Whether it’s education, upskilling, personal development or simply learning something new, training at any level is great for your employment prospects, career progression, wellbeing or just filling your time.

There are many opportunities created specifically for the service community that you can tap into. forcesfamiliesjobs.co.uk has a dedicated section where you can find information and links to free or discounted courses and potential funding. In this edition, we sample some of the fantastic programmes designed just for you…

The Military Coworking Network is a grassroots initiative of more than 1,000 spouses who are working together to support and help each other maintain their careers. As well as uniting members in a digital community, it runs hubs at some military bases to provide somewhere to go to work and study together, make friends and inspire and assist each other. Army&You spoke to two military spouses using their local coworking hub in Leuchars to study. Here’s what they had to say…

Dee Bola (pictured right) has been a military spouse for more than a decade. Her job at the student accommodation in St Andrews meant she was interacting with students from all over the world and this, she says, was a motivating factor and inspiration to further her studies.

“There were instances of self-doubt because of the length of time I’d been away from education. However, I still decided to take on the challenge and to my delight I was offered a place at the University of St Andrews.”

In 2017, Dee joined the first coworking hub in the UK – and this would prove to be a positive and welcome change.

Ahead of the competition

Louise Grace has been married to Liam for 16 years and has lived in four countries. She’s just completed a Masters in Education with Dundee University, using the hub for her studies.

She says: “During our last assignment overseas, I realised that getting back onto the UK employment ladder would mean a great deal of competition. Most people have a pristine CV with consecutive employment, unlike mine. I decided that a MEd may improve my chances of getting my CV noticed over the gaps in employment.”

Why use the hub?

“Studying at home can be very challenging, thoughts of carrying out my daily chores and other household duties have been a distraction,” says Dee. “The coworking hub is a welcome break from my hectic schedule and provides a totally different environment and atmosphere. The strong and positive support network is refreshing and encouraging.”

“The hub offered a quiet space where I had nothing to do except focus on my coursework in the company of like-minded people,” says Louise. “The ready-made office space made it ideal to turn up with my laptop and textbooks and study. It was nice just to be around other supportive people and there are inspirational quotes decorating the walls to keep you motivated.”

The hub allows people to focus and for Dee it was a huge boost to her studies: “The past four years of juggling study, work and domestic duties was not easy. The sacrifice, commitment and hard work came to fruition this summer when I graduated with a Master of Arts (Combined Studies).”

Highly recommended

“The hub is a beneficial resource to our military community and I would certainly recommend it to others,” says Louise (pictured right). “The sense of achievement for yourself and those around you creates a positive atmosphere; encouraging and promoting self-improvement.”

“I’ve made some amazing friends and the mutual bond, understanding and respect in the hub has really boosted my morale, self-confidence and awareness,” adds Dee.

Find out more

There are seven coworking spaces open and another 20 in the pipeline. To explore the online community and find your local hub, join facebook.com/groups/militarycoworkingcommunity

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