A programme offering war veterans a route into education and employment has been adopted by the majority of universities and colleges.
HE:FE Veterans Champion’s Network was launched last year by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Edinburgh Napier University (ENU).
Since then, 90% of Scottish universities and 70% of further education colleges have signed up, pledging to ensure armed forces personnel and their families are treated fairly and to appoint an individual to champion their cause.
At an event on Monday in Edinburgh City Chambers programme leaders will look at how to improve the scheme with help from the MOD and Scottish Government.
Army veteran Ernest Baah, a student on GCA’s BA (Hons) International Business and Marketing course, served on the frontline in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 41-year-old, originally from Ghana and now living in Glasgow, served a total of 12 years and received a Commanding Officer Commendation for bravery.
He suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and still has flashbacks to the battlefield.
He said: “GCU has really embraced the veterans’ community and is at the forefront of supporting veterans and their families to make a fresh start.”
Jim Castle, GCU Veterans and Armed Forces Champion and HE:FE Veterans Champion’s Network chairman, said: “We have made fantastic progress in a year. Our aim was to get everyone in the higher and further education sector signed up to the network, the covenant and at least one person in place within their organisation to become a Veterans and Armed Forces Champion.”
Scottish Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace said he wanted veterans to secure “meaningful” jobs that are “beneficial” for all, rather than settling for “whatever job they can get”.
He added: “While obtaining additional qualifications can improve circumstances and prospects, it is not a path currently taken by many veterans.
“As well as the positive impact on individuals and their families, the potential value to the Scottish labour market is significant.”
Jim Wilson, general secretary of Veterans Scotland, which represents the interests of more than 80 service charities, said: “The opportunities presented by colleges and universities are attractive to many ex-service personnel.
“I am delighted to be part of this important initiative which is a clear demonstration of the support that is given to our servicemen and women and their families, in particular as they transition to civilian life.”