Exciting Proposal for the Career Transition Partnership

Forces’ heroes could get free university education under Lib Dem plans to boost their chances on civvy street. The party wants to overhaul the Career Transition Partnership so soldiers, sailors, airmen and submariners who have served at least 12 years can go to college or university for free. 

Bold New Measures

Former party leader and ex-Royal Marine and Special Boat Service captain Lord Paddy Ashdown said: “The men and women who serve in our Armed Forces deserve the utmost support and respect for their sacrifice, but sadly this Government has let them down. “We have got to start investing properly in those who serve our country. “That’s why my party want bold new measures to support personnel who are leaving the Forces. “We would fund further or higher education for those who leave the services with a ‘Careers for Heroes’ scheme. “That means free higher or further education for anyone leaving the Forces after serving 12 or more years.”

Royal British Legion Figures

Figures from the Royal British Legion show working age veterans are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as their equivalents in the general population – 11% compared with 6%. Lib Dems say that means about 120,000 ex-Service personnel are without jobs. The policy already exists in the US where it is known as the “GI Bill”. Lib Dem peers plan to force the change onto the UK Statute Book through an amendment to the Armed Forces (Flexible Working Hours) Bill which is going through Parliament.

Formal Adoption

The party is expected to formally adopt the plan at its conference in Bournemouth, which gets underway on Saturday. It is also expected to call for the inclusion of veterans on the Census, and for “better recognition and treatment of mental ill-health for veterans”. Lord Ashdown added: “It’s unacceptable that the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our safety and security face such an uneven playing field when leaving the Forces. “Our Army, Navy and air force deserve the best and the brightest serving in them, and in order to attract those people we have got to end the in-built disadvantages faced by veterans who are adjusting to civilian life, and encourage people to stay in the forces for longer.”