses such as those produced by the relevant Mayoral Combined Authority or Local Enterprise Partnership should be used.

Subject to the Royal Assent of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, we will shortly be inviting Employer Representative Bodies (ERBs) to submit expressions of interest to develop further Local Skills Improvement Plans.


Questions relating to an SDF application must be submitted through Jaggaer.

For other queries email

Published 20 April 2021
Last updated 1 April 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated as the application window for the Strategic Development Fund for 2022 to 2023 is now open.

  2. Removed information about the online event where prospective bidders can find out more about the Skills Accelerator as that has now taken place. Added a link to the video for the Skills Accelerator virtual conference.

  3. First published.