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Veterans, ex-armed forces and their families

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This page provides information, advice and guidance to veterans, ex-armed forces and their families on the support and funding options available for those who may wish to study at a Scottish college or university. It also outlines how colleges and universities can join the newly established HE:FE Veterans Champion’s Network.

Responding to the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s report, The Veterans Community – Employability, Skills and Learning, SFC established the Armed Forces and Veterans Community Group (AFVCG) with members from colleges, universities, Scottish Government, SAAS, Veterans Scotland, Universities Scotland and College Development Network, to take forward specific recommendations. The AFVCG works across Scotland to support institutions in their engagement with veterans and their families. The AFVCG also support the ADVANCE Network, which provides a single point of contact in each of Scotland’s institutions for veterans, armed forces and thier families.

The AFVCG also contributes to the the annual report by the Veterans Minister and to Scottish Government reports, the most recent annual report from the Scottish Government was published in October 2023.

Veterans & Armed Forces Champions


The ADVANCE Network (previously known as the HE:FE Veterans Champion’s Network) was launched at the January 2019 Gathering held at Glasgow Caledonian University. The network was renamed in 2022 to reflect the ongoing work and support the network provides.

Vision of ADVANCE Network

The vision is for each university and college in Scotland to have a dedicated Veterans & Armed Forces Champion (VAFC) within their institution, responsible for establishing and leading a small team of knowledgeable individuals (familiar with the Armed Forces community). There are no definitive numbers, other than a minimum of two; it is for the institution to decide in light of their resources, but as a guide please refer to the VAFC team guide.

Armed Forces Covenant (AFC)

The purpose is clear and straightforward. Each University and College is encouraged to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant. This demonstrates the institutions’ commitment to ensuring those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. If each university and college in Scotland signs the Covenant this is presenting a clear education sector message to the Armed Forces community that the sector cares. The sector is not creating advantage but removing disadvantage. (Selection of the VAFC is usually part of this process, although there are examples of the AFC being signed ahead of VAFC appointment).

Role of the VAFC


  • Can be any member of staff who demonstrates a passion for supporting the Veterans and Armed Forces community. The VAFC should have a desire to ensure the institution is working towards fulfilling the pledges they agreed to when signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
  • Will be the main point of contact for the institution and be responsible for ensuring questions/enquiries are dealt with, either directly or redirected to the most relevant team and/or directed to University staff such as Programme Leads/Directors. (The VAFC should always enter into initial dialogue with the enquirer before redirection).
  • Will be responsible for:
    • Engagement across the Community. This can be via the military centres local to the institution; through the 3rd sector organisations; local government; partner colleges; RFCA; within your institution; and others.
    • Establishing promotion of the institutions work, such as via a micro website within the institution’s web page. This will include regular liaison with the stakeholders within the institution.
    • Preparation and dissemination of guidance to existing and new staff.
    • Identifying Veterans, Reservists, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, within both the staff and student body.

The above are what might be considered as the primary roles. It is likely that other roles will develop organically according to the need of the Community and your institution.

VAFC team guide

Ideally the team in each institution will include a representative from each of the following areas, (but not exclusively limited to these groups):

  • Student Recruitment – be familiar with the Armed Forces community and transition process from military to civilian life and the qualification learning pathway (SCQF model). Willing to have 1:1 meeting with potential student’s from the armed forces community to explore areas of prior learning and experience.
  • Widening Participation – be familiar with the Armed Forces community and transition process from military to civilian life and the qualification learning pathway (SCQF model). Willing to have 1:1 meeting with potential student’s from the armed forces community to explore areas of prior learning and experience.
  • HR – be familiar with the Armed Forces community and transition process from military to civilian life and willing to have 1:1 meeting with potential candidate from the armed forces community to explore areas of prior learning and experience and relevance for the jobs available.

Community Engagement – be familiar with the Armed Forces community and open to exploring areas of possible collaboration.

Role of the ADVANCE Network

ADVANCE is intended to be a supporting network. You all are/will be members. Due to the extensive knowledge and practice in the field, this will be led by the VAFCs from GCU and ENU namely:

Please use both contacts as points of reference for any queries.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework


The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) received additional funding from SFC to manage and lead a project on mapping learning pathways and accrediting prior learning for service leavers and veterans.

This work provided support on recognition for prior learning and articulation through mapping existing qualifications against the SCQF, as well as developing advice and guidance materials designed specifically for the veterans and ex-service community.

SCQFP has a dedicated page on support for Veterans, which includes a leaflet on how infantry qualifications map onto the SCQF.

Scottish Military Skills and Qualifications Discovery Tool

This unique tool supports service personnel, leavers and veterans in their career pathways beyond military service. Through recognising and translating skills, experience and qualifications gained during service into language more easily understood by learning institutions and employers outside the armed forces, this tool will support ex-military personnel to gain employment or move into further learning. It also allows serving personnel to get a better understanding of the skills and qualifications they are gaining in order to plan their careers both inside and outside the armed forces.

The SCQF Partnership, working together with the Ministry of Defence and Skills Development Scotland, and funded by the Scottish Government and SFC, have developed this tool within Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work website. It forms part of a suite of SCQF Partnership projects to promote and extend recognition of prior learning and skills across our education and employment landscape.

Information, advice, guidance and support

Welcome to Scotland: a guide for service personnel and their families moving to Scotland

The guide Welcome to Scotland: a guide for service personnel and their families moving to Scotland provides practical information to service personnel and their families on topics such as housing, education, healthcare and employment.

Scottish Veterans Commissioner

The Scottish Veterans Commissioner (SVC) works to improve the lives and opportunities of the veterans community in Scotland by engaging with members of the ex-Service community, as well as the public, private and voluntary organisations that represent them.

Veterans Scotland

Veterans Scotland’s aim is to establish cooperation and coordination between Veterans organisations in Scotland, to act as a focal point for all matters concerning the ex-service community within Scotland and to represent those matters to Government at all levels.

Forces in Mind Trust – toolkit development for University and College Champions.

Scottish Government Safer Communities Directorate

The Veterans Employability Strategic Group sits in this Scottish Government Directorate.

SCiP Alliance

The SCiP Alliance brings people together to improve educational outcomes for children from military families so they can make informed and confident transitions through further and higher education into thriving adult lives and careers.


UCAS has worked with the SCiP Alliance to create resources for students writing personal statements, schools and colleges supporting service children, and more recently, a guide for HE admissions departments.

With regard to the Commission on Widening Access, UCAS has also produced information about entry requirements in Scotland, created in consultation with the Universities Scotland language sub-group.

Scottish Government

The Scottish Government has published Support for veterans and the armed forces community, which outlines support for the veterans and Armed Forces Community. It highlights the work from across the public sector in the past year over a range of themes including health, housing, employability and education.

Education and training

Skills Development Scotland

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is Scotland’s National Careers Service delivering, among other things, Careers Information and Advice Services. They work with Scotland’s Colleges and Universities, and are currently piloting activity on the provision of impartial careers advice to transitioning personnel.

SDS has a Veterans Champion in each of its five regional areas and the My World of Work Support for Armed Forces leavers and veterans page was developed with Veterans Scotland.

Careers Transition Partnership

Careers Transition Partnership (CTP) is the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement. The CTP provides resettlement services for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines. Regardless of time served, all members of the Armed Forces can benefit from CTP support when leaving Service.

Student Awards Agency Scotland

The Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) is an agency of the Scottish Government giving financial support to eligible students doing a course of higher education in the UK. They receive over 150,000 applications annually from undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as applications for the Disabled Student Allowance, NHS Bursary Scheme and Part-time Fee Grant. Their website provides information on all types of student funding available and allows you to apply for your financial support.


There are special arrangements for military personnel and their families who may be temporarily absent from Scotland for periods of time due to being posted abroad or posted elsewhere in the UK. In most instances they should apply for support to the country in the UK in which the family member in the military was ordinarily resident when they joined up.

See the latest Further Education Residency guidance.

College Development Network

The College Development Network (CDN) leads on innovation, creating CPD opportunities and sharing best practice.

Universities Scotland

Universities Scotland is a membership organisation working for the Principals and Directors of Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions. It develops higher education policy and campaign on issues where its members have a shared interest.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) helps people of all ages and circumstances to access the education and training that is appropriate to them over their lifetime. It can help you plan your learning and develop progression routes to follow, whatever your situation may be.

Scottish Funding Council

Our funding enables Scotland’s colleges and universities to provide life-changing opportunities for over half a million people. Our work in is bringing colleges and universities together in new ways and providing more people with more routes into learning and skills.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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