01   Transferring qualifications

It can be difficult to transfer qualifications between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for some professions. For example, if you qualified as a teacher in England on an employment-based programme, such as the Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP), you are not considered ‘fully qualified’ by the Scottish system. Also, if you qualified as a teacher in Scotland, you will not be awarded the Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) which is required to teach in England and Wales – there are various other examples of where this is difficult.

This chart can be useful to help you work out what your qualifications would equate to in other nations.

For non-UK families who have qualified in their home nation, you can apply to UK ENIC, the UK National Information Centre for the recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills, for a Statement of Comparability to establish your level of study with the UK system.

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02   Forces Families Jobs

There is a wide variety of training providers on Forces Families Jobs, who offer a huge selection of training opportunities available to military families. Many of the courses are free of charge, whilst others are discounted for learners from the military community. These opportunities are available for spouses, partners and adult family members of currently serving military personnel.

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03   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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04   FREE social media course for spouses/partners

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? To apply or find more information, visit or join the Facebook group.

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05   Clarification for students overseas

AFF has clarified with UCAS how students living overseas should apply to university in the UK. They gave the following advice:

In the application, under ‘Personal details’ there are a few fields to be aware of:

  • Postal address – give the BFPO address or international (whichever is most appropriate).
  • Directly beneath this, you should select that your permanent home is in the UK.

Most important are these two categories a bit further down:

  • Nationality – here, you should state that you are a UK national.
  • Residential Category – state that you are a UK citizen and state the country in which you are currently living.

If the universities that you are applying to have any queries with this, then they will be able to contact you directly to confirm that you are overseas due to a military posting.

It is also recommended that you state that you are from a military family in your personal statement and ask your chosen referee to state this in their reference too.

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06   Scottish funding for university

If your soldier lived in Scotland when they joined the Army, a spouse or dependent child should apply to the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) for funding. This applies regardless of whether they are currently living in the UK or abroad; and where they want to study in the UK.

They may be eligible for free tuition fees if choosing to study in Scotland (subject to eligibility criteria).

However, as Scottish university fees are significantly lower than those of the other home nations for Scottish students, the offer from SAAS is lower than that of other funding streams, so if you choose to study at a university outside of Scotland, then the cost of your fees would not be met.

We are working on various issues with the other Families Federations and Covenant team on issues regarding student finance across the devolved administrations, but it is important that families understand that the financial offer is very different when deciding where to look for university provision.

If you have any questions, email or see the following:

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07   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 worked 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 Supporting the Unsung Hero 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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08   Improved access to student loans for Army spouses and partners: an AFF win

As of 1 August 2017, Army families posted overseas who wish to undertake a qualifying UK based university or college course can access a loan via Student Finance England. This applies to both full and part time courses, and you no longer need to be in the UK for the first day of the course to qualify.

An AFF win

After much joint working with the Department for Business and Innovation, AFF was proud to announce this win.

Unfortunately, this does not apply to those from the devolved nations. To be eligible, you must qualify for the English student support package.

Putting families first

AFF continues to prioritise spousal employment and training, and this includes those posted overseas who sometimes cannot work and so choose to undertake a course during that time.

Find out more

For more information and full eligibility criteria, visit

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09   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:

  • Employment Support 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’s Award 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 exists to assist in funding the education of dependants 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:
  • The Lord Kitchener National Memorial Fund provides scholarships of £1,500 to children of serving or retired UK Armed Forces personnel aged 17-21. Applicants should apply before they start their first degree at a UK university. The selection process is by competition and approximately 21 scholarships are awarded each year.
  • NHS Apprenticeships – Apprenticeships offer an alternative route into hundreds of different careers within the NHS, through a mixture of on-the-job and classroom learning.
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10   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
The Association of Distance Learning Colleges
Interactive Design Institute

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