'Soldiers will emerge from service with a disposition for learning' - Further - Education - The Independent

'Soldiers will emerge from service with a disposition for learning'

A message from Martin Doel at the Association of Colleges

The Government's recent announcement of new support for the armed forces and their families included an increase in compensation and priority access to social housing for injured personnel as well as a valuable education entitlement – troops with at least six years of service will qualify for free college or university education.

The measures, contained in the summer's Armed Forces Command Paper, mean that Government will pay the tuition fees for army staff taking GCSEs, A-levels, degrees or other courses. (These benefits are in addition to new army bursaries, which will give young people £1,000 a year to study at college, with an additional £1,000 if they complete basic military training.)

At the moment, those serving in the armed forces may have tuition fees fully or partially paid for some courses, and the incentives are meant for retaining personnel. The new package can also be taken after they have left service.

As the former director of training and education at the Ministry of Defence, I have a personal interest in this story – not least because I was part of the team working on the Command Paper. As a citizen I am pleased to see this project reach fruition; it recognises the debt that the nation owes to those who put their lives on the line on our behalf. And from the point of view of the head of the Association of Colleges, there's a third reason to celebrate. Colleges are very well placed to respond to the extra demand that the Command Paper is likely to stimulate. The range of education that they provide, from basic skills courses to degrees, makes them ideal training partners. Colleges across the country, from Greenwich to Gloucester and Newcastle to north-west Kent, already provide pre-entry public services courses for the armed services and others supply post-entry training directly to the MoD.

There's more than one mutual benefit available from a strengthened relationship between colleges and our service personnel. There is a wealth of experience and skills among armed forces instructors, all of whom will hold a certificate in teaching in the lifelong learning sector; they will represent an ideal talent pool for the further education lecturers of the future.

Of course, the skills developed in some posts – such as logistics, vehicle technicians and electrical engineers – are more immediately transferable to civilian life and the job market than others, such as armaments, bomb disposal and photographic interpretation. But all service personnel will have developed generic skills that will be relevant to employers.

Perhaps the most important of these, and one which is reinforced by the Command Paper, is that they will have come from a learning organisation and will be aiming to be lifelong learners. They will emerge from their service with a disposition towards learning and a desire to build on the skills they have learnt in post.

Whatever the rank or former service, colleges are well placed to respond to meet the needs of these talented, able and motivated people.

The author is chief executive of the Association of Colleges

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skies as 007 for first time
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Steven Gerrard celebrates after his late winner
champions leagueGerrard and Balotelli ensure victory
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

PE Teacher (Female)

Negotiable: Randstad Education Bristol: Teacher of Girls PE for Wiltshire scho...

Head of Science Required

Competitive & Flexible: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobRandstad Educatio...

KS1 Teacher

£105 - £120 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Randsta...

Primary Supply Teacher's Urgently Required in Hull and Grimsby

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We are looking for KS1 & KS2...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week