Recommendations from The Veterans Community – Employability, Skills and Learning, 2016

Key

  • Not implemented
  • Partially implemented
  • Implemented but work should continue to embed
  • Fully implemented
  • Superseded
 Recommendation20192020202120222023
1

Establish a Veterans Employability, Skills and Learning Working Group

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

The Veterans Employability Strategic Group (VESG) was announced in 2017. The group has met eight times to date and brings together many of the key stakeholders for example Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Careers Transition Partnership (CTP), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Veterans Scotland and the Scottish Government. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) and employers have also attended some meetings. As a direct result of the Veterans Employability Strategic Group, key partners have committed to enduring partnership working through the establishment of a Scottish Veterans Employability Concordat. The Concordat provides a single, unambiguous statement of the expectations of veterans, early service leavers and their families, encapsulating a broad framework of three principles for which those involved in the employment and training of veterans and their families can set out their commitment to make Scotland the destination of choice for Service leavers. The Concordat was launched by the Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans during the veterans annual update to Parliament in September 2018.

Scottish Government update, 2020

The Veterans Employability Strategic Group (VESG), formed in response to recommendations from the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s Employability, Skills and Learning, has been refreshed in 2020 with two new co-chairs – a private sector director and a senior civil servant. The group is considering a new and ambitious purpose and a clear focus. It will continue to build on and strengthen its partnership approach to employability and skills, working in collaboration to identify and strengthen pathways into employment for our Service Leavers and veterans and identify ways to promote the value, skills and attributes veterans bring.

Scottish Government update, 2021

The VESG was refreshed in 2020 with two new co-chairs and additional members, including employer representatives from the private sector. The group developed a new vision, future focus and action plan, prioritised around the areas of: reskilling and utilising Service leavers to address skills gaps in the labour market; ensuring Service leavers have up to date information on the labour market; supporting positive employer practice; and data.

To support the delivery of the Group’s new focus, a series of smaller working groups are being developed to lead elements of the action plan. These will ensure a co-ordinated, accountable and targeted approach to delivering the Group’s purpose and, ultimately, improving outcomes for members of the Armed Forces and veterans community.

2

Scottish Veterans Fund

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

When the Scottish Veterans Fund was relaunched in 2017 along with investment from Standard Life Aberdeen, a dedicated employability strand of funding was created to support projects helping veterans into employment.

Scottish Government update, 2020

Work has continued throughout 2020 and recommendation has now been assessed as fully met.

4

Regional employability pilot

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

The pilot has recently gone live with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions delivered to Resettlement Officers/CTP and SDS staff, and a handshake card produced and issued to pilot bases for Resettlement Officers to issue at their briefs. They cover the service offer from SDS at transition and seek referral, for which there is a process in place. The pilot is being promoted via base digital platforms and other forums e.g. Hives. There has been 12 referrals since pilot launch to April 2019. Meetings have taken place with Training Education Skills & Resettlement (the MOD in Whitehall) regarding early service leavers and the development of a Scottish Transition page is underway with CTP, Veterans Scotland and Transition SO2 for those transitioning in Scotland.

Scottish Government update, 2020

This is an important pilot which has the potential to identify the value accrued when statutory services provide information, advice and guidance for those due to leave the Services and their families. As of 19 August 2020, 31 clients have accessed the Inverness & Elgin centres. In addition, a further five spouses/partners have engaged with SDS services in this area. The ambition from the pilot of partnership working is that this service offer be rolled out across Scotland. This was agreed at a meeting with MOD, Scottish Government and SDS in October 2019. Following COVID-related disruption, Scottish Government and SDS are now re-engaging with MOD with a view to SDS engaging with Individual Education and Resettlement Officers (IEROS) and others (including CTP) to progress this process towards business as usual.

Scottish Government update, 2021

Activity continues in the North area with a number of transitioning Armed Forces personnel (10) having had an appointment with a Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Careers Adviser from either Inverness or Elgin centres between September 2020 and 2021. SDS continues to work with the wider Armed Forces Community in the area e.g., military children in schools etc. In addition, work continues with MOD/TESRR/CTP to formalise arrangements via a memorandum of understanding to progress the partnership and raise awareness of and access to impartial careers advice and guidance, as an option to those in transition prior to CTP’s programme. SDS is working closely with DWP colleagues and has a joint Champions event in November 2021.

7

Improving literacy and numeracy

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

Although not specifically for the Scottish Government, SDS has updated the ‘Big Plus’ website, which is signposted from MyWoW landing page. Promotion and understanding of MyWoW and the Landing page has and is continuing to be done with key CTP/Military and veteran organisations including Champions group and the Cross Party Group.

Scottish Government update, 2020

Work has continued throughout 2020 and recommendation has now been assessed as fully met.

9

CTP and SDS to build on existing relationship

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’.

Scottish Government update, 2019

The Veterans Employability Strategic Group (VESG) has been very successful in building on this relationship, which can be seen for example in the initial work to establish a pilot in the North East, which is now live with Continuing Professional Development (CPD) sessions delivered to Resettlement Officers/CTP and SDS staff. SDS has also launched a dedicated veterans page on My World of Work, which we had committed to in our response to the recommendations.

Scottish Government update, 2020

Relationship between SDS/CTP remains consistent at a local level but further collaboration via the VESG is required to achieve the ambition of rolling out SDS services, in particular career guidance, across Scotland.

Scottish Government update, 2021

SDS and CTP are both members of the VESG. SDS continues to strengthen its partnerships and is in the process of developing and agreeing formal partnership principles and joint actions with MOD, CTP, the Army in Scotland and Royal Caledonian Education Trust.

Scottish Government update, 2022

Following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between MoD and SDS in March 2022, an action plan has been developed and agreed and is now being implemented to facilitate closer working between CTP and SDS. SDS has now met with the new Early Service Leaver adviser and is looking to deliver a continuing professional development (CPD) package to them to raise awareness of SDS services and areas where SDS can support delivery. Actions agreed include: Developing a Joint customer Journey, a Joint referral process sharing Labour Market Information, service development and product promotion and joint CPD sessions for CTP/SDS colleagues Joint meetings will also be arranged to monitor progress.

Scottish Government update, 2023

SDS continues to work with colleagues in CTP to build on their Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Operationally, SDS continues to share information and intelligence with CTP colleagues on an ongoing and regular basis and refer new employers to them. An example is their work with Allied Vehicles with whom they worked closely and introduced them to other partners including Officers Association Scotland and Poppyscotland. Allied Vehicles is now advertising their opportunities through the CTP jobs board.

SDS regularly promote the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (DERS) and the Scottish Government’s Capitalising on Military Talent toolkit setting out the advantages to the employer of DERS recognition (access to Forces Families Jobs website, etc).

11

Modern Apprenticeships

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

This recommendation has been met. Scottish Apprenticeship week (SAW) is held annually and is used to showcase to both employers and to those interested in Apprenticeships what is on offer across the employment spectrum in Scotland. During Scottish Apprenticeship week 2018, the dedicated page for Veterans on My World of Work (MWoW) was launched. Skills Development Scotland will continue to engage with Service leavers and veterans as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2019, which will be held in March 2019. In addition, as part of the work SDS and the CTP is undertaking, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships will be promoted to Early Service Leavers, veterans and their families. This will include awareness of Apprenticeships.scot which is Skills Development Scotland’s ‘go to’ site on all matters relating to Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships. Awareness training for Careers Transition Partnership staff on all aspects of Apprenticeships in Scotland will be facilitated by SDS’ National Training Programme Team.

Scottish Government update, 2020

Work has continued throughout 2020 and recommendation has now been assessed as fully met.

14

Articulation

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) is in the final stages of completing a National Articulation Database (NAD2), which will enable a deeper analysis of articulation between colleges and universities. SFC is currently working directly with universities on the final stage of Quality Assurance to validate the NAD2 figures to ensure accuracy. This process is on track for completion in early 2019.

Work is also underway to consider how to improve access through the use of data analysis. For example from academic year 2017-18 onwards SFC began collecting data in the college sector about veterans, which is now available and is receiving further analysis. It is anticipated that figures will be low in the early years of collection, until wider awareness-raising and work on Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) is implemented. This will also be carried out through institutional Outcome Agreements.

The SFC has also arranged with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for the inclusion of a field in the 2019-20 HESA Student Return to identify veterans in the university sector. Once that data is gathered and returned, SFC will be able to consider veterans’ representation, success rates, and how many are supported by articulation and other routes such as the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP). This will enable interventions to be put in place through the Outcome Agreement process as required.

Articulation work for the SFC is covered by a SFC, Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland tri-partite post, which supports the work of the National Articulation Forum, as well as being responsible for taking forward the recommendations of the Commission on Widening Access’s final report A Blueprint for Fairness.

The consideration of veterans will be included in the work of the Forum and in upcoming regional articulation discussions with institutions. These discussions will include their work on improving articulation pathways to increase numbers and provide more flexible routes for students.

Scottish Government update, 2020

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has developed a new National Articulation Database, which will enable a deeper analysis of articulation between colleges and universities. The first report was first published on 30 April 2019 and reported on the articulation of college Higher National Certificate (HNC)/Higher National Diploma (HND) students, their movement to Scottish HEIs and the prior academic credit they attain. SFC will use this database to improve access through the use of data analysis, for example from academic year 2017-18 onwards SFC began collecting data in the college sector about veterans, which is now available and is receiving further analysis. Officials anticipate figures will be low in the early years of collection, until wider awareness-raising and work on Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) is implemented. This will also be carried out through institutional Outcome Agreements.

SFC has also arranged with the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) for the inclusion of a field to identify veterans in the university sector. Once that data is gathered and returned, SFC will be able to consider veterans’ representation, success rates, and how many are supported by articulation and other routes such as the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP). This will enable interventions to be put in place through the Outcome Agreement process as required. Articulation work for the SFC was covered by a SFC, Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland temporary tripartite post, which supported the work of the National Articulation Forum between November 2018 and May 2020. The National Articulation Forum published their report in August 2020. This recommendation is also supported by the Scottish Credit & Qualification Framework Partnership (SCQFP) Mapping Project and subsequent development of leaflets and dedicated webpages.

16

Veterans Network/Champions in colleges and universities

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

SFC is supporting Veterans Scotland to work with Universities Scotland, College Development Network, and other key stakeholders to develop a Network of Champions for Further and Higher Education. The Network was launched at an information seminar for colleges and universities, which was held in January 2019 at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). As well as beginning the process of setting up an Armed Forces Champion Network for Education in Scotland, the event addressed the challenges and benefits of having champions to support ex-Armed Forces personnel and veterans. It also highlighted existing work by Edinburgh Napier University and GCU, who have already established Armed Forces Champions within their institutions and hope to lead by example.

The work on Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) under recommendation 15 will also support this Network. It is anticipated that the web pages will provide information on how to become a Champion, as well as further IAG that can be used on institutional webpages

Scottish Government update, 2020

Work has continued throughout 2020 and recommendation has now been assessed as fully met.

17

Parliamentary scrutiny of veterans issues

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.

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Scottish Government update, 2019

There is no longer a Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work. The Veterans Minister now provides an annual autumn update to the Scottish Parliament on progress made against all four reports. A number of SG Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers now have responsibility for delivering against the recommendations.

Scottish Government update, 2020

Work has continued throughout 2020 and recommendation has now been assessed as fully met.

19

Jobs within NHS Scotland

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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Scottish Government update, 2019

NHS Boards are exploring potential involvement in the ‘Step Into Health’ Programme which provides a dedicated pathway for the Armed Forces community to access career opportunities available in the NHS.

NHS National Education for Scotland is also developing its careers website to help map Service leavers’ skills with NHS Jobs.

Scottish Government update, 2020

The NHS Scotland Careers website contains case studies from NHS employees who have previously served in the forces, giving a testimonial of their experience moving from the forces to the NHS. A recent Virtual Insight Day for veterans was well attended and a number were interested in NHS roles – ten candidates are being progressed to temporary contracts. In February 2020, the Chief Medical Officer wrote to the Head of HR within every NHS Scotland Board to highlight the importance and benefit of employing veterans. Although paused by COVID-19, we are building a range of case studies to highlight the spectrum of employment opportunities open to those who served in our forces. Additionally, following a virtual event organised with the Officers Association (Scotland), Scottish Government have been able to offer a number of veterans fixed term appointments, using their skills and experience to help us to respond to the impact of the pandemic.

As we continue through the pandemic, our policy leads will continue to look at careers events where NHS / Scottish Government jobs could be showcased – our recent experience shows that virtual events are equally valuable, so we will continue to pursue these opportunities. Specific, practical, work within local Boards will be resumed when it is appropriate and safe to do so but we will continue to explore opportunities as we move through these unprecedented times. With the involvement of NHS Scotland’s Chief People Officer and the Office of the Chief Executive for NHS Scotland, this work remains a priority.

Scottish Government update, 2021

A cross-sector sub-group, with a wealth of experience and expertise, was established to identify and make links across areas of ongoing work and progress further action on this recommendation. Much of the progress reported below was aided by this collaborative approach.

A short survey was conducted to gain insight on Service leaver and veterans’ perceptions of the NHS as an employer and experiences of recruitment processes. The output has been used to identify the main barriers to recruitment and inform the Scottish Government Health Workforce team’s strategy.

A dedicated NHS Scotland Careers webpage, designed to support veterans and promote the NHS as a post-service career, launched on Armed Forces week 2021. The page includes support for veterans in applying to NHS jobs, guidance on communicating transferrable skills, career case studies from Armed Forces family members and veterans who have transitioned to civilian life and now work in the NHS, information on mapping Armed Forces skills to the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF), and more. The launch of the website was accompanied by social media activity, including publication of career case studies on social media channels.

In conjunction with Skills Development Scotland and the MOD, SCQF are developing an online skills profiling tool specifically for Service leavers which will help veterans identify how their skills translate into language easily understood by civilian employers. Work is ongoing to utilise the skills and talent of the veterans community in the ongoing creation and staffing of National Treatment Centres.

Scottish Government update, 2022

A bespoke project led by NHS Education for Scotland (NES) is being established which will specifically focus on optimising veteran recruitment into the NHS. This is a five year funded programme and will build on the work undertaken to date to make the NHS an employer of choice for the ex-Service community and their families.

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Really encouraging to see high levels of attendance among employers and Service Leavers at the Career Transition Partnership Employment Fair today. It was also a great opportunity to hear an update on changes to the CTP delivery contract. 

It was a pleasure to meet Kat Barrett from Wincanton afterwards, to hear about innovations in employing veterans and ex-offenders.
Really encouraging to see high levels of attendance among employers and Service Leavers at the Career Transition Partnership Employment Fair today. It was also a great opportunity to hear an update on changes to the CTP delivery contract. It was a pleasure to meet Kat Barrett from Wincanton afterwards, to hear about innovations in employing veterans and ex-offenders.
1 day ago
From celebrating #InternationalWomensDay and #CommonwealthDay to recognising the achievements of #veterans in the business world, learn more about my latest activity in my March round-up (link in bio 🔗).
From celebrating #InternationalWomensDay and #CommonwealthDay to recognising the achievements of #veterans in the business world, learn more about my latest activity in my March round-up (link in bio 🔗).
1 week ago
Great to see this new breakfast club set up in Grantown in the Highlands by ex-soldier Mark Strachan has already attracted veterans from surrounding areas. Coming together to share experiences and support each other can have such a positive impact on wellbeing, especially for those in more rural communities.

The breakfast club is available on the third Friday of each month at the Pagoda in Grantown.
Great to see this new breakfast club set up in Grantown in the Highlands by ex-soldier Mark Strachan has already attracted veterans from surrounding areas. Coming together to share experiences and support each other can have such a positive impact on wellbeing, especially for those in more rural communities. The breakfast club is available on the third Friday of each month at the Pagoda in Grantown.
1 week ago
Popped along to St John's Hospital where staff in the Armed Forces Network were sharing a 'NAAFI break'. 

Great to meet veterans in a wide range of NHS Scotland roles from Administration to Engineering and to hear more about their varied paths from the military to our NHS.

#VeteransSupport #VeteransScotland #NAAFIbreak
Popped along to St John's Hospital where staff in the Armed Forces Network were sharing a 'NAAFI break'. Great to meet veterans in a wide range of NHS Scotland roles from Administration to Engineering and to hear more about their varied paths from the military to our NHS. #VeteransSupport #VeteransScotland #NAAFIbreak
2 weeks ago
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