Course aims to support return to ‘Civvy Street’

Organisations from across Colchester have worked together to understand issues faced by military personnel on leaving the armed services.

Staff from a number of organisations took part in the ‘Military Human’  session.  The course, provided by Nick Wood, Education and Development Lead at York St John University, aimed to improve attendees’ understanding of veterans and ways to help them access public and commercial services more easily.

The morning session, organised by Colchester Borough Council, gave an insight into the military experience, covering the structure, values and lifestyle of Armed Forces members, including reservists.

In the afternoon, attendees learned about the impact of these factors on life after leaving the forces. This included the possibility of culture shock, access to healthcare and things to consider when working with veterans and members of the military.

After the training, attendees were provided with toolkits and suggestions to take to their workplaces and use to bring about practical changes to services.

The Military Human course has so far been provided to over 1,200 staff of various organisations across the country.

Cllr Paul Smith (Lib), Leader of the Council, said: “I am pleased to see that take-up for the course was so high and that our commitment to ensuring members of the military are not disadvantaged is clearly shared by other public bodies and businesses in Colchester.”

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Caldwell, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “Service-leavers make a huge contribution to the nation’s prosperity through the skills and mindset they bring to civilian employers, but it can prove difficult for some to make the transition out of military life.

“I welcome the efforts of the public sector and business community in Colchester to build their understanding of the challenges that service leavers can face and how they can adapt to support them, which will lead to better outcomes for all.”

Since 1999, Colchester Garrison has been the home of 16 Air Assault Brigades, the British Army’s airborne rapid reaction force, specially trained and equipped to deploy by parachute, helicopter and air landing Companies.

Further information can be found through the Royal British Legion’s employability programme ‘Civvy Street’ which offers help and support for the Service community in civilian life.