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ELCAS: combining professional development with social investment

Author: Anne-Maria Brown

Posted on: April 2016

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“Tomorrow’s learning is about ownership.” That that was the message from leading professional development organisation, OEB, as they announced this years’ conference theme. Learning structured by the learner themselves is a model that has been gaining increasing traction over the last decade, with potential pathways for self-development opening up as technology evolves and consumer awareness grows.
 
The socio-economic value of empowering people to design their own professional development is being increasingly recognised by businesses and organisations, with a discernible trend for introducing programmes that have scope not just to support individuals whilst they work with the company but beyond; part employee incentive, part CSR. For businesses looking to introduce social value into their operations, a model for investing in the development of staff when they’ve moved on offers a mutually beneficial opportunity.

ELCAS, the MOD’s scheme for employee and ex-employee self-development, is a testament example of the how an organisation can run a professional development investment model that allows users freedom over what, how and when they learn, with great impact. The ELCAS scheme entitles all past and present armed forces employees, including the British Army, Navy and RAF, access to a diverse ranges of courses at a huge variety of levels from endorsed providers, from a management NVQ to a nursing foundation. One benefit of the scheme is employee incentive, but more significantly it adds value to the social and economic contributions that those who have worked with the army make beyond the organisation, giving them greater opportunity to develop skills that they are passionate about and invest into their communities.

For an organisation like the MOD, the continuing investment in their staffers beyond service sends out a strong message of intent to better the regions communities they effect, with a clear viewpoint that if individuals they have already supported with professional development want to take that founding learning further, there are strong social and economic benefits they have the opportunity to contribute.

Through PNE Development’s work as an ELCAS course provider, our team has seen hundreds of success stories, in which people with an ambition to build on and refine their skills have turned their new awareness into incredible impact as business owners, third-sector supporters, employees and even returning to previous teams with a fresh contribution.  Any organisation operating at scale invests significantly in workforce skills, and often in supporting the communities it operates within, the ELCAS development model of investing in employees even after they have moved on makes sense, both to for the people and its pockets.

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