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Universities Minister applauds UCLan’s efforts to support armed forces community

Universities Minister applauds UCLan’s efforts to support armed forces community Banner Image

University held up as example of good practice as Government calls for universities to do more to support ex-military and their families

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been commended by Universities Minister Chris Skidmore MP for the work it does to support the armed forces community.

The accolade comes as the Government today urged universities to do more to support ex-service personnel and the children of servicemen and women who have lost their lives during duty.

In a joint letter to all UK universities, the Universities Minister and Defence Minister have called on institutions to step up and support those that have sacrificed the most, by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.  Universities which have already signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant are leading the way with support for military personnel and their families, pledging to support those who wish to serve in the armed forces as Reservists, and offering flexible leave before or after deployment to personnel and their partners.

UCLan signed up to the Covenant in 2017 and last year won an Armed Forces Covenant Silver award and national acclaim for helping service members resettle. It has supported ex-service personnel and their families through the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services (CMVES), established in 2015, which provides a range of services from settling people into university, course funding, suitable training, careers advice and making the step into civilian life. CMVES helps more veterans settle and enter higher education that any other scheme in the North West.

The Government call comes as the Department of Education confirms £5 million in continued funding for higher education schemes in England for the armed forces. The Service Leavers Scheme pays the tuition fees for ex-service personnel who have not studied higher education before, and the Armed Forces Bereavement Scheme provides university scholarships for children of those killed in the line of duty.

I think it's important that universities provide support to the armed forces community in all aspects of education, not just because it's invaluable to the individual but also because of the value they bring to the university.

Chris Skidmore said: “I am pleased to see institutions like the University of Central Lancashire honouring its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant through the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services, which has achieved national acclaim for helping service members resettle and providing them with specialist advice on course funding, suitable training and civilian careers.

“We want everyone with the talent and potential, no matter their circumstances or background, to go on to university and thrive.

“The scholarships offered by these two crucial higher education schemes empower those who have fought for our country, or whose parents have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

Jennifer Stone, 36, is in her final year of a mental health nursing degree at UCLan, after serving for 14 years in the army. She works as an engagement and outreach officer for services leavers at the CMVES alongside her studies.

She said: “I have had a huge amount of support through both CMVES and UCLan during my three-year course.  I was assisted with my application, given information on funding and have had staff that are interested in my background and the value I can add to discussions during lectures.  

“I think it's important that universities provide support to the armed forces community in all aspects of education, not just because it's invaluable to the individual but also because of the value they bring to the university.”

The University has also helped to launch the Lancashire Armed Forces Hub, which helps councils, charities and other organisations in Lancashire who serve the armed forces community. It works with partners to provide job opportunities, health and housing services, employment, education and training for the armed forces community in addition to support for welfare concerns.

Lyndsey Boardman | 18 April 2019