If you have made the decision that you are interested in pursuing childcare as a career, you might be interested in any one of the courses that will ensure you have the required qualifications or training for when it comes to getting a job. The cost of studying can be quite high, and, in some cases, it may be enough to prevent some people from getting the qualifications they need. But did you know that there are a number of low cost childcare courses you could be missing out on? Or that there are quite a few grants and government funding schemes that could help to bring the costs down?
What Help is Available for Further Education?
Childcare courses are available across the UK and range from basic training to higher national diplomas. What many individuals do not know though is that there are many government grants available to help with the cost of studying. Grants can be used to pay for accommodation, study materials or anything else required while in further education. Whether you are eligible or not will depend on your household income, where you live, and your background, but it is definitely worth checking out. Below are examples of some of the grants that are available:
16-19 Bursary Fund
The 16-to-19 bursary fund is available to help with the cost of studying at a publicly-funded college or school in England. It does not apply for universities. It can also be claimed by those who are on a training course or those on unpaid work experience.
The scheme may also extend to individuals over the age of 19 if they are continuing a course that was started between the ages of 16 and 18. The bursary can be used to pay for books, equipment and clothing, or transport and lunch on the days that you are studying.
Discretionary Learner Support
If you are struggling financially and are over the age of 19, you may be eligible for Discretionary Learner Support. The amount that you get will depends on your circumstances, but if you are successful, you can use the grant to pay for course materials, equipment, travel, and accommodation.
Residential Support Scheme
If you are studying a further education course that is far from your home and you need to seek accommodation, you may be entitled to claim a residential bursary. The amount you get will depend on your household income and whether you meet the qualifying criteria or not.
Professional and Career Development Loans
If you are not eligible for a grant or bursary, you may be able to apply for a low-interest loan of between £300 and £10,000. While you are studying, the government will pay the interest on your loan. To qualify, you must be over the age of 18 and be a British citizen. You must also have been living in the UK for at least three years before the start of your course.
Applicable courses can only last for two years, or three if they include a year of work experience. The organisation providing the courses must be listed on the Professional Career and Development Loan Register. The good news is that courses do not have to result in a qualification, provided they are helping with your career.
Support for Scottish Students
Students who live in Scotland can study for free provided they are always studying for a qualification higher than one they already hold. Tuition fees are free and there is a guaranteed maintenance loan as well as the opportunity to apply for a bursary if your household income is less than £34,000 per year.
A day-to-day living bursary is available for students with a household income of less than £34,000 and for those with a household income of less than £19,000, a full bursary of £1,875 will be paid. Students also have the option to apply for a loan of at least £4,750 if they have a household income of £34,000 and above. Those with a household income less than this can receive a loan of £5,750.
How to Find Low Cost Childcare Courses
The good news is that in addition to the grants and bursaries that might be available to help with the cost of studying, there are also a number of low cost or even free childcare courses available throughout the UK. Availability of these courses obviously depends on where you live, but you may find childcare courses in your area that are either free or very low cost.
There are also many courses available online in a variety of subjects. The Open University’s FutureLearn offers hundreds of free courses regularly, and courses can last from one week to many months. Courses typically consist of a number of weekly modules that you can study in your own time. Each module is likely to be followed by a short quiz. If you complete the course, you will have the opportunity to purchase a certificate.
Will Joining an Agency Help?
You may also want to consider joining a childcare agency in order to access low cost or free childcare courses. There are quite a few agencies offering free access to fantastic training courses that would normally be worth hundreds or even thousands of pounds.
Courses can be completed in your own time and the number of hours required will vary depending on the course in question. You will also be able to get a completion certificate at the end of the course, which you can print out yourself.
What are the Benefits of Completing Childcare Courses?
If you are keen to have a career in childcare, then professional development is important, regardless of what type of childcare you intend to provide. It is important that you have the skills and knowledge required to provide the best care possible. With so many different childcare courses available and the opportunity to avail of funding, there is no reason why you shouldn’t avail of as many training courses as you can.
Courses can last for as little as one day or as long as a year or more, but you should know that the more training and qualifications you have, the greater your chances of securing the roles you want and the more money you are likely to earn.