Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) joined eight other universities from the East Midlands to celebrate the updating of their Armed Forces Covenants in a joint ceremony held at the University of Leicester last week. The revised agreements include new, clear-cut promises to support Armed Forces personnel.

Katy Nevitt, Armed Forces Lead at BGU, was signing on behalf of the University and she explained why BGU viewed the covenant as such an important commitment:

“BGU were proud to attend the re-signing of the Armed Forces Covenant.  This was a significant step for the University in cementing its commitment to support Armed Forces personnel, their families and Veterans within the HE sector.”

“These Covenant pledges will seek to recognise the value of what members of the Armed Forces can bring, readily equipped with the skills and vast knowledge which we need to recruit from. The Armed Forces community will teach and inspire not only our students, but our workforce of tomorrow.”

The event also marked the achievement of 500 Armed Forces Covenant signatories in the region by East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (East Midlands RFCA).

The ceremony was attended by Chief of Defence People (CDP), Lieutenant General Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE, who commented:

“I am delighted to see these institutions from the East Midlands higher education sector reaffirming their Armed Forces Covenant commitments.  In particular the commitment to encourage students to become Reservists, and paid leave for existing Reservists to undertake their annual training commitments is very welcome, and sets a potent example for peer organisations in the education sector.”

Universities are uniquely placed to support the education and training of the Armed Forces community. As a group, the universities involved in the signing have committed to collaborate in research to the benefit of the Armed Forces community in areas such as social care, sports science and the justice system.

They will also consider how they can improve and facilitate access to higher education for service leavers, Reserves and military families.

Some further specific pledges include appointing an Armed Forces Champion, and registering with the Career Transition Partnership to establish a specific pathway to employment for service leavers. They also plan to provide work placement opportunities and supporting the accreditation of military training.

The support will extend to helping service spouses and partners to find jobs, through initiatives such as registering with the Forces Families Jobs Employment platform.

There are also currently over 250 Officer Cadet Students in the Officer Training Corps across the East Midlands universities, and this will continue to be supported.

John Wilson OBE DL, Director of Employer Engagement at East Midlands RFCA, added:

“We are really thrilled to have this significant group re-signing take place, demonstrating the friendly and supportive dialogue between all the East Midlands universities.

“The Armed Forces Covenant is there to ensure that Armed Forces personnel are not disadvantaged by the commitment they make to their defence careers, and respected bodies like the universities can lead by example and best practice.”

The Covenant is part of a number of initiatives at BGU, including working with the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme, to support staff and students from all backgrounds, you can find more information on all of them on our website.

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