By Colonel Sandy Fitzpatrick, Deputy Commander 51st Infantry Brigade

THE Army in Scotland is an integral part the Scottish community. We live in, work in and recruit from the community. We serve Scottish communities and the people of the United Kingdom. Over 600 skilled personnel leave the Army each year at the end of their careers; they are team players, leaders, ethical decision makers and they have a well-developed work ethic.

We know the high quality of military qualifications, along with the many other skills veterans offer employers, such as self-discipline and team work, makes them positive and responsible citizens and employees.

However, some skills are more easily transferable than others. While accredited apprenticeships and trades are easily understood, it is non-trade qualifications in areas like leadership that have been traditionally harder to accredit against local authority frameworks.

Now that is about to change, thanks to a pilot project by the Scottish Credit Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Partnership. For the first time, British Army Infantry qualifications have been mapped to their equivalent SCQF level, used by learners, employers, colleges and universities in Scotland.

The project followed a recommendation from the Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s report on Employability and Education. With Scottish Government support, it was funded by the Scottish Funding Council to demonstrate how well the skills and trades acquired in the military enable service personnel to transition to civilian employment and academic attainment.

Last week Scottish Government Veterans Minister Graeme Dey launched this new resource at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh. During the visit Mr Dey got a taste for the quality and diversity of British Army infantry qualifications, meeting soldiers completing the Junior (Corporal) Command Leadership and Management at the barracks.

The result of this project is that qualifications like that can now be mapped against the SCQF. It means these soldiers can articulate how their infantry qualifications stack up against civilian qualifications when applying for jobs or further study at college and university.

At the same time, it is also an aide for retention in the military, as service members can now clearly see the value of the qualifications they’re earning, which will encourage them to attain more skills and be an even more valuable contributor when they leave.

Ultimately this project will greatly improve soldiers’ transition from military to civilian life and better demonstrate the high-quality training and qualifications provided to the infantry of the British Army.

While it has been focused on infantry qualifications, the SCQFP has also been working with the Ministry of Defence to review its qualification matrices for all three of the Armed Services and is now seeking to expand this mapping project to all of the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

A career in the military will give you skills for life. We provide a means to access some of the best training and qualifications available. All the Army’s initial training establishments have the highest OFSTED rating. Service personnel can gain qualifications ranging from SVQ/NVQ to PhD for all ranks throughout their careers.

This recognition of British Army Infantry qualifications is just the first step of an important journey to help our service leavers and veterans demonstrate just how valuable they are to society, their community and prospective employers across Scotland.