This award honours excellence in the provision of vocational education, training or skills development. This may be preparatory, ongoing or transitional development for members of the wider Armed Forces community, and it can be delivered by an individual, team or organisation.

The Award is generously sponsored by Capita, a global consulting, digital services and software business. The firm helps millions of people by delivering innovative solutions to transform and simplify the connections between businesses and customers, governments and citizens. It partners with clients to provide the insight and cutting-edge technologies that give time back, allowing them to focus on what they do best and making people’s lives easier and simpler.

You can find out more about Capita here.

Richard Holroyd, Capita’s Managing Director, Defence & Security – Government Services, says:

“Capita is delighted to support the Soldiering On Awards, which recognise the incredible achievements of those who have served our country and the diverse people and teams that collaborate to support our Armed Forces community. We’re especially thrilled to sponsor the Education, Training and Development award, which celebrates the outstanding Armed Forces individuals providing support for career transition, vocational education and skills development. We enable the education, training and development of thousands of military personnel and civilians across the UK, and we couldn’t be more inspired or impressed by our finalists.” 

The Finalists for the Education, Training and Development Award are:

Building Heroes

ETD - Building Heroes
Building Heroes provides a second career for service leavers and Veterans. The tri-service charity aligns the transferable skills gained in the military with those of the construction industry to provide career progression pathways.
Building Heroes aims to tackle Veteran unemployment, so it offers free fast-track construction skills training and deployment support across the UK. Learners can achieve nationally-recognised qualifications in as little as five weeks.

“We have many stories of how individuals have turned their lives around, for some it is about rehabilitation, and for others it is about the confidence, skills and a fresh start, enabling them to find employment.”  

Established with one centre offering 50 places in 2014, Building Heroes now has 14 centres to accommodate 850 training places per year. To date, the charity has trained over 2,000 individuals, and looks set to receive around 2000 applications this year. To manage this demand, the charity is working with housing, road and rail contractors to host training on site and provide Building Heroes with its own academies across the country. This will help to support the rise of applications and enable the charity to increase its fully-funded training places to at least 1200 people.

The charity has received various awards and recognition, most significantly and recently, the highly prestigious Queens Award for Enterprise. The team feel very honoured that their efforts and dedication to providing support and career pathways for the military community has been acknowledged.

“We stand by our mission to remove the barriers of time and money, and provide support and training leading to a new career on leaving the services.”

Professor Alison Baverstock

ETD - Dr. Alison Baverstock

Professor Alison Baverstock is the founder (2011) and director of the charity Reading Force, which promotes shared reading within Forces families. In addition to promoting family connectivity through books, teachers have noted improved SATS scores from those involved. The Department for Education and Skills highlighted the project early as ‘good practice’.

Through delivering Reading Force, and as a Forces partner and mother of four, Alison noticed that comparatively fewer Forces children aspired to attend university.

The UK’s 130,000 Forces children typically face ongoing challenges: disrupted education, uncertainties and parental absences. Alison proposed initiatives to promote understanding of Forces children and raise higher educational aspirations, engagement and transition. She proposed the specific needs of Forces children should be part of learning for all Education students and trainee teachers, just as issues of other special-needs groups are addressed. Seeking a collaborative approach, she built an alliance between Forces members, government policy-makers, social services, military charities, relevant HE research communities, and teachers with direct experience.

Alison’s programme was first delivered to over 200 PGCE students at Kingston University, raising awareness of key issues and demonstrating best practices. This initiative is now embedded within Kingston’s standard curriculum. Written up as an academic paper and presented at conferences, her initiative has been widely copied within other institutions – and influenced policy.

“It is Alison’s determination to help teachers understand the needs of Forces children, through influencing the way in which they are trained, that is both original and impactful.”

Significantly, her initiative has developed future teachers’ understanding of Forces families; a group previously seen mainly in terms of the disruption caused by frequent postings and helped present the positive attitude and attributes they generally bring to the classroom.

“Encouraging Forces families to consider higher education as an option is significant and likely to lead to redressing the gap between them and their contemporaries within wider society.”

Bravo 22 Company

ETD - Bravo 22

In 2010, Alice Driver, working in professional theatre, met a veteran. Whilst describing the impact of his injuries, he told Alice that he felt he had lost his voice and identity. Alice, the originator of Bravo 22 Company and Founder of The Drive Project, recognised the power of the arts as a recovery tool for the Armed Forces Community nationwide.

A year later, funded by the Royal British Legion, the first Bravo 22 members stormed the West End, performing a play they had helped to write, with their stories at the heart of it. Lives were transformed across both the Armed Forces and the civilian communities.

“Participants report that Bravo 22 has improved their confidence and self-esteem, and equipped them with transferable skills to succeed at an interview, and the confidence to branch out and try new activities, including paid employment.”

When Covid spread fear, anxiety, and isolation worldwide, Bravo 22 responded sensitively and quickly, redesigning its innovative programme to ensure uninterrupted support for the Armed Forces Community online.

Bravo 22 has worked with over 600 current and ex-Service personnel and family members, representing all Service branches. Currently, it provides over 400 places on creative projects each year, including workshops, skills courses, well-being and social sessions. In-person projects include residential courses at the Legion’s Battle Back Centre and nationwide Cultural Trips. Members often feature as guests on BFBS radio to promote the programme and act as project assistants for creative leads.

“It has opened my eyes to worlds I never knew existed and encouraged me to seek out a new, better, healthier way of living, and to be able to dream again.

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