Career development loans are one of the ways that you might choose to finance further training or learning to help your career progress. They are a form of borrowing, and the money needs to be repaid after your training or study is complete. They are offered at competitive rates by a number of providers, and are available in circumstances where other funding might be hard to come by.
What can these loans cover?
The loans are designed to cover study or training relevant to your chosen career which lasts for one or two years (with a third year allowed for work placement if necessary).
The loan may be used to cover fees and equipment costs, or to contribute towards necessary maintenance expenses. Career development loans are not intended to replace other sources of funding, so they are not available in circumstances where other funding sources may be used, such as first degrees or European-funded training.
The percentage of fees that can be covered by a career development loan and the appropriate maintenance allowances are governed by formulae based on whether you are currently unemployed, or whether your work is full- or part-time. Amounts available vary between £300 and £10,000, depending on your circumstances, needs, and your chosen provider’s guidelines.
You can delay repayments on a career development loan until one month after your training is complete. The Skills Funding Agency pays the interest on this type of loan during the period of study or training. When you take out a career development loan, the interest rate is fixed at that point, so you’ll always know how much you will have to repay once you start making repayments. Interest rates for career development loans are designed to be competitive in terms of non-secured loans, but of course they do vary between providers.
Many people find that talking to their own banks is a useful initial step. It is, however, wise to seek information from a range of providers, as interest rates and repayment terms do vary widely, and it is important to find the scheme that suits your needs best. Applicants must be over 18 and intending to work in the UK at the end of their training. Beyond this, each bank applies its own specific lending criteria, and the amount that can be borrowed is also subject to the bank’s own guidelines.
Application packs for career development loans are available from the National Careers Service and need to be returned directly to your chosen bank. The service can also provide further information about the process of applying for a loan, but it is always best to agree the loan in principal with your chosen provider before completing the form.