11th March 2019 Michael Fahy

Poppyscotland is hosting an afternoon event next week to highlight the range of support available to the Armed Forces Community in the North of Scotland. The open day at its Inverness Welfare Centre in the heart of the Highland capital will focus on career guidance and job searches for veterans, as well as offering advice on the schemes, training grants/funding and other employability-related opportunities available.


Mark Bibbey, Poppyscotland’s CEO, said: “There is an estimated Armed Forces community of 100,000 in the north of Scotland and we want them to feel empowered to address any employment-related needs by making use of the supports that will be available at the event. We encourage local veterans to come down and speak to providers in a relaxed environment to learn how they can boost their job prospects.”

The event, which takes place on Thursday, 21st of March from 11am to 3pm, will be attended by a host of support organisations such as Skills Development Scotland; New Start Highland; the Regular Forces Employment Association; X-Forces; Momentum Skills; and the DWP/JCP Armed Forces Champion.

Mr Bibbey, who is a veteran himself and the Chair of the Veterans Employability Strategic Working Group, added: “Those in the ex-Service community are just as susceptible to the range of problems that the population as a whole can face during the course of their life, such as employment, debt, bereavement, housing issues and mobility difficulties caused by old age.

“Importantly, however, their ability to address these issues on their own can be greatly affected by their time in uniform, in terms of developing both a knowledge and understanding of civilian systems and norms, and also as a consequence of experiences they have had in the Armed Forces. That is why events such as our Employment Open Day are so important. At Poppyscotland, we offer a range of employment services to help veterans into work. From training grants to employment support, our initiatives are designed to help you whatever stage you are at.”


One such veteran who has been helped at Poppyscotland Inverness is Scott Wilkie, who spent 20 years in the RAF as a Supplier. Scott, who lives in Forres, was refused his full pension and struggled to adjust to civilian life and secure employment. He sought help at Citizens Advice Scotland and was referred to Poppyscotland and SSAFA. Poppyscotland enrolled Scott on to the LifeWorks course and provided him with the funding he needed. Completing the course gave him a massive confidence boost and meant that he had a much better chance of getting a job that suite his skills and mind-set.

Commenting on the help he received, Scott said: “You don’t realise that people, like those at Poppyscotland, actually care and can change your life. It’s only a call away and it’s definitely worth making that call. It has helped me enormously and I’d like to thank Poppyscotland from the bottom of my heart for all that they’ve done for me.”

To find out more about next week’s Open Day, please contact Poppyscotland Inverness on 01463 710300, or at inverness@poppyscotland.org.uk.