Positive Pathways to Higher Education for Forces Families



The University of Winchester is widely recognised for its commitment to being an Armed Forces-friendly employer and the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award has been granted to the university for our support of the forces community and of the families of military personnel.  We are keen to support the continued learning of ex-forces, military families and reservists as they embark on the next stage of their career journey. 

The 'Positive Pathways to HE' programme at the University of Winchester is a two-year long project under the EM3 Armed Forces Veterans and Families Programme which aims to support ex-forces, military families and reservists in exploring pathways into Further Education and Higher Education and build the skills and confidence to do so.  This programme will include targeted outreach activities and tailored transition support for participants, in partnership with the Forces Employment Charity

We are proud to be at the forefront of work recognising and supporting educational progression of military families, sharing our research and resources across the sector, including leading the Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance. The programme draws upon our expertise in delivering higher level skills and our links with the SCiP Alliance Hubs and forces charities across the UK and local links with colleges, military basis and resettlement services already established at the University.

The coordination of the activity delivered in the Positive Pathways programme at the University, under the EM3 Armed Forces Veterans and Families Programme led by the Forces Employment Charity, is part funded by the European Social Fund, January 2021 – December 2024.

Student Experience

We spoke with current students who are from military families about their educational journey, how their background and experiences have helped them during their studies, the support available at university, and why individuals in military families should consider higher education as a pathway in their future. Here’s what they shared with us:


"A huge part of being in the military is having discipline and this can be a huge advantage when coming to study at university. Undertaking a degree requires a lot of work, and what separates outstanding students from ordinary ones is having that discipline and getting the job done."

"Although it seems that coming from a military background can be nothing but a disadvantage, those exact hardships forge the best and brightest of us and provide you with the skills necessary to help you get the most out of your degree."

"...one piece of advice that I would give my younger self, is to not carry the world on your shoulders. There are people out there to help."

Staff Details

Corianne Gjertsen (Transition Coordinator and Student Advisor): Programme Coordinator 

Sarah Harder-Collins (Head of Participation and Success): Co-Project Lead

Stella McKnight (Director for Employer Partnerships): Co-Project Lead


Forces Family Day

‘Thrilled to have delivered our first Forces Family Day at the University of Winchester. A big thank you to our project partners at the Forces Employment Charity for such a wonderful presence and presentation at the event. It was a pleasure to spend time with the Naval Children's Charity and the Naval Families Federation (NFF), learning about all fantastic work that is going on in this community to support Forces families.'

Career Change and Apprenticeship Show

‘A fantastic day at the Career Change and Apprenticeship Show in Andover with our Forces Employment Charity colleagues and partners of the EM3 Armed Forces Veterans and Families Programme.’

2023 SCiP Alliance Conference

‘Bespoke support for young people’s positive pathways – a wonderful experience presenting a workshop with our programme partners, Forces Employment Charity, at the 2023 SCiP Alliance conference in Birmingham. Great to see delegates enjoying discussing strategies for productive partnerships.’