Government Advanced Learner Loans, also known as 19+ loans are where the Government loan the course fees to a student – and the student then pays them back, with interest, once they are earning a wage above the repayment threshold.
A lot of course providers advertise 19+ loan courses as “Government funded courses” but the reality is 19+ loan is exactly that – a loan. It means that at some point, the idea is that you will have to repay it. This fact is often smartly covered by marketing efforts which make 19+ loan courses seem to be free – but they’re not.
What are 19+ Government loans for Personal Trainer courses?
The Government has introduced 19+ Advanced Learning Loans to help learners aged 19 and above to pay the fees charged by training providers for Level 3 and 4 training courses.
It is a loan which you start to repay when earning above the repayment threshold, which is currently £27,295. The moment your earnings are higher than this and you start to repay it at the rate of 9% on anything you earn above the threshold. The general gist is the more you earn, the more you pay back, until it’s paid off. It is important to remember that 19+ loans do incur interest – they are not interest free!
Delivery of a 19+ loan funded Personal Trainer course
Aa 19+ loan funded course needs a provider to deliver this course in a very structured, rigid way. This involves regular attendance, e.g. set weekly hours in the classroom, weekly homework and the embedding of English, Maths, Employability skills etc. It is for this reason that Colleges regularly deliver 19+ loan funded courses as their courses suit this style (e.g. they are very attendance based for a set amount of weekly hours for a set duration).
On the other hand, if you want a flexible, home study, online course, where you work at your own pace and complete in your own time, then this is not the type of courses that a 19+ loan is compatible with. If this is the kind of course you are after (and for many this is exactly what they want) then you are likely to need to self fund your course. The good news is however, a self-funded online course, is often significantly cheaper than a 19+ loan funded, attendance-based course.
Pros & cons of a 19+ loan funded Personal Trainer course
The biggest advantage of the Government-funded loan is the fact that you don’t need any money to start your fitness career (unless the provider asks for a deposit). If you meet eligibility criteria and get accepted onto a course with an approved provider who is offering the 19+ loan, then you can make plans to start your course. This may open opportunities to people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford fitness qualifications.
Another positive aspect of the scheme is the fact that loan is tied up with your income. You repay it when you earn over the repayment threshold.
As already mentioned – 19+ loan is still a loan. The idea is that it is to be repaid at some point. It will be always there until you pay it off.
Another disadvantage of Advanced Learner Loans is the price you pay for the course. Not only is the government loan interest-bearing but the actual price of the personal trainer course charged by a provider is often fixed at a standard amount rather than any kind of special offer / discounted price that may apply to self-funded courses, especially those delivered online which are usually a lot cheaper.
Summary of 19+ loan funded Personal Trainer course options
A lot of people see these loans as free and sign up for the courses to see if Personal Trainer career is something for them. Some don’t give it a second thought! But remember this is a loan, not a grant and you may still have to pay this back even if you don’t complete your course. It is therefore important to make an informed decision looking at all factors before you decide if an Advanced Learner loan is for you. Another huge factor is that if you want a attendance based course like a College course, then a 19+ loan can be a good fit. If however you want a flexible, online course that you study at your own pace and in your own time then you may wish to consider a self funded option.
Next steps for 19+ loans or self funded Personal Trainer courses
If you think you may qualify (and you wish to pursue) a 19+ loan you could then contact your local attendance-based provider e.g. your local college for advice.
As an alternative, you may think that a self-funded, flexible, online Personal Trainer course would be a better fit for you. If this is the case you may wish to browse providers on this site. You can also complete the below form to request more information on such courses. By providing your details on this form we will also forward your details to one of our training provider partners, Study Active, who will get in touch with FREE guidance on how to get started as a Personal Trainer.