Universities and colleges join forces to give veterans a fresh start

Conference will share best practice and ideas for collaborative working

Date posted

17 February 2020

10:53

A life-changing initiative giving Armed Forces veterans a fresh start has led to almost all higher and further education institutes in Scotland following suit.

The HE:FE Veterans Champion's Network was launched last year at an event which showcased how Edinburgh Napier and Glasgow Caledonian universities are helping veterans find new careers and adapt to civilian life.

Since then, 90 per cent of Scottish universities and 70 per cent of further education colleges have signed up to support veterans, a new information toolkit has been launched, and work has begun on an SCQF mapping of military qualifications and getting more help for veterans’ children.

Line up of saluting members of armed forces - one RAF, one soldier, one sailor

Today, the ‘HE:FE Veterans Champion’s Network – The Next Stage’ conference will be held in Edinburgh City Chambers, hosted by Local Authority Veterans Champion Lord Provost Frank Ross, to mark these major achievements and look at what more can be done.

The event will be attended by universities and colleges, and their Veterans and Armed Forces Champions, veterans’ charities and agencies, the MOD and Scottish Government.

Edinburgh Napier and GCU have been supporting Armed Forces veterans for a number of years by finding new educational pathways into work.

Edinburgh Napier has received awards from the MOD for its outstanding support of veterans and their families, and has signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant promising to treat those who serve and their families fairly.

Principal Andrea Nolan said: “Armed Forces veterans have a broad range of skills and a wealth of life experience, and our universities and colleges can play a key role in helping them fulfil their potential as they adapt to civilian life.

“As a university, we provide educational and career development support for all ranks of ex-service personnel and are proud to be recognised for our commitment to the armed forces with a Gold Award under the MoD’s Employer Recognition Scheme.

“Since last year’s conference, much effort has gone into developing new opportunities for Scotland’s education sector to support armed forces communities, and this event provides a great platform to share best practice and ideas for collaborative working.”

Jim Wilson, General Secretary of Veterans Scotland, which represents the interests of more than 80 Service Charities, said of the conference:  “It is really good to see Scottish colleges and universities developing their network of Armed Forces and Veterans Champions, and the interest that they are taking in former members of the Armed Forces. This conference plays an important part in that.

“The opportunities presented by colleges and universities are attractive to many ex-service personnel. I am delighted to be part of this important initiative which is a clear demonstration of the support that is given to our servicemen and women and their families in particular as they transition to civilian life.”