Professional and Career Development Loans

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Loans: what are they?

A Professional and Career Development Loan could help you pay for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects. It’s a bank loan, so you’ll have to pay it back once you’ve left your course. However, you don’t pay interest for the period when you’re in learning.

How Professional and Career Development Loans work

A Professional and Career Development Loan is a bank loan. You make an agreement with a participating bank to borrow an amount between £300 and £10,000. Then once you’ve stopped studying, you pay it back in the normal way.

The difference with a Professional and Career Development Loan is that the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) pays the interest on the loan while you’re studying – and for one month afterwards. After this, you’ll pay interest at the rate fixed when you took out the loan. Interest rates on the loans are set so they’re competitive with other ‘unsecured’ personal loans that are commercially available.

Currently, banks offer Professional and Career Development Loans at a reduced customer rate of 9.9% per annum, equivalent to a typical APR of 5-6% over the lifetime of the loan. However, interest rates may vary from bank to bank. For further information, consult the participating banks.

Courses covered by Professional and Career Development Loans

A Professional and Career Development Loan can help to fund a wide range of courses lasting up to two years (or three years, if the course includes a year of work experience). The course doesn’t necessarily have to lead to a qualification, but it must be one that will help with your career. You’ll find detailed information in the application pack, but in general a Professional and Career Development Loan could be an option for:

  • a postgraduate course, like a masters
  • technical or management training
  • a professional qualification
  • a course at your local college or learning provider
  • an additional bachelors degree (if you’re already a graduate)

Costs you can use a Professional and Career Development Loan to help with

You can use a Professional and Career Development Loan to help with:

  • course fees (up to 80 per cent of the total - or up to 100 per cent if you’ve been unemployed for three months)
  • other course costs, like books, travel and childcare
  • living expenses, like rent, food and clothing (if you are unemployed or working less than 30 hours per week)

What you can’t use a Professional and Career Development Loan for

Professional and Career Development Loans are intended to help with costs that aren’t covered by other sources of public funding.

For example, you couldn’t get one if you’re planning to study full-time for a first degree (because there’s a separate package of student loans available).

However, if your costs are only partly covered you may be able to ‘top up’ the funding with a Professional and Career Development Loan. For example, if you’re getting a grant for your course fees, you could apply for a loan to help with your living costs.

So check the details in the application pack, and get advice if you’re not sure whether your course qualifies.

Need to talk to someone?

For advice on your application, call Next Step on 0800 100 900.

Could you get a Professional and Career Development Loan?

To be eligible, you’ll need to be:

  • 18 or over
  • "settled" in the UK, and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least the three years prior to the start of your learning programme
  • intending to work in the UK, the EU or the EEA when the course finishes

"settled" means having either indefinite leave to enter or remain or having the right of abode in the UK.

Remember: even if you meet these conditions, the decision on whether you’ve been successful in your application remains with the bank. The bank’s decision will depend on you meeting their specific lending criteria.

Contact Us

Our Financial Advisors are located at:

  • Filton Campus
    Learner Services Office CG11
    T: 0117 909 2297
  • Stroud Campus
    Learner Services Office Ground Floor
    T: 01453 761185/761119
  • WISE Campus:
    Learner Services Office G32
  • Queens Road:
    Main Reception 0117 973 6259

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