ELCAS

elcas

Enhanced learning credits (ELC) are a very attractive addition to the MoD’s allowances, and users must ensure that they follow the letter and spirit of the regulations that govern them. In outline, individuals join the scheme, complete some years of service and then draw down cash to support approved learning.

Joining

Those wishing to join the scheme must be in the Armed Forces. All recruits can register during their first year of service, with a further registration window between the eight-year and the eight-and-a-half-year point; forms are available from education staffs, *learning and education centres, and the ELC Administration Service (ELCAS) website atwww.enhancedlearningcredits.com. Registration date in the first 12 months will be the actual date the form is submitted. Registration date in the post-eight-year window will be the dated from the eight-year service point.

People already serving at 1 April 2003 who registered by 1 April 2004 will have their eligible service reckoned from 1 April 2000 or their date of enlistment, whichever is the later. People who joined on or after 1 April 2003 and joined the scheme during their first year of service will have their eligible service reckoned from their date of enlistment. No service before 1 April 2000 can be taken into account under the scheme.

Length of service required

Before being allowed to make an ELC claim at the lower level (currently up to £1,000), an individual must have at least four years’ service. Before being allowed a claim at the higher rate (currently up to £2,000), they must have completed eight years’ service.

This service period must be complete before starting the learning for which ELC will be claimed, and the latest date for making a claim is ten years after leaving the Services.

ELC awards

ELC may be claimed for a maximum of three separate years, which do not have to run consecutively, and may also be a combination of both higher and lower levels. They may also be claimed for the same learning course if it continues for over a year or for different learning purposes for each year. If one course combines with others for a single learning purpose they can be combined to claim ELC.

Only one ELC claim can be made in any one financial year (April to March). Individuals must make a contribution to their learning of at least 20% of the cost. The ELC element includes VAT but excludes travel, accommodation, food, books and materials. There is no entitlement to travel at public expense for ELC training activity, unless the ELC is drawn for resettlement purposes. (Authority to travel at public expense for resettlement training is in accordance with JSP 752, Ch. 4.)

The learning purpose must benefit the Service and advance the individual’s development plans. Claimants must plan their personal development, often best demonstrated through a personal development record. The individual resettlement training costs (IRTC) grant may be used in addition to ELC to pay towards the cost of the same learning activity where the activity fully meets the ELC scheme criteria (i.e. the pursuit of a nationally recognised qualification at level 3 and above delivered by an ELC approved provider). Learning must be cost-effective and authorised, and the provider must be an approved provider.Documentary proof that learning has taken place will be needed for claims.