£1.5m funds bonus for veterans’ schools project

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A CHARITY is to be given £1.5m to introduce military veterans into schools, Education Secretary Michael Gove said yesterday.

From September, SkillForce will run three projects in schools using former personnel who have served on the front line.

In the Military to Mentors project, 100 ex-servicemen and women will work as mentors in schools in England and Wales.

The Zero Exclusion project will see former soldiers, sailors and air crew support 100 young people at risk of being excluded from schools while the SkillForce Core programme will use veterans to work with 340 disadvantaged young people.

Mr Gove said: “There is a huge opportunity for those people who have served their country in uniform to serve their country in our schools. They have many of the virtues that parents across the country feel have disappeared from our schools and need to be restored: self-discipline, a sense of purpose and a belief in the importance of working as a team.

“That is why I want to offer people leaving our Armed Forces an opportunity to enter the classroom, and I am delighted to support SkillForce in doing so.

“Ex-service personnel will act as inspiring role models for the next generation. They will help to instil in young people, often from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds, discipline, self-respect and a sense of purpose.”

Peter Cross, chief executive of SkillForce, said he was “delighted” to receive the funding. He added: “The use of former military mentors enables them to serve their communities following a first career of service to their country.”

Ross Emery, who served in the army for more than 10 years including in Bosnia, Cyprus, Kuwait and Iraq, is now a mentor for SkillForce.

He said: “I applied for SkillForce because I enjoyed working with young people from my previous career. This was the right option, I have loved every minute.”