BNU receives Ministry of Defence’s Gold Award for outstanding support for veterans
Buckinghamshire New University (BNU) is amongst 140 employers nationwide to receive the prestigious ‘Gold Award’ from the Ministry of Defence. The award celebrates the University’s outstanding support for those who serve, veterans and their families and is recognised as the ‘highest badge of honour’.
The University’s focus is to develop career-ready graduates and supporting military students, led by employed veterans and reservists, is a key element of that focus. BNU is a committed supporter of military and veteran employability, and of the families of service personnel who are often subject to job and school disruption due to postings around the UK and abroad.
The University has a significant number of former service personnel in full time employment, teaching on various courses and partnership activities, and is proactive in its engagement with students to develop links with, and understanding of military opportunities. The University employs serving military personnel as associate lecturers and within affiliate parties such as Oxford University Air Squadron and Oxford University Officer Training Corps, both of which recruit from BNU’s student body.
In the University’s Access and Participation Plan, they emphasise a committed to supporting service families through Study Higher on events for children/students from military backgrounds.
External engagement includes membership of the Buckinghamshire Armed Forces Covenant Civilian and Military Partnership Board.
BNU has also worked with the British Legion, RAFA, NHS and various charities including Hounds for Heroes.
Wider advocacy continues with the ongoing membership of The Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance: a partnership of organisations focused on improving outcomes for children from military families; The University is working collaboratively in a government-funded outreach project working with universities, schools and colleges in Oxfordshire, Swindon, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. BNU is also offers dedicated programmes for military personnel such as BA (Hons) Organisational Capability Development and BSc (Hons) Strength and Conditioning Armed Forces; both of which are designed to be cost viable opportunities for military personnel to gain education and career enhancement. New programmes starting in 2022 will expand the University’s provision and relationship with the military community.
Buckinghamshire New University and particularly the School of Aviation and Security Department led by Prof. Phillip Wood were exceptionally supportive during my transition from the military. I was blessed with the opportunity to join the team as an Associate Lecturer, immediately made to feel welcome and they were genuinely pleased to help me succeed.Lewis Cope Royal Marines veteran and Associate Lecturer
It was a truly rewarding experience that enhanced my research and lecturing skills. More importantly, it reassured me that leaving the military can be a positive experience and that there are communities that value and endorse our skills and potential. I would highly recommend the University for serving military and veterans for developing academic potential or as an excellent employment option.
It is in the University’s plan for the coming years to continue to grow as an employer and supporter of the whole Armed Forces Community. Current research being carried out by BNU’s Wayne Palmer supports this, investigating the increasing prevalence of veteran suicides related to PTSD. The University also plans to set out a programme of events and awareness sessions to improve understanding both within and outside the University.
Prof Phil Wood MBE, lead for military programmes at BNU, said, “Being a forces’ friendly employer is not about special treatment for military people but about helping them to realise the opportunities that are there for them and their families.
“The military has two distinct profiles – the one they are known for is being deployed around the world doing their job. However, the other reality is that they and their families can find it difficult to access employment and support because they are seen to be ‘different’. They aren’t. Our aim is to continue to deliver on the Armed Forces Covenant that our VC has signed on our behalf; and to do all that we can to support our military community. I think that the military are the most ‘can do’ people in our society; and we can do so much to support them.
“This award reflects the work of our military serving and veteran colleagues at the University and the hard work of our HR, Study Higher, and Student Opportunities and Careers Success teams. We are all delighted and honoured to be holders of the Gold Award.”