Employability, Skills and Learning Progress – Recommendation 19

Jobs within NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland and individual Health Boards should develop and deliver commitments made at the last Armed Forces and Veterans Joint Group meeting to utilise the talents of the veterans community and provide better support and advice to those applying for jobs within the NHS.

2019 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented


2019 update provided by the Scottish Government:

NHS Boards are exploring potential involvement in the ‘Step Into Health’ Programme which provides a dedicated pathway for the Armed Forces community to access career opportunities available in the NHS.

NHS National Education for Scotland is also developing its careers website to help map Service leavers’ skills with NHS Jobs.

2020 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented


2020 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The NHS Scotland Careers website contains case studies from NHS employees who have previously served in the forces, giving a testimonial of their experience moving from the forces to the NHS.  A recent Virtual Insight Day for veterans was well attended and a number were interested in NHS roles – ten candidates are being progressed to temporary contracts. In February 2020, the Chief Medical Officer wrote to the Head of HR within every NHS Scotland Board to highlight the importance and benefit of employing veterans.  Although paused by COVID-19, we are building a range of case studies to highlight the spectrum of employment opportunities open to those who served in our forces.  Additionally, following a virtual event organised with the Officers Association (Scotland), Scottish Government have been able to offer a number of veterans fixed term appointments, using their skills and experience to help us to respond to the impact of the pandemic.

As we continue through the pandemic, our policy leads will continue to look at careers events where NHS / Scottish Government jobs could be showcased – our recent experience shows that virtual events are equally valuable, so we will continue to pursue these opportunities.  Specific, practical, work within local Boards will be resumed when it is appropriate and safe to do so but we will continue to explore opportunities as we move through these unprecedented times.  With the involvement of NHS Scotland’s Chief People Officer and the Office of the Chief Executive for NHS Scotland, this work remains a priority.

2021 SVC evaluation of status:

Implemented, but work should continue

2021 update provided by the Scottish Government:

A cross-sector sub-group, with a wealth of experience and expertise, was established to identify and make links across areas of ongoing work and progress further action on this recommendation. Much of the progress reported below was aided by this collaborative approach.

A short survey was conducted to gain insight on Service leaver and veterans’ perceptions of the NHS as an employer and experiences of recruitment processes. The output has been used to identify the main barriers to recruitment and inform the Scottish Government Health Workforce team’s strategy.

A dedicated NHS Scotland Careers webpage, designed to support veterans and promote the NHS as a post-service career, launched on Armed Forces week 2021. The page includes support for veterans in applying to NHS jobs, guidance on communicating transferrable skills, career case studies from Armed Forces family members and veterans who have transitioned to civilian life and now work in the NHS, information on mapping Armed Forces skills to the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF), and more. The launch of the website was accompanied by social media activity, including publication of career case studies on social media channels.

In conjunction with Skills Development Scotland and the MOD, SCQF are developing an online skills profiling tool specifically for Service leavers which will help veterans identify how their skills translate into language easily understood by civilian employers. Work is ongoing to utilise the skills and talent of the veterans community in the ongoing creation and staffing of National Treatment Centres.


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