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  • Matthew Paminter

Apprenticeship or Advanced Learner Loan?

Here at Quest we offer both Apprenticeships and Advanced Learner Loans as routes into employment. Both have their won benefits and drawbacks, so sometimes it can be hard to choose which one is most suitable for you/ To help you decide we will go through what each are, the advantages and disadvantages of each one and how they will help you progress in your career.


What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a paid job where the employee learns and gains valuable experiences. Alongside on-the-job training, apprentices spend 205 of their working hours, completing classroom based learning with a college, university or training provider which leads to a nationally recognised qualification.

An apprenticeship includes:

  • paid employment with holiday leave

  • Hands on experience in a sector of interest

  • at least 205 off-the-job training

  • Formal assessment which leads to a nationally recognised qualification

Different apprenticeship levels equate to different qualification levels, an apprenticeship can start at any level bust some may require previous qualifications or additional training in Maths or English to ensure apprentice is at the right level

One of the following qualification levels will be achieved depending on the apprenticeship level:


Equivalent education level








4,5,6 and 7

Foundation degree and above


6 and 7

Bachelor's or Master's Degree


What is an Advanced Learner Loan?

An advanced Learner Loan is designed to help with the cost of further education courses. Advanced Learner Loans are available for individuals aged 19 or above to undertake approved qualifications at levels 3 to level 6. An advanced learner loan will give you financial support for tuition costs, similar to that available in higher education. The loan is administered by Student Finance England.

There is a certain criteria you must meet to be eligible for an Advanced Learner Loan:

  • Be aged 19 and over on the first day of your course

  • Have ;lived in the UK for 3 years before the course

  • Currently living in the UK

  • Want to undertake a Level 3,4 or 5 course

  • Have a placement or employer in the sector

Student Finance have published a great video explaining everything to do with Advanced Learner Loans, give it a watch here:


Why should you undertake an apprenticeship?

There are countless benefits to successfully completing an apprenticeship, from gaining great hands on experience to earning a salary, here are the best reasons why you should complete an apprenticeship

  • Get paid to learn

While completing an apprenticeship you will earn a basic salary, whilst you gain invaluable experience and expert knowledge that will set you up for future career success.

  • Get a feel for the working environment

An apprenticeship is a great way to bridge the gap between finishing higher education and starting your career. An apprenticeship will help you get a feel for working in a professional environment.

  • Gain industry recognised qualifications

While completing your apprenticeship you will gain industry recognised qualifications, which can help validate the skills and knowledge you have learned over the course of your apprenticeship.

  • You do not have to pay a penny

Unlike university you will not be left with a large student debt to pay off over time but instead you will have a strong professional skill set as well as more money in the bank.


Why take out an Advanced Learner Loan?

You many think that continuing to study can be expensive, but with a Advanced Learner Loan it eases the burden and gives financial support to the learner. Here are some of the benefits of applying for a Advanced Learner Loan:

  • Allows opportunity to study in further education

Although you do have to pay fees, you are effectively borrowing money and paying it back when you start earning more than £25,000 a year.

  • Easy to apply for the loan

The loan is not dependant on your income and it will not affect any benefits you may receive. The loan will not affect your credit rating, and the repayments are linked to how much you earn, not how much you borrow

  • You do not need to complete functional skills

Unlike an apprenticeship where you will need to pass functional skills in both maths and English, you do not have to complete functional skills when taking out an Advanced Learner Loan. This is one of the main benefits of an Advanced Learner Loan, as we know a lot of people do not like completing their functional skills!

Quest Training offers both apprenticeships and Advanced Learner Loans so if any of these take your fancy, then please get in touch with us!

Take a look at our website for more information about all the types of apprenticeships we offer and how you can apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

For more about our apprenticeships click here:

For more about our Advanced Learner Loans click here:


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