What are 24+ Advanced Learning Loans?
From the 1 August, 24+ Advanced Learning Loans will be available for anyone aged 24 and over who wants to study a qualification at Level 3* or Level 4* with approved training organisations and colleges in England.
The loans will be available to fund a wide range of higher level Certificates and Diplomas, including NVQs, and can also be used to pay for up to 50% of an Advanced or Higher Apprenticeship.
How can 24+ Advanced Learning Loans benefit businesses?
24+ Advanced Learning Loans can help bolster companies’ training budgets by encouraging staff to invest in their own futures, meaning businesses benefit from an up-skilled, more productive workforce without spending any money.
The benefits of staff training are well-documented, with research from the London School of Economics highlighting that for every one percentage point increase in the proportion of a workforce receiving training, productivity per hour increased by 0.6%. However, at the moment, not all companies have the budgets to provide staff with extensive training, meaning they may miss out on the benefits up-skilled workers can bring.
With the introduction of 24+ Advanced Learning Loans companies can offer help and the promise of career progression in place of financial backing. If employers are willing to offer support while their staff study and provide opportunities for their new skills to be fully utilised in the workplace, there is a good chance that employees’ motivation, engagement and loyalty will all be boosted. Businesses can then reap the benefits of retaining a workforce with advanced vocational skills.
If employers want to make a contribution to their employees’ training and development costs but don’t have the budget to foot the full bill, there is also the option for employers to help pay off part of the loan by making voluntary payments to the Student Finance England at any point during the repayment term.
This can be used to enhance employee retention, as employers can offer to make financial contributions if workers stay with the company for a set period, for example, offering to repay 50% of the loan if employees remain for two years after completing their qualification.
The loans will also make it more realistic for firms to offer Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships to older workers. Under the previous grants system, employers were faced with covering the full cost of these qualifications for most staff over the age of 24, but now, the loans enable employers to make a contribution to their training costs with the option to pay 50% of the fees.
There is also now the opportunity to provide further support and training to staff who already have a degree, who were previously ineligible for any government funding towards Apprenticeships.
With employers standing to gain so much from having a highly-trained workforce, it is vital that they play a part in maximising take-up of 24+ Advance Learning Loans.
Companies will be pivotal over the next few months in educating their workers about 24+ loans, how they work and the benefits they can bring, to both employees and employers.
With figures showing that people with a Level 3 qualification are less likely to be unemployed and are also likely to earn significantly more than those with lower skills, there are plenty of incentives for employees to embark on further training.
How we can help you and your employees
For more information about 24+ Advanced Learning Loans please visit our website or call us on 0845 034 0849
We also have lots of supporting information on our website which will help your employees find out how about the our range of Level 3 and Level 4 qualifications which are eligible for loans and a user friendly guide to the application process
*A Level 3 qualification is similar in level to an AS/A level
* A level 4 qualification is similar in level to BTEC Professional Diplomas, Certificates and Awards, NVQs at Level 4, Key Skills Level 4 and Certificates of higher education.