Studying whilst in the army

Discussion in 'Education and Resettlement Courses' started by Ayrey, Oct 7, 2005.

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  1. I was chatting the my recruiter today and I asked if it was possible, at some stage, to study for further qualifications whilst in the army. He was entirely sure if it was possible or not, so I pose the same question to those already serving.

    Is it possible to study for additional A-levels and/or a degree whilst serving? If so, at what stage and how much time do you get to devout to study? I gather its up to me to make the time for study, etc, which isn't a problem really. Studying for additional qualifications will give me a better chance in civ street for when I eventually decide to come out (hopefully after full 22yrs service :lol: )

    Thanks for any replies

  2. Course you can. Just get the training bit out of the way first. Once that's done, get down your local Education Center and speak to those wonderful ETS bods. Deployments may mean that some of your studies may have to go on hold, but you'll find that there are facilities in most theatres which mean that you can continue your studies on deployment. The OU are very understanding.
  3. Also m8y ask about your ELC's when you get to your first unit these are normally run by the AGC det Comd
  4. There are also some allowances available to assis with course fees etc.

    Also, degree's are offered currently as part of the Foremans and Yeomans course - and in the future will be offered with the Supvr IS course (not sure about the Supvr Radio). So, in the future, you may be able to gain a degree as part of your service.

  5. The army supports all courses of the Open University and given the right effort and the initial financial and time commitment, you could have your degree well before you decide to leave the army. There is also the Forces Distance Learning Scheme (FDLS) which is a list of career and degree courses supported by Universities that are supported by the MoD. Deatails of the FDLS can be found in Joint Service DCI 123/02.

    The army also provides financial support for any career or personal development courses in the form of Standard Learning Credits and Enhanced Learning Credits. Once you join you have I believe 12 months to apply for the scheme and then you can get refunded costs for courses and exams up to a certain ammount (into the thousands) but it can only be paid out "with a single payment in each of a maximum of three separate financial years". Which is why I said 'initial finacial commitment' with reference to the OU.

    So there are plenty of oppertunities there if you want to further your education while serving and I do know several ex-squaddies who are kicking themselves now they are out, knowing they could have spent a little less time on their pit and could be earning a lot more now.

    First point of call is your local AEC.
  6. It is astonishingly easy to accomplish! I know people who've obtained a Masters Degree whilst serving in the Navy. I'm studying for an OU Degree and I've managed to combine working defence watches (6 hours on, 6 hours off for weeks at a time) with my studying. In fact, I leave the middle east 3 days before my OU exam in the VERY near future.

    There are times when you want to jack it all in but it is worth it. I'm not going to lie to you and say it won't be difficult when there will be times between choosing to go on the lash with your mates and finishing an assignment thats got to be in 2 days later-its happened to me quite a few times.

    Some d1ckheads will give you grief about being a swot etc, but when it comes to when you choose to go outside, and you've got a BA/BSc in whatever and they've got an NVQ2 in some random shite then you will know it has been worth it.

    Anyway, you can't go on the lash the whole time and there is only so much rubbish you can watch on tv! At the end of the day, it only involves applying yourself with reasonable effort for 6 years (Feb-Oct each year usually) if you choose to do an honours degree part-time. I use my Standard Learning Credit (175 pounds)(which you are eligible for as soon as you finish your training I believe) for each module (roughly 480 pounds for a 60 point module-you need 300 points for a normal degree and 360 for an honours degree) as I cannot justify using my Enhanced Learning Credits (a grand per year for 3 years now-2 grand per year for 3 years from 2008. You need to do 4 years service to qualify for the basic ELC if you join up now I believe and you are only eligible for the higher tier after 8 years service or 8 years service from 2000) on a course that costs a fraction of that. That works out as costing you roughly 300 pounds per year which is not even 6 good piss-ups. Of course, that could be 1 good run-ashore if you go to a lap-dancing club! :twisted: And you can pay in installments and the APR is v low-around 8%. They deal with guys in the forces the whole time and if you need an extension, they'll usually let you have it if there are mitigating circumstances. If you do the NVQ4 in management (if any fellow SNCO's need info-pm me) as well, they'll credit you with 60 points so that's 1/6 of an hons degree already done. The OU has seen a massive increase in the amount of under-25's applying to do their courses as they've realised that you can get an honours degree for around 3 grand which is fcuk all compared to normal uni and OU degrees are very well respected in civvy street as it shows that you're a determined individual who is able to keep on top of times with time-management, deadlines etc,etc. My only regret is sitting on my arrse doing fcuk all and getting lashed the whole time for the first few years I was in the mob. If you don't want a degree, you can get a certificate in one year and a diploma done in 2 years. If you need any more info, just let me know.....

    EDIT: I said P1SS-UP, NOT URINE-UP!!
  7. You are entitled to 80% of course fees up to £175 per year under what is called Standard Learning Credits (SLCs). You should get told to register for Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs) at some point during your first 12 months service. That will allow you a max of 3 claims of ELCs (ie, in 3 different years) after serving 4 years. This is £1000 per year or £2000 per year after 8 years service. Eg, if you claim in years 4, 5 and 6 you get a total of £3000 but if you wait to claim after your 8 years, you get a total of £6000. This is all dependant on registering in that first year, otherwise you dip out. ELCs must be used for courses at Level 3 or above on the National Qualifications Framework (NVQ Level 3 or equivalent). Oh yes, ELCs can be used up to 10 years after leaving the Army, providing you complete the relevant in-service time as stated. OU, as has been said, are very good with the forces.
  8. ELC's however are taxable once you leave the forces. And they only cover 80% of the courses as well just like the SLC which yellowbelly mentioned so try to find a course that is 2500 pounds in order to see off the MOD as much as possible! You only get this money on successful completion of the course though.

    One other thing I forgot to mention is that if your OU course involves a summer school, the mob recognise the OU Summer Schools as a duty so you won't have to sacrifice your leave to look at rocks, yummy mummies etc,etc and they will pay the cost of the Summer School in addition to your SLC or ELC. You can also claim the cost of attending your tutorials as well (travel claims) but you need to check this as I have found out different units have different criteria.
  9. Wow, some excellent replies, much more than I'd thought :lol:

    Seems simple and straight forward enough to study in the army. I wonder why the recruiter didn't provide a definate answer :roll:

    I'll certainly remember to register for the ELC.

    Thanks for the great advice

  10. Far from simple when you are in the army and more so when you are at the lower (getting messed around) ranks. It means that you will have difficulty in planning your study time. There's always something that'll get in the way from sudden duties, to chaos in the block with everyone else wanting to get bladded and not careing that you want a bit of quiet to do some study and getting sent on courses and tours at short notice.

    Having said that it's not impossible and in some jobs you can study while you are on duty (duties can be used as a quiet time to study). After all there is a lot of time spent in the army sat around doing very little. It's up to you to use this time to your advantage rather than just wasting it.

    You'll also find that the Tutors that deal with the forces students are very understanding and 'can do' when it comes to being flexible for you (within reason) and if you are having difficulty you can give them a quick call and, as they get their calls paid for they will phone you back so you can discuss your problems at leisure.
  11. It's not all positive I'm afraid, Ayrey. It can sometimes be unecessarily difficult to get the agreement of finacial support for your studies, especially if the course overlaps postings to different theatres. I would imagine that part of this is deliberate to discourage the timewasters and dreamers. You also don't get the refund until you have finished the course or module.
    Speaking from my own experience, I started an OU degree in computing, and shelled out several hundred pounds for two modules. It got a bit manic at work, so I had to drop one of the courses halfway through as I found I could no longer cope. The OU granted me something like a 60% credit towards the same course next year, which softened the load a bit. However, just before I could finish the second module, I was sent on op TELIC. A lack of access to the internet and 16 hour days made it impossible to continue so I had to withdraw from that one too. To make matters worse, I returned from TELIC after the new term started, so could not even take advantage of the partial refund I had been granted for the module I had been forced to drop.
    Attempting to seek a refund, the OU told me it was the Army's fault and I should get them to pay me back, and the Army said the OU should refund me. After several months of fruitless trying, I decided to cut my losses and drop the whole thing.
    I still intend to pursue my OU ambitions, but I think I'll wait until I leave the Army. Don't be too disheartened though, it would appear from the other posts that my experience was not that common, so best of luck to you.
  12. 11D

    11D Old-Salt

    There is another option.......................

    ...........Commision from the ranks and be you'll be an undergradate officer compared to your fellow officer compatriots, the majority of whom have been to university before they went to sandhurst. If you are an undergraduate officer you are eligible to apply for an in service degree. WHat is this??? Well here are the facts:

    1. The army will ship you off to a civvilian University at either Newcastle, SOuthampton, Aston, Northumbria or Loughborough for THREE YEARS!

    2. The army will PAY FOR ALL YOUR TUITION FEES.

    3. You will STILL receive full pay.

    4. You receive an extra £14 a day for food allowance.

    5. You get SSSA (Approx £550 per month) towards renting a property.


    7. .............ermm thats all I can think of. Oh and you get to be a civvy student just like the rest of them for three years.

    8. ANy military commitment??? Yep one parade night a week looking after OCdt's from Welbeck who hope to go to Sandhurst after they graduate.

    The downside to all this??? There is a couple. First of all it means you are out of the green for three years (no marching, no ops, no guns and bullets). You will also have to study a technical (ish) degree dependent on your cap badge.

    eg. Sigs - Electronic Engineering, Information Systems, etc etc
    RE - Civ Eng, Geography and geology (oh no that sound really hard!!)
    REME - mech eng
    RLC - Logistics (5 hours a week I think of lectures!)

    Oh and lets not forget the other major drawback which is having to work with long haired civvies who wear hoodies and ripped jeans.

    If you have a bit of an education and the grades and potential to commission then I would advise it as a serious option. WHat have you got o loose!??
  13. And afterwards you get to teach in a girl's school, Sorry SEE Arborfield.
  14. You should get registered en-masse during phase 1 training for ELC but you need to complete 4 years before you can claim. SLC is available to all post training - the claim year runs Apr to Apr.

    In 22 years I have only had 2 years where I haven't been studying for something. I got my OU degree, a PGCE, Adult Literacy teaching cert and am now doing an MA. All in my own time and the OU was the only one where any personal contribution was required. I also have 2 language diplomas which were the result of career courses.

    As previous posters said, it can be difficult and sometimes impossible, but do not reach your 20 year point and STILL be saying "I really should get some quals" as happened to a mate of mine. It really is up to you.
  15. Does anyone know of, or heard of via the grape vine of taking a sebatical to allow you to study for a 1 year degree course such as an Msc?