Wiltshire College staff spent a week in Germany talking to forces families moving to the county as the British Army relocates back to the UK.
Tony Basham, Director of Business Development and Partnerships, Marketing & School Link Coordinator Cassie Reid and careers advisor Julia Hendrickse visited camps in Bielefeld, Gütersloh, Sennelager and Paderborn to give advice and guidance on life, work and study in the Wiltshire area.
Almost 100 Army units will relocate, reconfigure or disband over the next three years as part of the British Army Basing programme, with all units returning from Germany by 2019.
This will see more than 4,000 personnel and their families moving in and around the Salisbury area.
Arranged in partnership with the British Army both in the UK and at British Forces Germany Headquarters, the team held information sessions in key locations, delivering presentations, offering careers advice and engaging with serving personnel and their dependants online.
The team spoke with lots of people who were looking for advice on employment opportunities in the area, needing information on college courses and apprenticeships, discovering how foreign qualifications relate and compare to English ones and considering retraining opportunities for returning to work in the Salisbury area.
In addition Tony, Julia and Cassie spent time speaking to Army Welfare Officers, Education Centre and HIVE staff and organisations such as the Army Families Federation, building relationships and providing information that they can share with families too.
Tony said: “This is the first time we have been to Germany to speak to those returning to the UK and it was definitely a worthwhile experience for all parties involved.
“As well as supporting our partners in the Army to provide useful information to their personnel and dependents, we learned a lot about how we can support families over in Germany and on their return to the county in the coming years.
“Providing parents, young people and independent adults with straightforward and useful information about what opportunities are available to them is really important in ensuring that not only they can access the most appropriate and beneficial training to achieve their goals, but also support them in becoming part of the local community.
“We are looking forward to continued partnership work with the British Army during the ongoing rebasing programme, both in Germany and in Wiltshire.”
Major Taniya Morris, who hosted the college team and as SO2 Transition, is the lead officer in the Wiltshire-based headquarters South West for transition advice to units living in or returning to Wiltshire, said: “We are hugely grateful to Wiltshire College for their forward-leaning support to all our service personnel and their families in the South West.
“In particular, this initiative to provide information, advice and guidance to the families who will be returning from Germany over the next couple of years is invaluable.
“Our joint aim is to engage once again with all the units in Germany closer to their move dates – however this first visit to Germany has provided our families with a fabulous opportunity to start looking and planning ahead regarding their future employment, schooling and training opportunities in Wiltshire”.
The team were treated to a number of cultural visits during their stay including a visit to Wewelsburg Castle, the last remaining triangular castle in Germany, a traditional German restaurant and microbrewery and a tour around the ‘Old City’ area of Bielefeld.