Armed Forces

Armed Forces
The University has strong links with the Armed Forces, through the Military Education Committee and the University Officer Training Corps. The University signed the Armed Forces Covenant in August 2016.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the University to those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces and their families. The Covenant promises the University will do all it can to ensure that this community is treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-today lives. The Armed Forces Covenant relies on people, communities, businesses and organisations such as the University, to actively support it in order to make a difference.

Armed Forces Day and Reserves Day an opportunity to show support for the Armed Forces.


Armed Forces Day takes place on the last Saturday of June  each year and Reserves Day on the Wednesday before. These annual events are an opportunity for the public to show their support to the Armed Forces Community including current service personnel, veterans, cadets and service families, should they wish to do so.

University Veterans/Armed Forces Champion Jason Bohan said, ‘ We wanted to make staff and students aware of these days and events happening in the City of Aberdeen.  The University has strong links with the services through the Military Education Committee with RGU (regarding the Aberdeen Universities’ Officers Training Corps, the East of Scotland Universities’ Air Squadron and the Highland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association).

The University has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, holds a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award and has number of staff who are members of the Reserve Forces or Veterans. The University also works closely with veterans and their families regarding student admissions’.

Reserves Day, Wednesday 26 June 2024

Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military.

The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber.

The University has a number of staff and students who are Reservists or members of the local Officer Training Regiment.

Armed Forces Day, Saturday 29 June 2024

Showing support for the Armed Forces provides a much valued morale boost for the troops and their families. You can find out more about what they are doing at home and around the world by visiting the official sites of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

The UK Armed Forces defend the UK and its interests. They are busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism. The UK Armed Forces work around the clock to protect our way of life and defend UK interests at home and abroad. #ArmedForcesDay is our chance to say thank you.

Aberdeen City's Armed Forces Day Parade, Saturday 29 June 2024

A parade of serving military men and women, veteran associations, cadet and youth organisations accompanied by local pipe bands and vintage military vehicles march down Union Street from 11:00 , finishing at the Castlegate.

The parade is a celebration of the history and proud record of the armed forces and allows the people of Aberdeen to show their respect for the role they play within our society.

On Friday 23 June, ahead of the UK Armed Forces Day, the Lord Provost will raise the official Armed Forces Day Flag outside Marischal College at 10am. The flag will remain in place until Monday 03 July 2023.

On Saturday 01 July, residents and visitors alike are invited to watch Aberdeen’s Armed Forces Day parade, which will include more than 1,000 serving, veteran and cadet force personnel parading through the city centre, where they will be joined by massed pipes and drums and vintage military vehicles.

The parade begins at 11am at Albyn Place and then heads down Union Street to the Castlegate. 

As the parade passes the Town House, the Lord Provost of Aberdeen Dr David Cameron, in his role of Lord-Lieutenant, will take the salute along with top military personnel.

The Lord-Lieutenant of Aberdeen Dr Cameron said: “The Armed Forces Day parade provides an opportunity for spectators from every generation to pay tribute to, and thank, our British Armed Forces personnel for the commitment and hard work they undertake all year round for the benefit of our whole country.”

The Armed Forces Covenant

An Enduring Covenant Between the People of the United Kingdom Her Majesty's Government and All those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown and their Families.

The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty.

Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.

Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and bereaved.

This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.

Section 1: Principles Of The Armed Forces Covenant

1.1  We University of Aberdeen will endeavour to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

  • no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen.
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved

Section 2: Demonstrating our Commitment

2.1  The University of Aberdeen recognises the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to our organisation. We will seek to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, by:

  • promoting the fact that we are an armed forces-friendly organisation;
  • seeking to support the employment of veterans;
  • striving to support the employment of Service spouses and partners;
  • endeavouring to offer a degree of flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner's deployment;
  • seeking to support our employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces, including by accommodating their training and deployment where possible;
  • offering support to our local cadet units, and in particular the Aberdeen Universities Officer Training Corps;
  • aiming to actively participate in Armed Forces Day;
  • supporting the Military Education Committee;
  • seeking to raise awareness of those leaving the Armed Forces of the opportunities available to study at the University.

2.2  We will publicise these commitments through our literature and/or on our website, setting out how we will seek to honour them and inviting feedback from the Service community on how we are doing

Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Awards

Silver award holders:

  • Armed Forces Covenant - Employer Recognition Scheme - Silver Awards - Proudly supporting those who serve.must have signed the Armed Forces Covenant
  • the employer must have already stated their intent to be supportive by using the ERS website to register at the Bronze level
  • the employer must proactively demonstrate that service personnel/armed forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruiting and selection processes
  • employers should employ at least one individual from the AFC category that the nomination emphasises. For example, an employer nominated for support to the Reserves must employ at least one Reservist. In exceptional circumstances where there is outstanding generic support for the Armed Forces community and/or the size or business model of the organisation makes employment of such an individual impossible, the organisation can be considered for the award where they do not employ someone from the AFC category
  • the employer must actively ensure that their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards defence people issues. For example, an employer nominated for support to the Reserves must have an internally publicised and positive HR policy on Reserves
  • within the context of Reserves the employer must have demonstrated support to mobilisations or have a framework in place. They must demonstrate support to training by providing at least 5 days’ additional unpaid/paid leave (wherever possible not to Reservist employees’ financial disadvantage)
  • the employer must not have been the subject of any negative PR or media activity
Military Education Committee

The Military Education Committee is responsible for providing and developing formal and informal links between the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and the Service Units in which students of the two universities are eligible to serve: Aberdeen Universities Officer Training Corps and the East of Scotland Air Squadron.

Widening Access

The University of Aberdeen has a long-standing commitment to Widening Access to Higher Education. As an Institution we aim to create an outstanding and inclusive educational environment, to ensure every student has the opportunity to reach their potential.

Peer Support Groups

Student feedback from last year suggests that students with particular experiences may find it useful to have the opportunity to engage with students with a similar experience.  This could be for informal support, to build a more formal support network, including through working with the University.