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Scotland’s Veterans Commissioner in Orkney to Listen to the Voice of Lived Experience

‘Military Veterans are a valuable asset to any community’, that’s the key message from Lieutenant Commander (retired) Susie Hamilton, the Scottish Veterans Commissioner on her visit this week to Orkney.

A smiling Susie Hamilton sitting in the Royal British Legion Kirkwall having a cup of tea
Scottish Veterans Commissioner Lieutenant Commander (retired) Susie Hamilton

Whilst in Orkney, the Commissioner met with veterans, including those now working within Scotland’s NHS. She also met with various organisations which can offer advice and support to veterans.

Susie Hamilton has extensive experience in working with veterans organisations and is keen to get around Scotland to see for herself a clearer picture of the situation today. She retired from the Royal Navy as a Lieutenant Commander. Following this she worked for a short period in industry, then engaged in volunteering work with Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR).

She then joined the senior management team of SVR as the Head of External Relations, responsible for Fundraising, Marketing and Communications. Susie Hamilton took up her post as Scottish Veterans Commissioner in August 2022 and has been proactive in that role from the start.

Veterans make a positive contribution to the community with a skill set of working together in teams which would be an asset to any employment sector. At the start of the Covid pandemic we saw how important those skills were when planning and organisation on a nationwide scale was needed to develop new facilities and adapt existing ones to deal with the fast changing and often deadly effects of the virus. Working with civilian authorities the Army turned its organisational know how to dealing with the practical aspects of limiting transmission of the virus.

In 2019 British Army Infantry qualifications were matched to their equivalent Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level. This means that Infantry soldiers across the UK and those who settle in Scotland are able to more easily match their military training qualifications to employers’ needs and study requirements in Scotland.

This was extended to all service personnel and now veterans can check out a Military Skills Discovery Toolkit.to see how their skills and qualifications transfer to civilian life.

For some veterans, civilian life may have challenges or there could be health and wellbeing issues which are challenging. Support is available locally, nationally and online for any veteran requiring assistance and support over issues from their health to housing. Veterans Assist Scotland is an online site which has brought together resources in one place.

Susie Hamilton expressed her thanks for the warm welcome she had received in Orkney on her visit. She is a strong advocate for Scotland’s veterans, committed to listening to the voice of lived experience.

Fiona Grahame

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