Poppyscotland says vulnerable veterans 'need more help'

British troops at last forward base in Afghanistan Image copyright MOD
Image caption Vulnerable veterans often struggle to find work after they leave the armed forces

Poppyscotland has published research indicating more needs to be done to support disabled and vulnerable military veterans.

The charity said progress had been made, but getting these veterans into employment remained difficult.

The study was a follow-up to a report into the needs of veterans published in 2009.

The charity said there remains "a long way to go" in making sure barriers to finding work are removed.

The 2009 report concluded veterans in Scotland were worse off than their counterparts in the the rest of the UK.

Areas of concern cited included crime, homelessness, alcohol misuse, mental health problems and finances.

Poppyscotland said the new study suggested Scotland no longer lags behind.

But it pointed out that 34% of those surveyed were out of work. Of those with an illness or injury, the figure rose to 47%.

Support with training

Douglas Martin served with the Fourth Royal Tank Regiment from 1988-1991, serving in Northern Ireland and Cyprus.

He struggled to find employment when he left the Army, but secured work in the oil and gas industry in 1995.

Working offshore in the UK and elsewhere, he held various positions until 2014 when his final project finished.

With the downturn in the oil industry, Mr Martin was again struggling to find work.

Poppyscotland funded a health and safety course for him through an employment support grant.

When the course finishes in May, Mr Martin has a possible job lined up as a health and safety officer.

The charity's head of welfare services Gary Gray said: "We believe that finding sustainable employment is vital in order for veterans to lead fulfilling and successful lives. The 2009 findings were of huge concern and compelled us to focus on this area as a priority.

"We are encouraged by the new report, which provides evidence that the investment by Poppyscotland and others in the sector is making a difference.

"However, although we are heading in the right direction, there is still a long way to go."

Poppyscotland said it had invested more than £2m in employment initiatives for disabled and vulnerable veterans.

These included retraining grants, a mental health employability programme and a vocational assessment course.

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