Support for Veterans and the Armed Forces community: report 2017

This document sets out the work that is being done to respond to the recommendations made in the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s first three reports.

Annex C

The Veterans Community - Employability, Skills and Learning [35]

Published 3 November 2016


Recommendation text

Response at section number


The Scottish Government should establish a Veterans Employability Strategic Working Group of key partners to provide strategic leadership and to oversee the activity required to fulfil the ambitions of more, and better, employment opportunities for veterans, as articulated in this report and in Renewing Our Commitments.

The working group should include core participation from the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland ( SDS), Local Government representation, Ministry of Defence ( MOD) / Career Transition Partnership ( CTP), the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP), and Veterans Scotland.

1, 3, 5, 5.1


The Scottish Government should support proposals that promote employability and increase job opportunities amongst the veterans community as the priority when allocating resources from the Scottish Veterans Fund.



The Scottish Government to review how the veterans community could be most effectively utilised to fill the known skills gaps in key sectors like education, health, IT, engineering, construction, finance and insurance. In doing so, it should consider whether its recent initiative to attract former oil and gas workers into teaching in the North East of Scotland should be replicated for the veterans community. This recommendation should be considered by the Veterans Employability Strategic Working Group (see Recommendation 1) as one of its early priorities.



The Scottish Government should initiate and co-ordinate a regional employability pilot project, based in an area where there is a high military and veteran population. The purpose should be to deliver an increased number of meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities for Service Leavers, veterans, and spouses and partners.

The pilot should involve the full range of organisations with an interest in the development of the local economy, the sustainability of its communities and the particular contribution that veterans and families can make to these ambitions. It should, therefore, see core participation from the Scottish Government, Local Government, Ministry of Defence, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, Skills Development Scotland, Department for Work and Pensions/Job Centre Plus, Community Planning Partnership(s), employers, local college(s), and representatives of local veterans' families.



The Scottish Government should commission research to provide analysis of the current baseline of the employment situation for the veterans community and to evaluate the impact of national and local initiatives to improve job prospects.



The Scottish Government should work with employers – both small and large - to find ways of offering more placements to Service Leavers, veterans, spouses and partners. This should be in addition to those offered by Career Transition Partnership.



The Career Transition Partnership ( CTP), Local Authority community-based support services, colleges, Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) and charities should promote the benefits of improved literacy and numeracy skills amongst Service Leavers and veterans, directing them to appropriate community-based support, including the 'Big Plus' initiative. The aim should be to generate greater awareness amongst veterans with specific needs, their families and employers in order that learning opportunities can be accessed more readily.



The Veterans Employability Strategic Working Group (see Recommendation 1) should produce a plan for building understanding and recognition amongst Scottish employers (especially SMEs) of the skills and qualifications gained in the military. The Group should also consider whether the current system for translating and mapping qualifications could be simplified and how it might be better utilised and understood.



The Career Transition Partnership ( CTP) and Skills Development Scotland ( SDS) should build on their existing relationship with the aim of ensuring Service Leavers and veterans have seamless access to SDS once their period of support from CTP comes to an end. This will be particularly important for Early Service Leavers and others in danger of 'falling between the gaps'.



Colleges Scotland to work with their members to engage the veterans sector more closely in order to promote the benefits of, and opportunities to participate in, college education. Ultimately the outcome should be an increase in numbers from the veterans community taking up college places.

Not primarily for the Scottish Government, but covered in section 5.4


The Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and Colleges Scotland should develop a plan to promote the Modern Apprenticeship programme to Early Service Leavers, veterans who would benefit from up-skilling or retraining, and spouses and partners.



The Scottish Government should work with employers to identify ways of supporting, and perhaps incentivising, sponsorship schemes that will allow a greater number of Service Leavers and veterans to undertake college studies in conjunction with full time employment.

5.4 and 6


In fulfilling the recommendations from the Commission on Widening Access, all Universities should consider how access thresholds can be specifically applied to the veterans community. Subsequently, they should advertise and promote these thresholds widely across the military and veterans sectors.

Not primarily for the Scottish Government, but covered in section 5.4


The Scottish Funding Council, universities and colleges to specifically consider the veterans community as they embark on the expansion of articulation, as recommended by the Commission on Widening Access.

Not primarily for the Scottish Government, but covered in section 5.4


The Scottish Funding Council should work with relevant organisations - including Universities Scotland, Colleges Scotland and Student Awards Agency Scotland - to produce material designed specifically for the veterans community. This should include information about finance and the support available for those enrolling at college or university. Subsequently, this material should be made available widely amongst the serving and veterans communities, and those like CTP and SDS who support them.

Not primarily for the Scottish Government, but covered in section 5.4


Colleges Scotland and Universities Scotland should work with their members and Veterans Scotland to establish a network of champions across all colleges and universities. The champions can provide the first point of contact for members of the ex-Service community applying for, or undertaking, further and higher education. They should also consider offering mentoring, advice on applications and funding, and be part of the wider champions network in Scotland.

Not primarily for the Scottish Government, but covered in sections 6 and 7


The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work should in due course report the progress made against implementing the recommendations in this report (and my two previous reports) to the Scottish Parliament. The aim should be to raise the profile of veterans issues amongst Parliamentarians and provide them with the information necessary to scrutinise the Scottish Government's work in this field.

This document and the Parliamentary debate covers this recommendation


The Scottish Government to assess its current and future recruitment policies with a view to identifying opportunities to better target and support the veterans community in securing Scottish Government jobs. In doing so, it should consider Police Scotland's approach of providing tailored information, personal support in completing applications, and advice in preparing for interviews. Mentoring from ex-Service personnel within the civil service is likely to play a crucial role.



NHS Scotland and individual Health Boards should develop and deliver commitments made at the last Armed Forces and Veterans Joint Group meeting to utilise the talents of the veterans community and provide better support and advice to those applying for jobs within the NHS.



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