You’ve checked that you’re eligible and now you’re ready to apply for an SDS Individual Learning Account.

Remember, you need to set up your ILA before you sign up for a course. The funds can’t be used for courses that have already been booked.

It’s quick and easy to request an application pack online- however, if you are looking to renew an existing ILA, or if you’d prefer to speak to someone, call the ILA helpline on 0800 917 8000

When you receive your application pack, read through it carefully. Then complete the application forms and return them to us.

Once your ILA is set up, we’ll send you a welcome pack to tell you how to use it. You’ll also receive your ILA number, which you’ll need to book your course.

Ready to choose a course?

Here’s how it works:

  1. First, check that your learning provider is registered with ILA, and that the course you want is eligible – you can’t use your ILA funds for courses which are not listed in the ILA database. Use the Course Choices search to find eligible courses, or call the ILA helpline on 0800 917 8000 to check before you book.
  2. Enrol for the course and tell the provider that you want to use your ILA funds to help pay for it. Give them your ILA number.
  3. The learning provider will enter the details of your chosen course on the ILA system, which will reserve the money required in your account. It won’t actually be paid out until you’ve started the course.
  4. We’ll send you confirmation of the course details and a statement showing how much of your account will be used to pay for it. You’ll also receive a learning token, which you must keep safe until the course begins.
  5. If your ILA funding doesn’t cover the full cost of the course, pay the learning provider any balance you owe.
  6. Give the learning token to your learning provider when you attend the first class. If it’s a distance learning course, send the token to the provider when you’ve received, and are happy with, your learning materials. This is confirmation that you’re happy for your ILA funds to be paid towards the course.
  7. The learning provider will put the details on to the ILA system, and the money reserved in your account will be paid to them.

This is the process you’ll go through each time you use funds from your ILA.


You can request a translation of our application pack and welcome pack in audio CD format, Braille, large-print format or the following languages:

  • Chinese (Cantonese)
  • Gaelic
  • Hindi
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Urdu

If you have a disability or any special requirements and would like additional help, please contact the ILA helpline on 0800 917 8000.

You can email us at Please note: Due to data protection we are unable to answer account related queries by email. If you have a question relating to your account balance, learner year end or status of your application please call the helpline.

We have a Textphone (for customers who are deaf): 0141 573 4883.

What next?

Visit Course Choices to find a course that's right for you.

Need more information? Check out the ILA FAQs section.