SDS Individual Learning Accounts (ILA)

A replacement ILA scheme will be launched at end of October, keep up to date on this page.

ILA is changing

ILA is getting a refresh over the summer. This means that the existing scheme will be closed to new applications for a few months.

The revised scheme will come into effect on 23 October 2017 and will be called an Individual Training Account (ITA). If you’re eligible then you’ll still be entitled to funding of up to £200 per year towards a course. The differences are that you’ll only be able to do one course in any learner year, and that courses will be geared towards helping you with getting a job or progressing in your career.

Some key dates

We're not currently issuing any new ILA applications. If you want to book a course under the existing ILA scheme:

  • 31 August 2017: Last day bookings can be made under the existing ILA scheme. Bookings can only be made for courses with a start date no later than 30 September 2017

Have a look at our FAQs for more information.

How to book your course

Have you received your ILA number? Then it's time to book a course.

You'll need to book your course by the end of August and attend the course before the end of September. The new Individual Training Account (ITA) scheme will come into effect on 23 October 2017. 

Here's how it works. You'll follow this process every time you use funds from your ILA:

Check your course

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 Learn and train search to find eligible courses, or call the ILA helpline on 0800 917 8000 to check before you book.


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. You'll need to book your course by the end of August and attend the course before the end of September. The new ITA scheme will come into effect in October 2017. 

Your details go in

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.


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.

Pay the balance

If your ILA funding doesn’t cover the full cost of the course, pay the learning provider any balance you owe.

Hand in your learning token

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 your learning materials and are happy with them. This is confirmation that you’re happy for your ILA funds to be paid towards the course.

Your funds are paid

The learning provider will put the details on to the ILA system, and the money reserved in your account will be paid to them.