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Transition to civilian life

If you in are settling in Scotland after life in the armed forces, these links will provide you with access to the organisations and information that can assist you to find a home, gain employment and settle into civil society, as well as links to sources of help and support that might be needed.

Transition to civilian lifeThe information in this section is grouped into the five major areas that you will need to consider in order to make a successful transition:

  • Employment – Finding the right job and making best use of your skills. 
  • Education – For you and your children 
  • Health – Establishing yourself with a GP, Dentist and other Health issues 
  • Housing – Finding your new home, 
  • Welfare – The additional support you may need.

Scotland - the background

As a place to live and work, Scotland has a huge range of attractions, from the peace and tranquillity of mountain wilderness to the vibrant urban life of cities such as Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. Opportunities for employment are plentiful and range from traditional crafts, through logistics, construction and retail to cutting edge technology and world class engineering. For families, the Scottish education system is world renowned and the National Health Service first class.

For background information on the economic situation, housing and employment the sites below may help with your decision making:

For a general brief on life in Scotland

For a brief on the housing market

For a detailed and up to date view of the economy, employment figures and more

For a direct link to a site specifically for ex service personnel in Scotland


Continuing education may be of great value in developing your career, building on existing skills or opening new horizons. At the same time finding the right school for your family may be a concern. The Veterans Assist website contains a wealth of information on Education opportunities in Scotland, for you as an individual or your family. Select a specific geographic area and level of education (primary, secondary, FE or University) for links to more information.

Personal education and training

There are a wide range of Education establishments and training providers in Scotland. Your CTP employment consultant can help you decide on suitable courses to meet your career aspirations. The Veterans Assist website (link above) can help you locate a course or College near to your home.

Remember that eligible Service Leavers can use their entitlement to Enhanced Learning Credits ELCs, totalling up to £6000 over three years, for up to six years post-service. The ELCAS site is linked below.

Family education

The Scottish education system has evolved for historical reasons in a distinctly different form to the other countries of the UK. The Scottish system has always emphasised knowledge of a wide range of subjects, while the other UK systems have concentrated on depth of education but concentrated on a smaller range of subjects.

State schools are owned and operated by the Local Authorities. There are also private fee-paying schools in some areas. Children normally start primary school between 4½ and 5½ depending on when the child's birthday falls.

Pupils remain at primary school for seven years. Then aged eleven or twelve, they start secondary school (Often called High School, many are also called Academies) for a compulsory four years with the following two years being optional. In Scotland, pupils sit exams at the age of fifteen/sixteen, for normally eight subjects including compulsory exams in English, Mathematics, a science subject and a “Social” subject.

It is now required by the Scottish Parliament for students to have two hours of physical education a week; each school may vary these compulsory combinations. The school leaving age is generally sixteen, after which students may choose to remain at school and study for Higher or Advanced Higher exams.

The Veterans Assist site or your Local Authority website will enable you to find information on the best local schools for your children.

Education Scotland provides a searchable list of Schools by area. Please follow the link below.