By Yasmin Bray
Some of the speakers at the event in Glasgow include HQ Scotland Colonel Sandy Fitzpatrick, MSPs Annie Wells and Maurice Corry, Deputy Commander of 51 Infantry Brigade and Scottish Veterans Commissioner Colonel Charlie Wallace.
GCU and ENU are both part of the Armed Forces Covenant which is a nation’s commitment in making sure veterans are treated fairly in society and the event is part of the GCU-HM Forces Learning Partnership, enabling veterans to change their career or exceed in their current job.
There are over 237,000 veterans in Scotland and some are unemployed due to inequality and discrimination from employers.
Jim Castle, GCU’s Veterans and Armed Forces champion said that “They have a huge range of transferable skills, which combined with education, will maximise their potential and make them highly employable and major assets to society and the economy”.
Even though the unemployment rate for veterans has fallen in the last year, a lot more has to be done to combat this problem, starting with spreading awareness within universities and colleges.
GCU and ENU already hold charity events and fundraisers to raise money in aid of Help For Heroes, but this is the first time the universities have linked together to hold an even bigger event, in hope that other campuses follow their lead.
Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice Chancellor of ENU, said “Here at ENU we have family members of ex-military personnel, so not only do we want to help our own students, we want to use our platform to reach out and educate businesses that employing veterans is a necessity that will have extreme benefits and values for employers too.”
By employing veterans, not only will their financial circumstances improve, but their mental health will improve incredibly.
Professor Thanos Karatzias, mental health professor at ENU, has worked first hand with veterans and their psychological trauma and said that “apart from PTSD, a huge problem that veterans face after serving their country is a loss of confidence and sense of not knowing where they belong or what they should do. From speaking with them and their families throughout my clinical career, finding a job and a reason to get up every morning and put their incredible skills into a workplace would increase their positivity and improve the mental health of everyone involved dramatically.”
Veteran Alan Daly, who is now a lifeguard in his local leisure centre, said that “there are schemes and charities available that not everybody is aware of, such as Community Jobs Scotland and Career Transition Partnership that have helped many armed forces leavers like myself. Without them I don’t think I’d be where I am today and events like this is a brilliant way to encourage awareness and acceptance of veterans within Scotland.”
The event will take place in Glasgow Caledonian University campus on Tuesday 15th January.