UNWIS Universities in Support of Wounded, Injured and Sick Service Personnel – is a network of universities keen to offer short work experience placements to wounded, injured and sick Military personnel. Universities are large, multimillion pound organisations and are able to offer a great variety of different types or work experience placements. Universities are also situated throughout the UK and so are able to offer work placements close to the homes and bases of Military personnel.
For those on work placements universities can offer a range of additional benefits. Universities have a wide range of support services as well as excellent sports and leisure facilities. As educational institutions universities are well placed to offer advice on educational and training opportunities both on their own programmes but also at partner colleges (some at FE level) and elsewhere in their local communities.
This network is also able to offer the same level of opportunity for WIS veterans and immediate family of Wounded, Injured and Sick personnel if interested.
Soldier from Shrewbury PRU
'Meeting with Ann at Wolverhampton University enabled me to access so much information and guidance that would not have otherwise been available to me. As a result I have been able to develop my business plan to a much more detailed level and was left feeling confident in my own abilities and goals. The real cherry on the cake was being offered an opportunity to deliver training to university staff, which will give me a great start and some useful industry specific experience. I couldn't be more grateful to Ann and to Mel from RCS who arranged the meeting. Your support makes a huge difference.'
Soldier from Colchester PRU
'I just wanted to email you and say thank you for a very informative and interesting day at the UEL recently.
It was well thought out and put together, and I particularly enjoyed meeting those students and staff within the psychology departments, all of whom gave me much to think about in the meantime, as well as the tour of the various areas within the department itself. My questions were always answered in full and I was made to feel very welcome by all.
Thank you again for organising this event for me, and for helping to open up another opportunity for me in my near future.'
Soldier from Aldershot PRU
Soldier A is a Cpl and has served for 12 years. In February 2012, soldier A was diagnosed with a serious mental health condition and has since been told he will be medically discharged from the military.
Rehabilitation began very early on after his diagnosis but soldier A found it hard to cope with and struggled to accept that he may have to find a new career within the civilian sector. He was having family issues and needed very close support. He was very stressed and angry with his situation. A Personnel Recovery Officer worked very hard in making sure soldier A progressed well with his recovery pathway. He gained support with welfare, medical appointments, family liaison, resettlement activities etc. Once the rehabilitation side of things were back on track, soldier A began to think about a future career. He gained additional support from an RFEA specialist employment consultant who offered careers advice and recruitment support. After looking over soldier A’s skills, qualifications and experience, it was decided that a career in health and safety would be suitable and manageable with soldier A’s health condition. Before, soldier A could look for qualifications and employment opportunities, it was important for soldier A to gain some experience within a health and safety department in order for him to see first-hand, what it was like to work in this area. If he felt this was a career he could pursue, he would then look to gain qualifications. The university Network were contacted in the hope they would be able to facilitate this with a local university. Very quickly, a meeting was set up between Portsmouth University, the Service Leaver’s Specialist Employment Consultant and soldier A. The University Network had briefed Portsmouth University and so they were already aware of what soldier A was looking for and the reasons why. It was just a case of discussing health, length of placement, placement paperwork and duties etc. After that initial meeting, Occupational Health reviewed and approved the placement opportunity and soldier A began a two week placement within the universities health and safety department. During the placement, soldier A was given the opportunity to assist with university halls of residence health and safety checks, shadow the full process, attend a health and safety seminar, discuss suitable qualifications with department head, experience differing roles with the health and safety department and most importantly, find out if he was suitable for a role in this area with his health and skills.
Soldier A found the placement to be invaluable and it was very important in motivating him and giving him confidence. He gained good feedback from Portsmouth University and it helped him make the decision that health and safety was a career he would like to pursue. Since his placement, soldier A has completed relevant courses recommended by Portsmouth University department head including his NEBOSH, First Aid, Fire Safety and his PTLLs. These were funded via his ELCs and ABFfunding. He has had medical issues but has seen his future career as a real motivating factor in getting better. He is now planning to gain further work experience to enhance his CV and then planning to move his family to America to build a new life in health and safety. The University Network were crucial in allowing soldier A to gain invaluable experience, show him how to manage his health condition within a working environment and help him decide what he wanted for his future. He is in a much better place now in regards to health and is feeling much more confident and happy about building a life outside the military.
Quote from soldier A: “I really found the placement to be very useful. I have a much better understanding of the available roles in health and safety departments and understand what kind of character I have to be to work effectively with clients or partners. They were very useful in telling me about relevant qualifications and how I needed to go about getting into different areas. I am confident that I am able to do this with my health and it has given me hope outside the military. I would like to thank University Network for working hard to arrange this”.