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    « 10 Key Considerations When Starting Your Second Career | Main | Getting Your Employer to Fund and Sponsor Your Studies »

    Finding Alternative Funding Options to Pay For Your Career

    If you are considering a career change there are many avenues and options which you need to consider. How you will fund it is one. Thanks to TotalProfessions, they have shared with us initially their thoughts around how to get funding via loans or by getting your company to fund you through your studies. Here are some alternative places to look for funding:

    Research Councils

    Research Councils are government-funded agencies that support research in a wide range of disciplines, including medical and biological sciences, chemistry and engineering, social science, economics and the arts and humanities. In total, the seven research councils invest around £3 billion in research each year.  The Research Councils offer a range of awards, including Advanced Course Studentships and Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering (CASE), and the minimum stipend available is around £13,500 (tax free). To find out more about Research Council funding, including eligibility criteria, click here and follow the link to the relevant Research Council.

    Public funding bodies

    There are also a range of alternative sources of funding offered by the public sector. These sources include:

    Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS)

    SAAS runs the Postgraduate Students’ Allowances Scheme (PSAS) which offers funding for professional and vocational training. While the awards are only available for Scottish students, successful applicants may study anywhere in the UK.

    Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland (DELNI)

    DELNI provides funding for students who wish to undertake postgraduate study in the Humanities, Science and Technology and Social Sciences as well as full-time vocational courses in Northern Ireland.

    European Social Fund (ESF)

    The ESF supports a number of vocational courses in the UK, allocating funding to departments who then pass on a small training allowance to their students.

    Funding for disabled people

    If you have a disability, an ongoing health condition, a mental health condition or a specific learning difficulty and would like to study a higher education course you may be eligible for a Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

    If the funding options above don’t apply to you, you can search for available postgraduate funding by subject area via the Prospects website.  For example, if you select ‘Chemical Engineering’, a range of results are generated, such as the Grundy Educational Trust.

    If postgraduate qualifications aren’t for you, you may want to consider an Apprenticeship. You don’t have to pay anything to become an Apprentice – instead, your employer pays you a salary and supports you while you undertake your training.

    To find out more about entry routes into different professions visit TP’s Profession Finder Sector Summaries.

    Alice Langley is a Research Assistant at PARN (Professional Associations Research Network). PARN is a not-for-profit, membership organisation for professional bodies. PARN’s main areas of expertise are research and consultancy services, provided not only for our members, but for other professional bodies and organisations interested in the field of professionalism. To contact Alice email

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