As year 11s sit their GCSE exams and college life beckons, it’s easy to think that next term’s first year students will be your average 16 year old. However, there are increasing numbers of adult students joining courses having financed their Level 3 or Level 4 courses with a 24+ loan.

Sparsholt College is celebrating Adult Learners’ Week to encourage mature learners to consider a return to education in order to realise their dream of achieving their personal and career goals, including going to university.

Course fees can be covered by 24+ loans (for eligible people) which means there are no upfront costs and the loans only have to be paid back once they are earning over ÂŁ21,000 per year.

Bronek Staniewicz is a 25 year old Level 3 Conservation and Wildlife Diploma student who attributes the 24+ loan to helping him secure the right course at Sparsholt College. After studying GCSEs and A Levels, Bronek was no further forward in determining where his future career lay, so took a job working in the office of a country sporting goods company. After just one season he realised that indoor work was not for him and took on a volunteering role with the National Trust working with the countryside team.

Bronek said: “I loved working in that niche so I decided to get myself qualified so I could pursue a career in this field.  Having the 24+ loan freed me up to focus on sorting the right course; to make an informed choice without worrying about money. Because I was volunteering prior to starting college, I don’t have savings to fall back on so the loan has made a massive difference, enabling me to start the course straight away.”

24+ loans are open to anyone over the age of 24 whether unemployed, employed, already in training, or in further education. They are proving ideal for those people who left school without the qualifications or the desire to go to University. Parents returning to education to re-train, people leaving military service, or those inspired to take a different direction in life can all benefit from a 24+ loan (subject to eligibility).

Adult Learners’ Week is a national celebration of lifelong learning; the biggest in England. The Week is now in its 24th year inspiring Adult Learners’ Week celebrations across the world.