Qualifications in accounting and youth work have proved the most popular for students taking out 24+ advanced learner loans, officials have revealed.

Since loan applications for courses starting in August opened in April, 42,534 learners have used them to enrol — and the top loans-funded qualification was the Association of Accounting Technicians’ (AAT) level three diploma in accounting, with 2,238 students enrolling with loans.

The level four diploma in accounting, also awarded by AAT, was the third most popular choice with 1,119 enrolments.

Julie Hyde

Suzie Webb,  AAT director of education said the association was “very pleased” by the news.

She said: “Accounting technicians play a vital role in the finance function and have solid foundations that make them invaluable to the economy.

“So we take pride in knowing that AAT is the preferred option for people who receive a loan to study.

“This data is evidence that both employers and students see the value of studying an AAT qualification.”

The second most popular course was the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (Cache) level three diploma for the children and young people’s workforce with 1,640 loans-funded enrolments.

The fourth and fifth most popular qualifications were also awarded by Cache, with its certificate in supporting teaching and learning in schools and diploma in specialist support for teaching and learning in schools, both level three, attracting 928 and 908 enrolments through loans, respectively.

Director of Cache business development Julie Hyde said: “This highlights the importance of these qualifications to the sector, especially in light of the perceived barrier that 24+ advanced learning loans present, and is a clear indication of the value of these qualifications to both learners and employers alike.”

The figures come as a survey commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills revealed that just 12 per cent of the general public were aware of 24+ advanced learning loans although around two-thirds of potential and current learners said they would or might take out a loan to fund a qualification.

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