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Organisations learning together to support ex-military in Colchester

Date issued: 1 February 2018

On 1 February, staff from Colchester Borough Council and other organisations took part in a one-day course at Rowan House in Sheepen Road, Colchester, to learn about issues faced by military personnel who are transitioning into the civilian workforce.

Organised by Colchester Borough Council and provided by Nick Wood, Education and Development Lead at York St John University, the 'Military Human' course aimed to improve attendees' understanding of veterans and ways to help them access public and commercial services more easily.

The morning session 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 considerations to have in mind 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. Impact reports by York St John University show that the increased understanding that results from the training has brought about an 85% improvement in the delivery of services to veterans.

Cllr Paul Smith, Leader of the Council, said: "Colchester Borough Council takes its duties to service people seriously. The Military Human course, along with our other activities to support the Armed Forces community in the town, aims to bring about practical improvements in the services we provide to veterans.

"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."

Further information on the support offered by the Council to current and former Armed Forces members can be found at