The civilian jobs market is highly competitive. Forces Leavers have many of the skills and attitudes that employers are looking for but some roles will require specific training or qualifications. Improving your skills and knowledge could help give you the edge but adult training and education can be expensive.
Fittingly, the enhanced learning credits scheme (ELC) is an initiative aimed at promoting lifelong learning amongst members of the Armed Forces and Service Leavers looking to transition into civilian life. The scheme is administered by the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service (ELCAS) and ELCAS credits can be used to fund a number of different courses for current and former Forces personnel.
Essentially, Forces Leavers can qualify for one of two levels of credits. Those who have served for at least four years should be able to qualify for Lower Tier credits, which will provide £1,000 of funding. Those who have served for eight or more years could qualify for Upper Tier credits, which are worth £2,000 per year.
Serving members can start using their credits during their last two years of service, but for those who have already left, it’s important to remember that credits are only valid for 10 years. Leavers can use up to three lots during the 10 years that the credits are active, meaning they can access funding to put towards three different years of study.
It’s important to note that ELCAS credits cannot be used to fund just any course. To qualify, the course must be accredited by the ELC, and must be recognised by the National Qualified Framework (NQF) at level 3 or higher. This framework includes many vocational courses, and the achievements recognised are equivalent to an A-level or higher in academic terms.