GCU hosts transition day for HM Forces personnel

16 January 2015

Rear Admiral John Clink OBE presented at the HM Forces Transition Day

Rear Admiral John Clink OBE presented at the HM Forces Transition Day

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) hosted an event on Wednesday, January 14 to give HM Forces personnel information on making the move from the military to university or college.

The one-day event was aimed at British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel who have two years or less before leaving HM Forces, as well as those who have already left. It aimed to inform them about the educational pathways available to enhance their potential for a successful transition to civilian life.  

Speakers on the day included Rear Admiral John Clink OBE, Flag Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland; Glasgow’s Helping Heroes; transition specialists; and academic advisers from the higher and further education sectors. Admiral Clink told the prospective students: “However long you’ve served, you have so many more skills than you perhaps think you do. What you need to do now is look at what you’ve already done and build on this. Going to university or college isn’t like learning a new language, but a dialect.”

He said that ex-servicemen and women would make ideal students because they would “study harder, contribute more and bring a lot of life experience”.

In 2014, GCU launched a Learning Partnership in collaboration with HM Forces, three Glasgow colleges – City of Glasgow, Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde – and Glasgow’s Helping Heroes. The initiative provides ex-servicemen and women with a pathway to sustainable employment via education.

Jim Castle, a Lecturer in Construction Technology and Building Surveying at GCU's School of Engineering and the Built Environment, chairs the partnership. He said at the event: “People in transition and veterans come from all different levels and backgrounds. It is imperative that the Learning Partnership addresses the fact university may not be right for everyone. Those who are not ready for university can go to the partner colleges then move on.”

GCU student Tamala Ngwira attended the event. Tamala, a fourth-year BSc (Hons) Quantity Surveying student, was a Logistics Supplier in the British Army for four years before joining the University.

Tamala said: “I think the experience I gained in the Army, and the hard-work mentality and attitude, helped me to get a place at GCU and has helped me to cope with the demand of the course.

“Some service leavers may feel scared about the next step in their careers but the Learning Partnership is a great way for them to find out more about going to university or college and to get the right advice and support.”

For more information on the Learning Partnership, visit the GCU HM Forces career zone