In England, NVQ – National Vocational Qualification courses provide professional qualifications.
Advanced learner loans are available to help with the course fee.
Applying for an NVQ course
You can apply for an NVQ course individually or through your workplace.
For example, many workplaces offer and financially support enrolment to an NVQ course that is related to your position. Speak to your employer to find out about available courses.
You can search for courses online e.g.:
You can apply for NVQ courses at any age, although there are certain criteria (you need to meet one of the following):
- You have a work placement, most courses provide work placement for students
- You study at a college and work part-time
- You are employed
- You have relevant visa or settled or pre-settled status in the UK, if you are not British
How long it takes
Level 1 to 3 NVQ course can usually be completed within one year. Higher levels will take 2-3 years.
The course fees vary by the nature of the course and the training providers, approximately between £1500 and £2500.
In some cases, you can get a discount or financial support if you have a low income or you are receiving social benefits.
There are free courses available for home or online learning.
In courses where developing and demonstrating practical skills are essential, home learning is not available.
Advanced Learner Loan
Who can get a loan?
- British or anyone with a settled or pre-settled status
- Anyone who has lived in the UK for at least 20 years
- Migrant workers
- the child of a Turkish worker
- A serving member of the UK armed forces over 19 years of age.
- You must have been living in the UK for 3 years before the course started including the first day of the course.
- The course must be a Level 3, 4, 5 or 6 qualification, and run by an approved training provider.
How much you can get
There is no maximum amount specified. The minimum loan amount is £300. You can receive loans for up to 4 different courses, even at the same time.
How to repay the loan
The loan interest rate is the Inflation Rate – RPI – Retail Price Index plus 3%.
Loan repayments with interest will start from April, after completion of the course, provided your annual gross income is over £26575.
The repayment is deducted from your wage by your employer or if you are self employed, you will have to pay it in your annual tax return.
The amount to be deducted is 9% of any amount over £26575 of your annual income.
For example, if you earn £26675, then you will pay 9% of £100 which is £9 for one year. This will be deducted as a repayment loan.
If your earnings are less than £26,000 a year, there will be no deduction.
What if you leave the course
If you leave the course after 2 weeks, the loan, including interest, must be paid back to the training provider.
How to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan
Ask the course provider for a Learning and funding information letter.
You can apply online at Student Finance England
You can apply by post
NVQ levels in England
There are 9 NVQ levels. The levels in the education system are as follows:
If you do not have any experience or skills in the chosen profession, you should start with an entry level course. This level does not give you a qualification but enables you to take higher level courses.
Vocational O level Pass
GCSE grades D – G
Vocational O level Good
GCSE grades A * – C, Scottish intermediate 2 / Credit S Grade.
Intermediate GNVQ, BTEC first certificate.
Higher level vocational certificate
2 A Levels
Level 4 – 5