There are estimated to be around 2.6 million veterans living in the UK. Having served in the Armed Forces and dedicated their lives to the safety of the nation, they are men and women who have trained explicitly for the demands of military life in our nation’s unfailing defence.
Once veterans leave military life, their transferable skills - developed in a unique environment that demands excellence, accomplishment and personal growth - can make a huge contribution both socially and economically. University study can empower veterans to unlock their potential for new purposes - such as meeting the UK’s urgent need for STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) graduates.
Our Solution – The UK’s First Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund
Our ambition is to harness the potential of the UK’s veterans by supporting the educational development of veterans discharged due to disabilities. Disability amongst veterans is unsurprisingly higher than amongst the non-veteran population. It is estimated that 24% of veterans will suffer an illness or disability that limits their physical activity, compared to just 13% of the non-veteran population. Unlike colleagues who make plans for retirement, their unexpected discharge from service life is also likely to mean that these individuals are less prepared for a new life outside of the military.
"I can honestly say that without my OU qualification, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was what you might describe as a ‘typical’ soldier, but studying with the OU has changed me as a person. There’s a lot of respect out there for an OU degree, which helps career wise."
Michael Trott, Veteran & OU Alumnus
The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund will ensure that, if disability means veterans can no longer serve, they are empowered to rewrite their own futures. The fund will provide veterans with the opportunity to study at undergraduate level for free, with specialist support for disabilities, allowing them to develop their skills, knowledge and experience, and ultimately, to dream new dreams.
The fund is the first of its kind in the UK dedicated to furthering the education of men and women who have become disabled in or due to their time in the forces. The opportunity to study with The OU will develop their skills, knowledge and experience.
The Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund will provide free education to all disabled veterans, injured in or due to service, along with a wraparound disability support and careers advisory service. The Fund has already supported 105 veterans to start studying with the OU, and in 2020 we continue to fundraise to provide a further 50 places.
“As a Pioneer Graduate of the Open University, and an ex-serviceman, I recognise both the effort required to complete an OU degree, but also the immense value gained from doing so. I am proud to be an ambassador for a programme which is changing the lives of our disabled veterans.”
Sir Christopher Coville KCB FRAeS FCIPD BA (Open), Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund Ambassador
How your support can make a difference
By supporting the Disabled Veterans’ Scholarships Fund you can give the gift of education to someone that has given so much to their country. Please make your gift today and to provide a disabled veteran with the opportunity to start the next chapter of their life. Click here for further details and to apply.
The Disabled Veterans' Scholarships Fund is kindly supported by:
ABF The Soldiers’ Charity
BAE Systems plc
The Big Give
The Chancellor using LIBOR funds
Constance Travis Charitable Trust
Sir Christopher Coville KCB
The Englefield Charitable Trust
The Simon Gibson Charitable Trust
The Inman Charity
The ‘Lest We Forget’ Association
PF Charitable Trust
Queen Mary's Roehampton Trust
The Samuel Storey Family Charitable Trust
Thales Charitable Trust
The Trelix Charitable Trust
The Utley Foundation
The Veterans’ Foundation
The Wakeham Trust
The William Allen Young Charitable Trust
The Worshipful Company of World Traders Charitable Trust
and over 1,100 alumni, friends and OU supporters including:
Robin Adcock, Gordon Dickinson, John Duncan, Eileen French, David Godson, Colin Hume, Doreen and Anthony Van West, Rachel Webb