Why study? A guide to further education

Why study? A guide to further education

By Ed Hanna

Perhaps you couldn’t wait to leave school when you were younger and that you haven’t changed your mind. However, times change and you’ve likely changed too. It may be time to think again about education.

You may well have joined the Forces to find adventure and escape what you considered to be otherwise drab career or education choices. Now you’re leaving the Forces it could be good to think it over in a new light.


Going back to education isn’t necessarily going to be how you envisage it. Different options will appeal to different people, so if you don’t want to sit in a classroom or lecture hall you could opt for a distance learning or correspondence course.

As far as courses are concerned, there are hundreds of options regarding subject matter – a world of difference to studying the prescribed National curriculum of your schooldays. Study what you want to study – and enjoy it!


You may be aware that studying is expensive. For home students, institutions in England can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year. Fortunately, you may also know about the MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC). The scheme provides financial support through an up-front payment in each of a maximum of three separate financial years.

ELC funding is available for higher level learning, such as for courses that result in a nationally recognised qualification at Level three or above on the National Qualifications Framework. (NQF) (England, Northern Ireland and Wales), or Level six or above on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

Also worth noting is that if you’ve been resettling for a while you can still submit a claim up to five years after leaving the Forces.


One of the obvious motivators to going back to study is to improve your employability. You may feel the need to upgrade or update your knowledge and qualifications as you pursue a specific role. (This could equally apply to training courses.) Sometimes it’s easier for employers to accept civvy qualifications than it is to understand how your Military experiences will benefit them.


Making the commitment to gain a new understanding or qualification in a subject is always admirable – not least by employers who, on the whole, are looking for people with a bit of ‘get up and go’. Furthermore, people fresh from study are often regarded as having new ideas and thinking to draw on.

Change direction

Ask many 30 or 40-somethings and they’ll tell you that they feel confined to their current career path, rather than inspired by it. They’d give anything to have the time and resources to make a change based on re-qualifying. You’re in an enviable position to look around and study towards your dream career.

Education can sometimes aid networking, especially if you’re studying for qualifications such as an MBA. Remember, Mark Zuckerberg launched what became Facebook with his Harvard University classmate, Eduardo Saverin!


Education can be enjoyable and satisfying. You may never have a better opportunity to experience it.

Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service: elcas@m-assessment.com
UK: 0845 3005179
Overseas: 0044 191 442 8196
Lines open 09:00 – 17:00 Monday to Friday excluding bank holidays