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Government Funded Personal Training Courses vs Non-Funded

government funded personal training courses

If you’re thinking about becoming a personal trainer, you may have come across government funded personal training courses. They may sound appealing, but is this really the best option? How does government funding for personal training courses actually work?

In this article, we’ll answer all of these questions and more, covering:

Before we get started, take the first steps towards a lucrative career in the fitness industry today with OriGym’s industry-leading personal training courses. Enquire today, or download our course prospectus for free for more information about the courses we offer. 

What Is A Government Funded Personal Training Course?

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Government funded personal training courses are exactly what the name suggests. It is when you get funding from the government to cover some or all of the costs of a personal training course. 

This is quite similar to a student loan, in that you will have to ultimately pay it back, based on specific criteria. 

Whilst it may seem like an appealing option, there are actually many limitations to taking your PT course through government funding- which we will be explaining in this article! 

Personal trainer courses funded by the government are available through 3 main ways:

  • Advanced Learner Loan
  • Low Value Provision Scheme
  • Military Resettlement Grant 

Let’s explore what each of these types of government funding for personal training courses involve! 

Advanced Learner Loan Personal Trainer Courses

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The most common way of getting a government funded personal trainer course is through an Advanced Learner Loan. 

You may also see this called a ‘19+ Loan’.

This can only be used to apply for a Level 3 personal training course or above. So you cannot use this kind of funding if you want to take a Level 2 Gym Instructor course, for example. 

The eligibility criteria for this kind of funding is:

  • You must be over 19 when you start the course
  • The course must be Level 3 or above
  • You must have been a UK resident for at least the past 3 years
  • You must be a UK national 

If you’re still unsure whether or not you’d qualify for this particular method of getting a personal training course funded by the government, the Student Loans Company has a convenient tool that will help you work it out.

However, one major limitation of this method of government funding for your personal training course is that you cannot apply for it if you’ve already used it in the past.

This means that if you’ve already done a postgraduate qualification (such as a PGCE or a Master's degree), you will not be able to reapply for more funding, regardless of what you intend to use it for.

So, how do you apply for an Advanced Learner Loan personal training course? Here are the 3 main steps:

1. Check that your training provider offers Advanced Learner Loan funding. First, you need to check whether or not the training provider you’ve chosen offers government funding for their personal training courses. 

This in itself can take a while, since the majority of legitimate personal training course providers won’t offer government funding as an option. This is one of the major limitations of government funded PT courses, which we will discuss more later!

2. Request a ‘Learning and Funding’ letter from your course provider. This is simply something that you will need to submit to the government in order to get the funding. 

3. Complete the application for funding by post or online. To do this online, you’ll need a Student Finance account, which can take some time to set up. To apply via post, you’ll need to telephone Student Finance and request forms to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan.

As you can see, applying for an Advanced Learner Loan for a personal training course can be a lengthy process. It can then take over 2 weeks to receive confirmation from Student Finance. 

If your request is approved, the cost is then paid directly to your course provider. 

The main thing to note about an Advanced Learner Loan is that it is a loan! This means that you will ultimately have to pay it back, plus interest.

So even if you are accepted for the funding, take your course and qualify as a PT, having this loan to repay will increase your overall monthly outgoings.

We will cover interest in more detail when we discuss the limitations of government funded personal trainer courses later in this article! 

 

Become a personal trainer with OriGym today!

Enquire to find out more about our industry-leading personal training courses

Low Value Provision Scheme

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The Low Value Provision Scheme (or LVP) is perhaps one of the more uncommon types of government funding for personal training courses. 

It was created by the UK government for those who are unemployed or out of work, and require skills to be able to get a job in their chosen industry.

It is used as funding for short vocational training courses, such as personal training. 

In order to be eligible for LVP, you have to meet the following requirements:

  1. You need to show evidence that you are actively seeking employment as a personal trainer (usually through sending your personal trainer CV to gyms in your local area, or visiting fitness centres).
  2. You need to find out and report the exact cost of your personal training course. 
  3. You need to book an appointment with your assigned advisor who will be given to you by the company offering your LVP and provide documentation for what you’ve done.
  4. You’ll then be offered the relevant training if you’re deemed to have done enough to warrant the funding. 

This is all assessed on a case-by-case basis, so the application can take a long time to process, up to several weeks. Then, you may not even be approved at all!

A major downside of this lengthy application process is that it ultimately delays the start of your career. You will have to wait to start your course, meaning that it is longer until you qualify, start working and earn money! 

So if you are wanting to start a career as a PT as quickly and easily as possible, this kind of personal trainer government funding is not your best option! 

Plus, given the extensive eligibility criteria, you will struggle to find a personal trainer course provider who will accept LVP. Again, this will only increase the time it takes for you to become a personal trainer.

Military Resettlement Grant

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The final type of government funding available is a military resettlement grant.

The military resettlement grant is a tax-free lump sum that is paid to any service personnel upon leaving the military. 

Instead of a loan that you have to pay back, this is therefore one of the only government grants for personal training courses, as you do not have to pay it back. 

So, the money you receive is not specifically to fund a personal training course. But of course, the money you receive can then be used to pay for a personal trainer course. 

According to the UK government website, effective from April 2020, the amount is £11,651. This then increases at the same rate as the armed forces pension plan.

To be eligible for a military resettlement grant, you need to have completed at least 12 years of active military service. 

This is therefore a very specific type of government funding that only a small niche of people will be eligible for.

What Is A Non-Funded Personal Training Course?

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As the name suggests, a non-funded personal training course is simply when you pay for the course yourself, rather than getting a loan from the government. 

The course itself is exactly the same, in terms of course content and the type of qualification you receive at the end of it- such as a Level 3 in personal training. 

The cost of non-funded personal training courses can vary. When looking for a course provider, you may come across courses that are advertised as ‘free’, to ones that charge up to £3000! 

There are lots of factors that can affect the cost of a PT course, which we cover in our article about how much a personal training course costs here.

But let’s use OriGym’s Level 3 personal trainer course as an example, which costs £1049. It is not eligible for government funding, so you will pay this amount yourself. 

This is around the average cost of a non-funded PT course in the UK. This may seem like a lot of money to cover yourself. But this is made up for by the fact that:

  • Non-funded PT courses are often cheaper than government-funded courses. This is because government-funded course providers will often use the fact that you can get a loan by increasing the overall cost of the course. 
  • You won’t have to pay interest on a loan. Most personal trainer courses funded by the government will charge you interest on your loan repayments. Again, this increases the overall amount you ultimately pay for your course. 
  • You can set up a payment plan for a non-funded personal trainer course. If you cannot afford to pay the whole cost of the course upfront, you can pay using a payment plan. This is better than opting for a loan, as you won’t be in debt and won’t have to pay interest on your payments. 

For example, here at OriGym, you can pay the cost of your course over monthly instalments, with 0% interest. Plus, we won’t ask for guarantors, which many other course providers will do. 

We will explore the prices of non-funded and government funded personal trainer courses in more detail in the next section of this article!


Enjoying this article so far? Here’s 3 more that we think you’ll love:

What Are The Differences Between Non-Funded And Government Funded Personal Training Courses?

So, now that you know what non-funded and government funded personal training courses are, we’ll break down the exact differences between the two, just after we outline the only similarity between the courses:

You will receive the same qualification from a non-funded and government-funded PT course

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One thing that is the same between the two types of personal trainer course loans is that the outcome is ultimately the same, no matter whether it is government-funded or not.

In other words, how your course is funded does not affect the type of qualification you receive at the end of it!

For example, a self-funded Level 3 personal trainer course will give you the same certification as a government-funded personal trainer course. 

The key thing here is to look for the ‘Level’ of the course. Having this level attached to it means that the course is regulated by Ofqual, which is the official government body responsible for setting the frameworks for vocational course levels. 

So as long as your course is regulated by an Ofqual-regulated awarding body, you can be sure that you will qualify with the skills, experience and knowledge required to be a successful personal trainer. 

Now, onto the differences!

Government funded PT courses are generally more expensive 

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As we mentioned above, government-funded personal trainer courses are usually more expensive than non-funded courses. 

This is because many course providers know that people will be drawn in by the idea of a loan, which they then take advantage of by increasing the cost of their courses!

For example, let’s compare the pricing of OriGym’s self-funded PT course, and UK Sports Training- who offer a personal training course funded by the government.

Both are Ofqual-regulated Level 3 personal training courses- so the outcome of both is exactly the same. 

However, OriGym’s is significantly cheaper!

UK Sports Training’s course costs a total of £2,593.80.

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Whereas OriGym’s Level 3 personal training course costs just £1049, and there are no hidden fees for things like enrollment, examinations or resists!

So, whilst you may be tempted by a personal trainer course loan, you will ultimately cost you more in the long-run! 

 

Become a personal trainer with OriGym today!

Enquire to find out more about our industry-leading personal training courses

Government funded personal training courses do not have flexible payment plans

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Another important difference between non-funded and government-funded PT courses is how you pay for it. In other words, whether you pay upfront, or have the option of a payment plan. 

With a government-funded personal trainer course, you will usually have to pay the total cost upfront. Although this may seem easier because you are paying it with a loan, this still doesn’t change the fact that you will have to pay it at some point!

Plus, the cost of government-funded PT courses is usually pretty fixed- it is very rare that you will get any kind of discount or special offer.

However, with most non-funded personal trainer courses, there is a lot more flexibility in terms of how you pay for it. 

For example, here at OriGym, we understand that not everyone can pay for their course upfront. That’s why we offer payment plans where you can pay for your course in instalments. This is something that you can discuss with one of our advisors, who will help create a custom payment plan that works for you. 

Plus, all of our payment plans are completely interest free!

This is a much better option than a loan, as you have complete control over how and when you pay for your course. Whereas with a loan, there is no flexibility with your repayments- which we will discuss more next! 

Another advantage of non-funded PT courses in terms of payment is that if you are able to pay for the full amount of your course upfront, most course providers will offer you a discount. 

For example, here at OriGym, we offer a discounted price if you can pay for your course upfront! This is a major advantage of choosing a self-funded course, as you have this option if you are financially able to pay upfront. 

Self-funded PT courses have more options for study methods 

As well as less flexibility in terms of payment, government-funded personal trainer courses also lack flexibility in terms of the study methods available. 

Most personal training courses funded by the government will only be in-person, full-time courses. 

This is because anything related to government funding typically has to adhere to a rigid set of rules for the course in order to meet the eligibility criteria. This can include things such as:

  • Recorded in-person attendance
  • A set amount of hours of learning to be completed per week
  • Courses may only take place in a limited amount of locations that may be far away
  • Constant monitoring of progress
  • Evidence that you are looking for a job 

With this in mind, you will struggle to find government funded personal training courses online in the UK. 

If flexibility around your existing commitments and the option to study online is what you are looking for, then a non-funded personal trainer course is therefore a better option. 

This is because courses that are not associated with government funding don’t need to adhere to specific criteria, so they can offer more flexible study methods. 

For example, here at OriGym, we offer a wide range of study options to suit all schedules, learning styles and preferences. 

Take our Level 3 personal trainer course, which you can take via 3 main study methods:

  • Full-time 
  • Part-time
  • Online 
  • Blended (a combination of online learning and in-person practical workshops)

One of the main things to look for when choosing a personal training course is the option to study in a way that suits you. This is why you are unlikely to find the best personal trainer courses in the UK offering government funding!

Self-funded personal trainer courses give you more control over repayments

government funded personal trainer courses

One thing that attracts many people to personal trainer government funded courses is that they have smaller repayments that begin later, and are only deducted when you pass a certain threshold in your pay.

These repayments are typically based on your income. For example, with the Advanced Learner Loan, you will only pay back 9% of any earnings over £25,725. 

So say you earned £28,800 a year, you would have to pay £11.34 a month. 

Whilst this may not seem like a lot, combined with other monthly outgoings such as tax or university loan repayments, this can actually make a significant impact on your finances over time! 

However, with a self-funded PT course, you will have more control over your repayments. 

For example, when you enrol on a personal trainer course with OriGym, you can discuss with our advisors and create a personalised payment plan, with repayments that work for you!

Government funded PT courses charge interest on repayments

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As well as the size of the repayments, another thing to consider about government funding for personal training courses is whether you have to pay interest on your repayments. 

In general, all government-funded personal training courses require you to pay interest on your repayments.  

The exact amount you pay in interest can vary depending on the type of personal trainer course loan you take. 

But let’s take the Personal Training Advanced Learner Loan as an example. Whilst you are studying, the interest rate is 5.6%. Then, once you finish your course, the interest rate is based on your income, ranging from 2.6 to 5.6%. 

However, most self-funded personal training courses will not charge interest, even if you use a payment plan. 

For example, all of OriGym’s personal training courses offer payment plans with 0% interest. 

Interest rates are therefore something to research before you sign up to a government funded PT course, if you want to avoid facing a nasty surprise!

Not many course providers offer government funded personal training courses 

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As we’ve already discussed, only a handful of course providers offer government funding for their personal training courses.

This means that if you do specifically look for a government-funded course, since there is less choice, you may have to compromise on other things, such as:

  • Study method
  • Student support provided
  • Teaching resources
  • Post-course support

These factors are arguably the most important things to consider when choosing a course provider for your personal training course- rather than whether it is government-funded or not.

So, by opting for a non-funded PT course, you will have a bigger choice of providers to choose from. This means that you can make a more informed decision and choose the right provider for you. 

 

Become a personal trainer with OriGym today!

Enquire to find out more about our industry-leading personal training courses

There are more entry requirements for government funded personal trainer courses

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One of the main advantages of non-funded personal training courses is that they generally have little to no entry requirements.

As we outlined earlier in this article, there are extensive eligibility criteria that you have to meet in order to get government funding for personal training courses. 

For example, even for the Advanced Learner Loan- which is the most accessible of all the loans available, there are still lots of entry requirements you have to meet. 

Having to meet a set criteria for the loan could therefore limit your choice of course providers even further. 

Plus, although government personal trainer loans are often intended to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds start vocational careers, the extensive entry requirements can exclude a lot of potential students who don’t meet the criteria. 

However, there are typically less entry requirements for non-funded courses, making them inclusive for a wider range of people.

Let’s take OriGym’s personal training courses for example. 

To enrol on our Level 2 gym instructor course, since it is an entry-level course, there are no prerequisites. You simply need to be 16 or over to apply!

For our Level 3 personal trainer course, you will just need to have completed a Level 2 course, and be over 16 years old. 

By having less entry requirements, it is therefore a lot quicker for you to start the course. And the quicker you start your course, the sooner you will qualify and get earning! 

The application process is longer for government funded PT courses 

government funded personal training courses online

The final difference to consider between non-funded and government funded personal trainer courses is the application process. 

The process of applying for a government funded personal trainer course is typically a lot longer than applying for a non-funded course. This is as well as having to meet the extensive entry requirements.

As we outlined in the first section of this article, there are a lot of steps involved in applying for government personal training loans, involving a lot of paperwork!

Plus, a lot of the steps are often reliant on other people. For example, to apply for an Advanced Learner Loan, you have to submit a request to Student Finance, which can take as long as 2 weeks to be approved. 

This lengthy application process means that it will ultimately take you longer to get onto the course, and therefore take you longer to start working! 

On the other hand, the application process for a non-funded PT course is typically a lot easier. 

You simply need to choose a course provider and apply! 

For example, applying for a personal training course with OriGym involves just 3 simple steps:

  1. Submit an enquiry or request for a call-back.
  2. Speak to one of our expert advisors to discuss the right course, study method and payment plan for you.
  3. Enrol and start your course straight away! 

Check out our guide to how long it takes to become a personal trainer to see the other factors that can affect the time it takes you to qualify. 

Before You Go! 

So, we hope that we have shown you the benefits of choosing a self-funded personal training course over a government funded PT course!

Feeling inspired? Enquire today to find out more about OriGym’s Ofqual-regulated personal training courses. You can also download our free course prospectus here to browse the full range of courses we offer! 

Written by Alice Williams

Content Writer & Fitness Enthusiast

Alice is a content writer at OriGym. With a first-class degree in French and Linguistics, she loves all things language, fitness and culture. As part of her degree, she spent a year living in France where she worked for a lifestyle blog, gaining professional experience in both translation and content writing. 

When she’s not writing, you can usually find Alice practicing yoga and she hopes to one day become a yoga instructor herself. She also loves running, tennis and cooking up a vegan storm in the kitchen! It was this passion for health and fitness, combined with her love for writing, that brought Alice to OriGym.

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