Service children, veterans and spouses or partners of UK Armed Forces personnel looking to apply to university or college can now find a 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.Back to top
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:
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.Back to top
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 on email@example.com.Back to top
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.
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 aws-restart.comBack to top
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.Back to top
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
Last year, we were proud to publicise this AFF win, announced by the Universities Minister Jo Johnson, after much lobbying and joint working with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
The change applies to new students starting a distance learning course in 2017/18 and also to those who have already started a distance learning course before and who are continuing that course in 2017/18.
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 www.gov.uk/student-finance/who-qualifies
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:
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 the other home nations, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or see the following:Back to top
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 www.open.ac.uk/learning/access or speak to AFF’s Employment & Training Specialist on 0779 9045955 or email email@example.com.Back to top
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.