The Skills Funding Agency was one of two successor organisations that emerged from the closure in 2010 of the Learning and Skills Council. The agency was in turn replaced by the Education and Skills Funding Agency in 2017.
The restructuring of the English skills system was announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown shortly after he took office in 2007. The office of the Chief Executive of Skills Funding was established in law by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. The office was originally a corporation sole, and employees were appointed by the Chief Executive as Crown servants, collectively referred to as the Skills Funding Agency. The Chief Executive was appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. Further legislation was passed in 2012, with the Agency becoming an Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The agency funded skills training for further education in England. Its scope included apprenticeships and adult education; it also implemented initiatives funded by the European Social Fund. The agency supported over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations, and employers with more than £4 billion of funding each year.
The SFA's mission was to ensure that people and businesses could access the skills training they needed to succeed in playing their part in society and in growing England’s economy. This was done in the context of policy set by government and informed by the needs of businesses, communities and regions, and sector and industry bodies.