Veterans are 'assets' and could fill the skills gap in Scotland

VETERANS should be viewed as an “enormous resource” that could fill the skills gap in parts of Scotland's economy, declared one MSP during a Scottish Government debate on Tuesday. (31st January)

SNP MSP Graeme Dey led the evening's member's debate on Scotland's veterans and opened up the discussion by congratulating Scotland's Veterans' Commissioner for The Veterans Community: Employability, Skills and Training report. Throughout the evening, issues surrounding veterans in Scotland and particularly veterans and employment were discussed, with MSP's making a number of recommendations to help further promote employability in the veterans community, reports the BBC.

What key points were made during the debate?

  • Mr Dey said he hoped the government uses the Scottish Veterans Fund to help prioritise proposals that promote employability in the veterans community. (The Scottish Veterans Fund helps projects provide services in areas such as employment, housing, and wellbeing. Organisations in Scotland supporting veterans will be able to apply for a share of £600,000 funding, delivered over the next three years.)
  • Mr Dey told members he believed veterans and their families should be seen as assets.
  • Tory MSP Maurice Corry said employment is one of the most important factors in ensuring a positive transition from military life to a civilian one. He told MSPs that veterans are an "incredibly highly trained group" and have experience in highly skilled work that business is screaming out for. He said veterans could be used to fill the skills gap in Scotland.

Veterans should be viewed as an enormous resource that could fill the skills gap in parts of Scotland's economy.

- SNP MSP Richard Lochhead

  • SNP's Richard Lochhead said his constituency of Moray probably has more Scottish veterans per head of population than anywhere else in the country, and said they are a huge part in the local community, and help underpin the local economy. He said veterans should be viewed as an enormous resource that could fill the skills gap in parts of Scotland's economy.
  • Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said it is important to regenerate the opportunities for employment and increase skills and told MSPs “we should not be failing veterans”. She called on the Scottish Government to have a veterans' debate every year.
  • SNP MSP David Torrance said it is the obligation of policy makers to help veterans adapt to economic, political and social life after Service and that although figures show improvement in this area, they continue to highlight the gap between veterans and non-veterans in employment.
  • Mr Torrance also called for more specialised programmes to address the specific needs for female veterans.

Veterans are a true asset for Scotland

- Jamie Hepburn, Employability Minister

  • Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said the ambition is to make Scotland the destination of choice for Service leavers and said veterans should be seen as an asset and a resource.
  • On the issue of SMEs being encouraged to employ veterans, Mr Hepburn said ‘this is essential’. 

To read more about the debate, go to: