GCU and HM Forces launch Learning Partnership for ex-servicemen and women

26 August 2014

Ex-servicemen and women may not consider further or higher education as part of their transition back to civilian life

Ex-servicemen and women may not consider further or higher education as part of their transition back to civilian life

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is working with HM Forces, three Glasgow colleges - City of Glasgow, Glasgow Kelvin and Glasgow Clyde ­- and Glasgow's Helping Heroes to launch a Learning Partnership, a major education initiative that provides ex-servicemen and women with a pathway to sustainable quality employment via further and higher education.

The Partnership, chaired by Jim Castle, a Lecturer in Construction Technology and Building Surveying at GCU's School of Engineering and the Built Environment (SEBE), originated in discussions between Major Gene Maxwell, Mr Castle and Professor Douglas Greenhalgh, formerly Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor of SEBE. It is intended to address the fact ex- British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel, particularly those who leave the services after only a short time, may not consider further or higher education as part of their transition back to civilian life.

The GCU project will work with college partners to provide a comprehensive choice of educational opportunities to service leavers. Some will enter at university level while others will start on a pre-college foundation, NC, HNC or HND course with the potential to proceed to university.

Formal recognition of prior learning is a vital element of the HM Armed Forces Learning Partnership.

Mr Castle, Chairman of the Learning Partnership, said: “Early service leavers in particular might not have had a great experience at school and may not have anticipated ever continuing their education. However, after even a short time in the Forces, they will have acquired practical knowledge and skills that will be a good foundation for future studies in a wide range of subjects, ranging from construction to IT for example.

“By working with City of Glasgow College, Glasgow Kelvin College and Glasgow Clyde College, we are able to take a more holistic approach that enables us to tailor each student’s pathway to ensure it is right for them. Our links with HM Forces and Help for Heroes mean we can reach those who may be considering a return to education and can analyse how their service experience can best be built upon.”

The HM Forces Learning Partnership offers these opportunities to all HM Forces personnel, regardless of rank and length of service. The opportunities are equally applicable to those staying within HM Forces.”

The initiative has been welcomed by the Commander of the British Army in Scotland.

Brigadier Paul K Harkness MBE said: “The work of the HM Forces Learning Partnership has provided those leaving the Armed Forces with an invaluable opportunity to help them consolidate the knowledge they have acquired during their time in uniform and assist them in developing themselves much further.

“The Armed Forces run the largest apprenticeship scheme in the UK, producing highly trained and experienced personnel. However, the move between military life and civilian life is not always straightforward. GCU has stepped forward to assist in the transition through its Learning Partnership, accrediting past experience in lieu of formal academic qualifications thereby providing future employers with a better understanding of the service leaver's abilities, skills and competencies.

“The broad range of courses that GCU has on offer further enhances the opportunities for service leavers to improve themselves, both personally and professionally.”

Find out more about the HM Forces Learning Partnership at www.gcu.ac.uk/hmforces