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Ways to pay to increase the weight of your brain


The Campaign for Learning reports that we make our brains as we use them. The more we use our brains, the more useable they become, and a well-used brain even gets heavier.

If, however, you want to increase the size of your brain by developing skills for a different job, you may find yourself scratching your head wondering how you can afford to pay for the training which will help you to move on. Chances are that your employer is unlikely to fund training which isn't directly related to the job you are currently doing, unless they are sufficiently enlightened to see a role for your newly-developed skills within the workplace. Some may however fund business-related retraining such as MBAs, provided an agreement is signed to stay with the organisation for a set period after the training is completed.

The DfEE's website admits that the search for financial assistance can be complicated. It does however list several sources of possible help which are available, aside from the much-vaunted (and yet-to-be fully implemented) Individual Learning Accounts.

Career Development Loans can be used for any course, whether full-time, part-time, open or distance learning, as long as it is vocational and lasts no longer than two years (but can be used to support two years of a longer course).

Financial assistance is available for anyone wishing to retrain as a secondary maths or science teacher on PGCE courses: a £5000 incentive is payable, half paid on entry to the course, and half on appointment as a teacher. has some useful advice on funding postgraduate courses.

Some courses are eligible for tax relief - individuals paying for training capable of counting towards NVQs, SVQs, GNVQs or GSVQs can claim basic tax relief on the cost of the course. In addition, those aged 30 or over can also claim tex relief for any full-time course lasting between four weeks and a year which does not lead to N/SVQs, so long as it provides skills or knowledge relevant to, and intended to be used in, employment or self-employment.

The advice is that there are sources of funding available, if you are prepared to go into debt for a while. The Financial Times suggests that remortgaging your home, cutting back on expenditure and choosing a course that covers two tax years can all be good options if undertaking a course of study is likely to have major financial implications.

Hopefully these solutions won't leave you with a heavy heart as well as a heavy brain!


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