Supporting ex Service men and women of the Armed Forces
We are commited to ensuring that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged within the delivery of our services and policy making. We declared this publicly by signing the Armed Forces Covenant and were presented with a bronze award from the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme in June 2016. We were then awarded a silver award in September 2017.
To support our ambition to fulfil our Armed Forces Corporate Covenant pledges and the recommendations highlighted in the Scottish Veterans Commissioner report issued in November 2016 (Employment and Education Opportunities) we are working on a number of initiatives to ensure the university is an active supporter of the armed forces community in a number of areas.
Edinburgh Napier and the Armed Forces
We support those transitioning from the armed forces into civilian life with an Education Learning Pathway. We already offer a number of higher education opportunities to those leaving the tri-services from all ranks through our Business School and we are on the MOD Principal Partner Supplier List as an education provider (ELC number 1159). However, we have a particular interest in supporting those leaving the Army from the lower ranks as we believe they often do not have the same opportunities available to them to consider education as an option after resettlement. We are collaborating with various organisations and education providers such as Scottish Credit Qualification Framework (SCQF), Scottish Funding Council, West Lothian College, MOD Education Centre and Glasgow Caledonian University to develop a learning pathway. SCQF and SFC have Armed Forces Working Groups established of which we are key partners with the SCQF Working Group analysing the various qualifications the lower ranks gain to extract evidence of prior learning that may allow them to enter college and then articulate onto a university place. The aim of the project is to present the information in a clear mapping route that the MOD and educational institutions, as well as employers, can understand.
Within Edinburgh Napier University, we have a network of Veterans Champions (within the Admissions Team, Business School, Widening Participation Team, Community Engagement Team and HR Team) who the armed forces community can engage with.
As a University we support our employees who are Reservists and who are joining our workforce from a service background. We work with CTP Assist to provide work placements to support ex service personnel who have suffered injury or illness and we are an active recruiter of ex service personnel by promoting our (non-academic) vacancies on the CTP Job Portal. On an annual basis, we participate in the CTP Job Fair at Murrayfield Stadium. Our Terms and Conditions highlight our support to Reservists employed in the University and can be found here.
We have a number of different initiatives in place to support the families of those in current service. We are working with Colinton Primary School on an outreach programme. A high percentage of the pupils from Colinton Primary School have a family member in service in the local Barracks and we wish to highlight to the children that they too can aspire to a university education through various routes (via college for example). We host half day visits to the university for P6 and P7 pupils in the form of various outreach activities and we have introduced new activities for the lower school classes.
We are also working with the Personnel Recovery Centre by hosting ambition sessions with their clients who are using the service of the recovery unit.
We have introduced a mentoring service for ex-service personnel who work or study with us to help with the mental transition from military to civilian life. We have collaborated with the Community Interest Group Rock2Recovery to deliver this service.
Dr Mandy Winterton is a sociologist within our School of Applied Sciences with established expertise both in educational inclusion and also in wellbeing amongst military populations. Her work examines how factors such as gender, ethnicity, and social class influence experiences and patterns of social advantage and disadvantage. Mandy’s research on military populations includes large national studies of the daily lives and welfare needs amongst military families living on and off base; social inclusion in the military cadet organisation; and the influence of gender and ethnicity on serving personnel. Her work also examines the experiences of military veterans and the transition to civilian lives; this includes her current study of those who end up in Scottish prisons. A number of Mandy’s research projects are funded by the MoD.
Prof Thanos Karatzias is a Professor of Mental Health at Edinburgh Napier University and a Clinical and Health Psychologist at the Rivers Centre for Traumatic Stress.
Thanos was successful in receiving considerable Forces in Mind Trust funding to work with Combat Stress on a project starting in early October 2018. This is an exploration of PTSD and Complex PTSD as per ICD-11 which was published in June 2018 and has included CPTSD as a new condition. Complex PTSD is a condition that is associated predominantly with childhood adversity and it is assumed there are high rates of this amongst military populations which makes it difficult to treat combat related traumatic stress. The findings of the project hope to look at the current models of care of CPTSD and suggest improved interventions. It is anticipated the report is completed in Spring 2019.
Past Armed Forces Events at Edinburgh Napier
The university hosted and organised a successful series of events in April 2017 which focused on PTSD and highlighting the universities commitment to fulfilling the pledges outlined in our Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. The day consisted of a morning lecture entitled
“The impact of life events; PTSD and Complex PTSD” and the evening event was a panel discussion entitled “Alleviating Distress Following Trauma; Policy and Systems of Care”. Both events proved very popular with mixed audiences. The impact of both events has been extremely positive in helping to breakdown the stigma of PTSD within current and ex-service personnel as well as other sectors such as the emergency services and journalism.
Due to the success of the day in April 2017, the university hosted an event in March 2018 with the theme around how PTSD affects the family members of those experiencing it entitled “PTSD and The Military Family - The Lived Experience”. This was a panel discussion with guests including a married couple (husband Ex-Army with PTSD and his wife) who both detailed their experience of PTSD and how it affected family life, an academic who has conducted research with military families, an actress whose father had PTSD and how it affected her growing up and a charity who supports families experiencing PTSD.
In August 2017 we arranged and hosted a half day workshop for small veteran’s charities to give advice to them on how to fundraise and apply for grants.
We have also played host to The Rivers Centre annual Conference (Oct 2017) and the UKPTS annual conference (Feb 2018) who both organised workshops around military mental health issues.
In July 2018 we co-hosted a full day event with UNSWIS (Universities in Support of Sick, Wounded, Injured Service Personnel). We invited those who have been medically discharged or about to be medically discharged from military service to learn about educational and employment opportunities in Universities.
In November 2018 we hosted a number of events
at our Craiglockhart Campus to support the centenary celebration of the end of WW1.
In January 2018 we co-hosted an education conference in collaboration with Glasgow Caledonian University, Veterans Scotland and S02 Transition. The purpose is to encourage all Scottish Universities and Colleges to introduce Veterans Champions into their institutions with the view of ensuring current and ex-service personnel can gain consistent information around FE/HE educational opportunities.
In March 2019 we hosted a talk by JJ Chalmers
who is the Royal Marine who stood on an IED in 2010 and faced life changing injury. After rebuilding his life and competing in the Invictus Games, he now has a successful broadcasting TV career. He shared his story with staff, students and the general public.
We support the Armed Forces Day in West Lothian and Edinburgh by taking a stand to promote out activity and support of the armed forces community.
PTSD and the military family
Veteran Charity Collaborative Links
We have established links with the smaller veterans’ charities as we believe this is of mutual benefit to both parties. We have set up a number of partnership activities with Lothian Veterans’ Centre and also the Community Interest Group Rock2Recovery who currently run their monthly clinics for veterans (with PTSD) from the university.