Forces in Mind Trust awards grant to GCU to evaluate a life-changing project

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) scientists have been awarded a grant by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) military charity to evaluate a potentially life-changing employment training project for injured veterans in Scotland.

Researchers from the School of Health and Life Sciences and the Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health will collaborate to evaluate a new programme aimed at supporting injured veterans to find rewarding work after leaving the Armed Forces.

The project is being run by Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (SBMC), a social enterprise of Royal British Legion Industries in Renfrewshire offering a range of employment and volunteer opportunities in the manufacturing sector to Scottish ex-Service personnel, particularly those who experience physical or psychological challenges as a result of their service.

SBMC have received funding from the FiMT to take on a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) trainer and boost the vocational skill development and employability support offered by SBMC.

The vocational trainer will lead on the delivery of recognised SVQ qualifications in meaningful occupations such as sign-making, warehousing and performing manufacturing operations, providing those ex-service personnel participating in the programme with accredited skills.

The GCU research team will conduct an independent evaluation examining the impact of attaining a recognised SVQ level of qualification on long-term job prospects, confidence levels, work readiness, employability and on mental health.

The team is led by Occupational Therapy lecturer Shirley Morrison-Glancy, from the Department of Occupational Therapy, Human Nutrition and Dietetics; Dr Philippa Dall, Senior Research Fellow, Department of Physiotherapy; and Artur Steiner, Professor in Social Entrepreneurship and Community Development, Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health.

In addition, a part-time researcher responsible for day-to day data collection and data analysis will be based in the Yunus Centre.

Shirley Morrison-Glancy, project lead and Lecturer in Occupational Therapy at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “The research team at GCU are absolutely delighted to be involved in such a vitally important project. The programme that Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company is proposing, enabling our valued ex-service personnel to gain accredited skills, has the potential to be of great benefit both socially and economically to many veterans and their families. We are hopeful that our evaluation will enhance the evidence base and support a widened access in the long-term.”

GCU Veterans and Armed Forces Champion, Jim Castle, said he was delighted that GCU was collaborating to help change the lives of veterans and their families.

He added: “I commend the work that is being done by Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company. I have had the pleasure of seeing their facilities and the opportunity to meet the excellent staff and the fine servicemen and women who benefit.  Their work fits very nicely into GCU’s Common Good agenda. It came as no surprise to me that Shirley and her team are collaborating and I wish them well in this important joint venture.”

Charlie Wallace, Scottish Veterans Commissioner, said: “Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company has quickly become a stand-out example of social enterprise in Scotland and I was delighted to hear their news. This important and timely FiMT award will enable SBMC to take the next step in its journey, by employing an on-site SQA approved trainer to deliver recognised qualifications and working with Glasgow Caledonian University to assess and evidence the impact of their innovative model.”

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