If you want a career change, there’s a good chance you’ll have to retrain, or you may wish to set up your own business. But whether you want to learn new skills or Become Your Own Boss, you'll need funding to help you.
The thought of this can be daunting at first, but there’s a lot of help available. You have to look in the right place for it and stay committed to your goal.
Becoming a Mature Student
For some people, changing career means Going To College Or University and becoming a mature student. Funding is available but the application process can be a little complex. The money you receive depends on your proposed course, your partner’s income and your circumstances. You’ll find that colleges and universities throughout the UK have specialist advisory staff. If you can, make an appointment to see them and explain what you want to do and what your exact situation is. Don’t hold anything back.
In simple terms, you may be able to get a grant and a loan. You don’t have to pay back the grant, but you will have to pay back the loan. You do this in instalments once you finish the course and start a job with a salary above a certain level.
The grant may consist of extras such as a childcare element, disabled allowance and parents’ learning allowance. The college or university adviser will explain what you can expect and how to apply.
Career Development Loans
Another type of government-sponsored help is a Professional and Career Development Loan. You can use the loan to assist with the payment of a course that lasts up to two years – or up to three years if a course has one year of work experience. To apply for the loan, you need to go to a bank that participates in the scheme. The amount you can borrow is between £300 and £10,000.
While you’re learning, you don’t pay interest on the loan. A month after you stop studying, you start paying the interest. The rate of interest is about the same as normal unsecured personal loans.
Setting Up a Business
If your career change involves setting up a business, you may be able to get a government or council grant. A lot depends on the type of business. Check for any government-run business enterprise schemes in your area. Also run a search on the Internet for current government grants.
Even then, you may not be clear about the grants you can apply for. A further option is to ring the Business Link Helpline at 0845 600 9006. You can make a free appointment with an adviser and explain your business idea.
Another possibility is to seek funding from a business angel. An angel is an investor who may be prepared to give you money to help you establish a business and change your career. A good starting point for advice is the British Business Angels Association. The phone number is 020 7321 5669.
If you work in a fairly large organisation, don’t discount the possibility of changing your career within it. Speak to your supervisor or human resources section and ask about sponsored training courses. You may find that your employer is willing to consider and fund an internal career transfer if there’s a suitable vacancy.
It’s always wise to discuss a career change with your family. You may well discover they have positive suggestions to make. And sometimes, circumstances permitting, a partner or parent may be able to give you the money you need to help you accomplish your objective.
But whatever approach you take, be determined. Changing a career isn’t always easy because of the funding implications, but many people accomplish it. You can be one of them.
More Funding Advice
You can find out more advice and information about how to fund a career change from our articles in the Funding Category of this site.
looking to change career to a role within cyber security, i have been offered a fully accredited online academy program, would there be any anvailable grants i could utilise to do this.
gav. - 13-Aug-21 @ 12:06 PM
Currently work in a physically demanding job, recently been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and now struggling with the physicality of it (8 years. Now it's worse), need a career change due to this etc struggling to find information on funding available for re-training etc
Marko - 3-Nov-20 @ 7:51 PM
Can you help? I am currently working for about 11500 as a self employed taxi driver. But with work being scarce and 70% of the business gone due to covid restrictions, I am wondering if there is any grant/help/funding that would help me pay for courses in renewable energy to help fund this? Please can you advise??
Darcy boo - 14-Oct-20 @ 6:10 AM
I am a single mother and work 16 hours. I would like to train as a dog groomer, a City and guilds level 3 diploma costs around £3 - 4000 to complete. Can I get any funding ot help to retrain?
AJ - 12-Jun-20 @ 3:19 PM
I am looking to move away from IT (engineering programming) and looking to move into Procurement / FMCG but unsure what I need?
Ron - 22-May-20 @ 11:38 PM
I am looking to change my career, I'm currently a support worker but would like to become a teaching assistant. I paid for and completed a Level 3 Award in Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools. Now when I attend interviews I am always told I need more experience in a school and get offered volunteer positions. Unfortunately being 27 and having bills to pay I am unable to give up a paying job or cut my hours to volunteer. Is there funding that can help me be able to afford to volunteer?
Cloe - 27-Mar-19 @ 8:35 PM
Im a single mum who works full time but have got to an age where I would love to have the opportunity to retrain within the holistic area, would I be able to have help towards my training courses.They would be fully-accredited.
Diane - 28-Apr-17 @ 12:01 PM
I've managed to complete Part One and Part Two of my driving instructor training course through grants and funds. But now, my grant is exhausted, and I need about £1300 to do the Part Three element of the training in order to fully qualify. I was wondering if you could provide some advice in terms of getting some funding. Thanks
JoeDaniels - 26-Nov-16 @ 5:28 PM
I have currently signed up for the final section of RHS Level 2 in horticulture in order to gain a diploma. I'm 37 and it seems that I am too old for many grants and even loans. I have seriously considered self employment but have no funding and I've been applying for jobs in horticulture to little avail. I have even considered moving counties or long commutes for a job in this profession (If I did it would be the end of my relationship). I have found it very frustrating that despite the apparent call for people to work in this industry there seems to be a hell of a lot of difficulty to get into it. I have been volunteering and as much as I love it, it doesn't pay bills and most agencies are keen to shovel me into call centres which is terrible for depression. I'd clean toilets and scrub floors if I have to (I've done it before so I know what I am talking about) but zilch nada, nothing. I have even been offered the use of land to use to start a nursery but with no capital I couldn't get it running as quickly as it needs to be despite the beg, borrow (but not steal) and barter I still need fuel in the tank as it would be a 60 mile round trip each time which doesn't bother me but means my time spent each time would be less frequent which is no good if stock perishes. The concept is there, The site is there but the funding isn't. I really need help so I can earn as it has been a constant battle for basically everything. I'm not prepared to give up either to be shut indoors and sell my soul again to call centre work slogging over non stop calls that in my case be utterly heart-breaking.
Tigertiger - 6-Jul-16 @ 8:29 PM
@softy. Sorry we don't really understand what you're trying to explain. Why is it you will not be accepted on a college course?
ACareerChange - 10-Feb-15 @ 11:35 AM
I am of a mature age and I am wanting to become a gas safe qualified engineer but and its a big but I have zero savings i have tried to find a low payback loan but in truth it seems to only be available for the school leavers as they can get loans which they start to pay back once they are earning a certain amount of wages all i have is the loan shark type and they will want paying quite quick anyway I am wanting to go to college but it seems there is obstacles as i saw an advert stating train to be a gas engineer no experience needed once I contacted them they said i need to be working with a gas engineer which i felt was a little unfare to change the goal post may be its becausei am a mature student it seems unfair as the college route is the best i have found other routes on these so called training centersnone college they apparently say they offer full training at prices from £6000 but dont always get you to becoming a fully qualified gas engineer but i would be excepted on that type of course which then makes me think that i should contact somebody who over sees colleges as i feel i am not being excepted to be allowed to go to college ? and another thing is the course price was around £3000 so better training and a better price but i am not allowed to go to college it seems unfair as if somebody was on benefits and getting a flat paid for them it would not take long for £3000 to be spent on an unemployed person surely its better to help people ? can you offer me any advice
softy - 5-Feb-15 @ 11:21 PM
@jenny. Why not look at the various vocational courses at your local college. Health and social care or childcare are common choices for those who want to be carers. You will often find that a placement is included so you'll get some experience of working in that particular field.
ACareerChange - 21-Jan-15 @ 10:45 AM
I would like to become a carer .butthe problem I have am not sure what type .or where to start, don't have any qualifications .pleasecan you send me any information
jenny - 18-Jan-15 @ 10:23 AM
@Jan. Not sure what your question really is, but you sound like you do want to stay in nursing. Now you've made that decision, why not give the course another go?
ACareerChange - 3-Nov-14 @ 11:27 AM
I have completed my first year of nursing twice,but life has always got in the way of completion.I would like to complete or start a course /degree as i have done aaaaalot of care work and on the nurse bank as a healthcare assistant level 3.
Jan - 1-Nov-14 @ 1:34 PM
@Ouch. New business grants are available from a variety of sources and depending on where Woody lives there may also be region-specific grants to be claimed. The best place to start is your local council - most areas have organisations similar Business Link (no longer in existence) where lots of help is available for people starting out on their own. As for the teaching, Shopan can find lots of information about the various ways to train here.
ACareerChange - 9-Jul-14 @ 12:25 PM
Hello, I am interested in the answer to both the questions above. Kind Regards to you.
ouch - 8-Jul-14 @ 7:18 PM
I have been in the building trade for 24 years working as a plasterer,i'm now looking to change my career to line fishing as my shoulder is starting to feel that if I carry on plastering I wont be able to earn a regular wage due to having time off to let shoulder recover,i've been fishing for many years as my first job when left school was commercial fishing on a craber.i mainly line fish now which I have found quite profitable fishing for bass I have a good market my fish are sushi quality and so get a good price.but however i'm finding that their are a lot of costs that are stopping me from making the change ie courses in sea survival , radio course , first aid, and registering boat which intails buying safety gear,and also I will need a licence which I probably could get a bank loan for,i would like to no if their is any help out their that could help my situation.
woody - 17-Dec-13 @ 10:19 AM
I am unemployed and my health is not that good, however I believe that it is time for me to take a step into the unknown and change what i want to do for a career. Fear has always got the best of me, but I do not want it to rule my life. I was looking at the teaching section where the Goverment has set upscheme to earn money as you learn to become a teacher. Is it possible to send me information on exactly how that works and what qualifications i need? I would realy appreciate the help and kindness.