Featured News New agreement sends soldiers from the battlefield to the classroom

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Fri, 15 Oct 2021

New agreement sends soldiers from the battlefield to the classroom

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JCU Provost Professor Chris Cocklin and Wandering Warriors Chair Brett Sangster.

James Cook University will make it easier for Australian Defence Force veterans to access a university education, with the announcement of a partnership between JCU and veterans’ charity Wandering Warriors.

The agreement will provide education pathways for veterans as they transition from the military to civilian life.

JCU Provost Professor Chris Cocklin said all veterans affiliated with Wandering Warriors will eventually have access to the full range of short courses, undergraduate and post-graduate degrees offered at JCU.

“From a veterans’ point of view, what we’re trying to do is offer them post-service learning opportunities that will equip them for careers that may not otherwise have been available to them,” he said.

“From a university perspective, both Townsville and Cairns are significant defence locations and if there’s an opportunity here for us to engage and partner with the Defence industry and community, we’re keen to do that on a much more comprehensive basis.”

Wandering Warriors Chief Operating Officer Dan Parker said with growing interest in the charity’s education and employment programs, veterans in the region now had the option of considering JCU to pursue their tertiary studies.

“We feel strongly about education as we know that improves the transition process,” he said.

“Education promotes opportunity and by its nature, allows ex-servicemen and women to form a tribe that provides a sense of belonging, along with improved self-esteem.

“When veterans complete their studies, many go on to find successful employment. That fosters a new-formed identity and provides purpose.”

The agreement will initially provide an undergraduate scholarship and access to short courses for an indigenous veteran.

“It's an area of the veteran community we identified as being underserved and one that we wish to give recognition to,” Mr Parker said.

“This is near and dear to our hearts. Many of us have served alongside indigenous servicemen and women. It's our way of saying thank you and providing them post-service career opportunities.

“We’ve been working with retired Lieutenant General John Caligari, who is the chairman of Oasis Townsville, and the team, in shaping these education pathways for veterans involved with Oasis. I’d like to thank them for their ongoing support and contribution.”

Wandering Warriors is a not-for-profit ex-service organisation and registered charity that was established with a focus on supporting veterans of Australia’s Special Operations Command (SOCMD) and their families transitioning from military to civilian life. This has now extended to veterans of the wider ADF.

The charity runs national employment, education, respite and mentoring programs.