The Open University Disabled Veterans Scholarship Fund and Leidos partnership flourishes
Starting a new course of education in middle age can be intimidating at the best of times. The challenge of adapting from a military background to a civilian environment whilst managing an ongoing disability makes the prospect of enrolling in a standard post-secondary education course seem overwhelming.
That's exactly the situation many injured former service personnel face, many of whom have developed invaluable skills throughout their military career and have decades of working life ahead of them. Yet, when it comes to finding employment that makes the most of these skills, too many disabled veterans find their career development stymied due to lacking the kind of professional qualifications possessed by their civilian contemporaries.
Fortunately, the Open University was set up to support this kind of student through its 200-plus flexible distance learning qualifications. These enable students to study from wherever best suits them while scheduling their course modules around caring responsibilities, employment, or medical treatments.
At Leidos, we're passionate about ensuring that as many veterans as possible have access to educational opportunities. Helping veterans step up their careers after service is a primary reason why we contribute to the Disabled Veterans' Scholarships Fund.
Simon FovargueChief Executive, Leidos UK and Europe
To date, that support has helped over 260 students gain access to everything from a bachelor's degree in law, to further studies in technology. On the 12th of September at DSEI, a global defence symposium, Leidos handed over a donation to DVSF Ambassadors Seamus Kerr and Roger Hood to help the next cohort of 50 students pursue their studies this Autumn.
“The OU are experts at delivering education to students with disabilities and health challenges, and corporate support offers this potentially life-changing opportunity to veterans," says DVSF ambassador and former British Army major general Seumas Kerr. “It is thanks to the tremendous support of Leidos and many other corporates that we are able to invite applications for our Disabled Veterans' Scholarships Fund for the seventh year. "
With 36,000 disabled students at any one time, the OU has extensive experience in providing the kind of support needed to ensure that every student can make the most of their education. In addition to covering course fees, the disabled veterans support fund also helps supply necessary education technologies, such as voice recognition software, alongside mental health and study skills support, such as note takers and proofreaders.
Thanks to this assistance, many DVSF beneficiaries have completed courses in education and social care themselves, enabling them to return the favour by supporting other disabled veterans in turn.
“Veterans leave the armed forces with great skills and values that can be used elsewhere," says DVSF ambassador Robert Hood, a business strategist and former senior officer of the British Army Reserve. “I am delighted that Leidos supports The Open University Disabled Veterans Scholarship Fund, which gives our disabled veterans new avenues to explore and doors to go through as they adapt and bring the skills they have to the forefront of new opportunities post-service."
For more information on our Operation Military Veteran Programme visit: www.leidos.com/operation-mvp