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Career Development Loans

Since they were launched in 1988 Career Development Loans (CDLs) have helped tens of thousands of people to give their careers a lift. Men and women from a wide range of educational and employment backgrounds – employed, self-employed and unemployed – have benefited from the opportunity to help them invest in learning.

CDLs are a longstanding programme, available within Great Britain (GB), intended to help remove the financial barrier to learning. Their aims are to increase the amount of vocational learning, encourage more individuals to take responsibility for their own learning, and to encourage financial institutions to view learning as an investment worthy of a loan.

CDLs are available through an arrangement between the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and three high street banks. The key points about CDLs are:

  • you can borrow anything between £300 and £8,000 to help you fund up to two years of learning (or up to three years if the course includes one year of relevant practical work experience)

  • you can apply for CDLs with Barclays, The Co-operative Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland

  • the LSC pays the interest on your loan while you're learning and for one month after you've stopped training

  • you repay the loan to the bank over an agreed period at a fixed rate of interest

Find out more about applying for a Career Development Loan
To find out more more about applying for a Career Development Loan visit the new CDL Directgov website at