01   New UCAS advice for students from an Armed Forces background

Service children, veterans and spouses or partners of UK Armed Forces personnel looking to apply to university or college can now find new information and advice page from UCAS on its website.

The new advice has been produced following collaboration between the MOD, UCAS and the Service Children’s Progression Alliance. 

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02   New FREE social media course for spouses/partners coming soon!

BFBS is giving military spouses and partners the chance to up-skill in social media marketing techniques absolutely free.

With funding from the Armed Forces Covenant fund, they will deliver the course through a combination of online learning, video meetings and social media over 12 weeks.

During the course you’ll learn about:

  • the workings of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn’s algorithms, along with effective strategies to make content stand out
  • how to plan, implement and evaluate social media campaigns
  • techniques to grow and engage an audience, moderate comments and discussions and how to deal with difficult situations
  • how to take truly show-stopping images and create professional social media videos using your phone
  • paid-for advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • how to use each of the platform’s built-in analytics tools

You’ll also receive ongoing advice on careers in social media, content or campaigns, and support and feedback from experts on anything related to social media.

Want to take part? Sign up to their newsletter at or join the Facebook group to be in the know when applications open in May 2019.

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03   Clarification for students overseas

UCAS online application: are you based overseas and unsure what to put as your ‘area of permanent residence’?

AFF has gained clarification from UCAS on your behalf, who’ve stated: “If an applicant selects that their permanent home is in the UK, they will be asked to choose an Area of Permanent Residence from a drop-down list of counties and metropolitan areas. We would advise that the student enters the last UK area where they were resident on a long-term basis.

“UCAS uses answers to this question for statistical purposes only. Applicants for universities in Scotland should be aware that Scottish universities may use answers to this question to make an initial judgement about fee status. Fees and funding for Scottish resident students applying to Scottish universities are very different to fees and funding for students coming from the rest of the UK.”

Talk to us

If you are experiencing difficulties with this and want to know more, contact our Employment & Training Specialist Laura on

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04   Training and career opportunities for military community

Covenant signatory Amazon Web Services (AWS) have pledged support for the military community, including military spouses, with the launch of their AWS re:Start programme, which aims to provide training and potential employment opportunities in computing technology.

Free training

Their four-week training course focuses on cloud computing and networks; no previous IT, cloud computing or network experience is required. Training is provided by QA, AWS’s training partner, free of charge – participants will simply need to fund their own accommodation and travel.

Support from employers

A number of companies, including Amazon, EDF Energy and Tesco Bank, have already agreed to support the programme by offering work placements to those completing the courses, depending on performance and potential. Participants may also wish to carry on training to achieve AWS Associate level certification.

For more information, or to register your interest, visit

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05   AFF working to increase spousal access to training

AFF is concerned that spouses can face barriers when pursuing further education (FE) and training. These barriers include frequent postings, living in remote locations, overseas postings, poor access to childcare, and lack of funding (especially where there is no second income in the family).

We are working to increase spouse access to FE and training because we recognise this will open up more employment opportunities. A second income is crucial at a time when the Army is encouraging home ownership.

We are currently working with the MOD, the Armed Forces Covenant Team, Defence Relationship Management and Service charities to look at opportunities for training for spouses. We have already successfully lobbied for retention of SFA if spouses are in the middle of further/higher education courses, where they had a reasonable expectation of completing the course before their soldier was posted.

The Armed Forces Covenant has recognised that access to training is very important for spouses. This has resulted in initiatives such as the RBLI’s employability courses becoming nationally available for spouses and also the University of Wolverhampton offering dedicated business start-up courses for spouses and dependants. AFF is aware that more opportunities are being developed and we will update families as soon as they become available.

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06   Information on access and funding for adult education and training

The Government and some Service and ex-Service organisations also offer financial assistance to serving and ex-Services personnel and members of their families to support a course of study or training. This may include assistance with the added costs and expenses associated with studying.

Good places to start are:

  • EmploymentSupport Grant Scheme – Employment Support Grant Scheme is a Legion welfare scheme funded by the annual poppy appeal. It is specifically designed to help low skilled and unemployed Legion beneficiaries with assistance to achieve a sustainable employment outcome.
  • President’sAward Scheme – Women’s Section President’s Award Scheme provides educational sponsorship by way of educational grants and scholarships to spouses of non-commissioned officers, both serving and ex-serving Armed Forces personnel. Assistance is awarded to those seeking first degrees, and grants are awarded towards re-training programmes, books, travel costs and other related costs.
  • The National Careers Service website provides careers advice and information on a wide range of jobs, training course resources and funding.
  • Information on apprenticeships – some over-25 places available
  • – Adult learners can apply for grants and bursaries to help pay for courses and training. You usually don’t have to pay this money back e.g. NHS bursaries for nurse training.
  • Opportunities for OU funding
  • Armed Forces Children’s Education Trust (formerly The Royal School Hampstead Trust) exists to assist in funding the education of dependents of servicemen and women, both currently serving and retired. Grants are available to those up to the age of 25.
  • You may find that your situation meets the criteria for grants and scholarships from one of the institutions on this website:
  • Turn2us –
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07   Access to Success Route

Are you interested in university study but not sure whether you have the study skills or the funds to have a try? You may want to consider the Access to Success Route, The Open University’s unique and low-cost entry route to further study. If you live in England and have an annual household income of less than £25,000, you may be successful in gaining a place. Visit or speak to AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist on 0779 9045955 or email

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08   Distance learning

If you are considering taking a distance learning course why not look at the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council who accredit distance learning providers.

Open University  –  Home Study  –  Interactive Design Institute

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