Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) and Veterans Scotland are hosting Scotland’s first major event to showcase how universities and colleges are helping Armed Forces veterans find new careers and adapt to civilian life.
As the University for the Common Good, the GCU-HM Forces Learning Partnership is at the forefront of this initiative supporting ex-military personnel and their families to make a fresh start.
The event ‘Service Families and Veterans: Why and how should we help?’ is being held on Tuesday, January 15 at GCU, and supported by ENU, Colleges Scotland, Universities Scotland, British Armed Forces, Veterans Scotland, Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government and SCQF.
Speakers include GCU principal and vice-chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies, MSPs Annie Wells and Maurice Corry, Scottish Veterans Commissioner Colonel Charlie Wallace and Deputy Commander of 51 Infantry Brigade and HQ Scotland Colonel Sandy Fitzpatrick.
GCU and ENU are both signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the military and their families are treated fairly.
Professor Valerie Webster, deputy vice-chancellor academic, said: “Glasgow Caledonian University is proud to be supporting our Armed Forces veterans and their families, particularly during what can be a challenging time as they transition from service into a civilian life seeking opportunities for further study or employment.”
Jim Castle, GCU’s Veterans and Armed Forces champion, has already helped over 80 veterans maximise their potential by finding new educational pathways into work.
He said: “The Common Good core values of Integrity, Creativity, Responsibility and Confidence have a perfect fit with the existing skillsets of the veterans.
“All servicemen and women have been trained in battlefield evacuation. They learn how to treat someone who has been badly injured, to keep them alive – called the golden hour – until medics arrive and airlift them to the nearest hospital base.
“This makes them an excellent fit for health-related programmes, such as nursing and paramedics. Equally they can fit into many other areas depending on their ‘cap badge’ such as Royal Engineers to surveying and construction; Royal Signals and REME to computing and engineering; Logistics Corp to business and management.
“They also have physical fitness, leadership skills, decision making, commitment, respect for others, teamwork, loyalty, integrity, discipline and courage to name just a few.
“In a nutshell, they have a huge range of transferrable skills, which added to an education piece, will maximise their potential and make them highly employable and major assets to society and the economy.”
One of the veterans who received support from Jim over the years is former Scots Guardsman John Templeton, who is now registered mental health nurse after graduating from GCU in November. He said being part of the support network at GCU had changed his life.