Webinar Series – Transition via Education

April 21, 2021

You are invited to join ASCN (New Zealand) for the next Webinar in the series where we continue our discussions on the “Role of Education in enhancing Wellbeing and Life Outcomes for Military Service Members, Veterans and their Families” with a presentation from Scotland.

“Transition via Education – A Scottish Perspective.”

In this presentation Mr Jim Castle, Ms Claire Biggar & Dr Gerri Matthews Smith will share about the Higher Education and Further Education (HeFe) Veterans Champions Network in Scotland, its vision, focus and work. This includes its work in the area of the SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) and the opportunities for the Higher Education Sector to collaborate with the Ministry of Defence on educational offerings.

They will also provide a briefing on the two year Forces in Mind Trust Research Study into Transition in Scotland (in partnership with University of Edinburgh), creation of a Scottish Research Hub and the creation of a Edinburgh Napier University’s Military Centre which will incorporate three key themes (Research, Education & Public Engagement)

Presenters:  Mr Jim Castle FRICS FHEA
Chairman of the Higher Education and Further Education Veterans Champions Network in Scotland
Chairman of the UK Council of Military Education Committees, and
Glasgow Clyde University’s Veterans and Armed Forces Champion

Ms Claire Biggar
Vice-Chair of the Higher Education and Further Education Veterans Champions Network in Scotland, and
Secretary of the Military Education Committee
Edinburgh Napier University.

Dr Gerri Matthews- Smith, FHEA
Associate Research Professor, and
University Lead Military Research
Edinburgh Napier University

Date:  Wednesday 5th of May 2021

Time:  New Zealand 8.00 am – 10.00 am
Australia 6.00 am Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane
The Netherlands 10.00 pm Amsterdam, Tuesday 4th of May 2021
The UK 9.00 pm London, Tuesday 4h of May 2021
Canada 4.00 pm Toronto, 1.00 pm Vancouver, Tuesday 4th of May 2021
The USA 4.00 pm New York, 1.00 pm Los Angeles, Tuesday 4th of May 2021

There will be a one hour presentation followed by a one hour interactive Q&A session that will allow participants to ask the presenters questions about points raised in the presentation or current issues on transition related to their work.


To participate in this Webinar with Mr Jim Castle, Ms Claire Biggar & Dr Gerri Matthews Smith Register at:


When you have registered you will receive information on how to access the webinar online.



Jim is the Chairman of the Higher Education and Further Education (HeFe) Veterans Champions Network in Scotland, the Chairman of the UK Council of Military Education Committees and the Glasgow Clyde University’s Veterans and Armed Forces Champion.

His background is as a Chartered Surveyor and his choice of career was inspired by his Grandfather who in the First World War was CSM Royal Engineers in Palestine and Egypt. His Grandfather rose from joiner pre-war, to RDC Chief Surveyor post-war.

After 30 years working in the Surveying profession, Jim moved to Academia. In 2013, he established the first University and College HM Forces educational partnership in Scotland to provide a holistic platform for all Service men and women, irrespective of Branch, Rank or length of Service.

In 2015, he was joined by Edinburgh Napier University and in 2019, they established the HeFe Veterans’ Champions’ Network bringing together the tertiary sector in Scotland. All members of the Network have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and encourage Veterans into Tertiary education; engage in related research; and offer employment to veterans.

Jim continues with the running, contribution and advocacy roles amongst a range of organisations including; Scottish Parliament; Scottish Veterans Commissioner; MoD; RN, Army and RAF; Scottish Funding Council; SCQF; Veterans Scotland and other 3rd sector organisations.

In 2020 he was elected as Chairman of the UK Council of Military Education Committees (COMEC) which provides a formal interface between MoD and the University sector.

Dr Gerri Matthews- Smith, FHEA

Dr Gerri Matthews- Smith is an Associate Research Professor and University Lead for Military Research at Edinburgh Napier University. More recently she has led the development of the Centre for Military Research, Education and Public Engagement.

She is a highly experienced researcher and has completed 45 doctoral students across a range of disciplines including Life Sciences, Health and wellbeing, Education, Medicine, Psychology and Business. She teaches and develops research across the curriculum from undergraduate to doctoral level on both home and international programmes.

Claire Biggar

Claire Biggar is the Vice-Chair of the Higher Education and Further Education (HeFe) Veterans Champions Network in Scotland and also currently the Secretary of the Military Education Committee at Edinburgh Napier University.

She works in the Office of Principal & Vice-Chancellor, Edinburgh Napier University and is currently the Inclusion and Wellbeing Consultant for the University and Co-lead of the University’s Armed Forces Network.

In 2019 Claire together with Jim Castle from Glasgow Clyde University established the HeFe Veterans Champions Network in Scotland.


This series of real time education and information sharing webinars has been developed by ASCN an Australian and New Zealand Not For Profit organisation in collaboration with its partners in the each of the 5 Eyes Countries (Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom).

In 2021 Open Door: Veteran Transition Integration Wellbeing Research Centre at Flinders University is partnering with ASCN to develop and present the webinar series.

The Webinars in the series are being presented by International Thought Leaders and Researchers from each of the 5 Eyes Countries and Robert Lippiatt from ASCN is the chair of the series.  Robert has had significant international experience chairing and facilitating Defence and Veterans Forums.

Each Webinar is intended to share key issues and insights on Military Veteran Transition and post service life gained through research and other ongoing work with military members, veterans and their families in the relevant country and to stimulate ongoing conversations and collaborations.

Watch out for information and registration instructions for further Webinars in the series in 2021.

If you require any additional information on these Webinars or would like to register your interest in participating in the rest of the Webinar series please contact Steve Shamy at the ASCN Secretariat at email ascn.nz@gmail.com.



ASCN (New Zealand) in conjunction with ASCN (Australia) form the Trans Tasman Australasian Services Care Network (ASCN).

This Not for profit Network acts as a neutral and independent hub for discussion and action by Government, Research, Service Providers and Advocacy on health and wellbeing questions and issues that impact military, veterans, public safety officers and their families in both countries.

It is committed to improving the life-long health and wellbeing of current and former members of the Defence Force (Regular and Reserve), Public Safety Organisations and their Families

Open Door

Open Door is an Australasian multi-disciplinary research and diffusion hub based at Flinders University that exists to undertake and disseminate research information to academics, practitioners and veterans interested in research and to contribute to evidence informed discussions on policy and service design and delivery to veterans. first responders and their families.

Its research is multidisciplinary, applied and theoretical and includes amongst other topics:
• key service provision challenges (claims, case work, crisis care)
• key policy challenges (including institutional abuse, veteran suicide or veterans in correction)
• social, cultural and historical research on Defence and Veterans Affairs legislation, policy and service provision
• clinical and cognitive psychological evidence and practice
• new approaches for veterans with transition challenges, traumatic stress injuries and moral injury.

Open Door‘s approach is based on the view that the best source of evidence on veteran issues are veterans. The Centre uses a co-design approach that draws upon the lived experiences of veterans and their families.

The Open Door team is made up of veteran researchers and policy experts drawn from a number of Universities across Australia and New Zealand. Its aim is to bring together the best minds and thinkers to conduct applied and blue-sky research that demonstrates what works for veterans in transition and across the life course.

Like ASCN. Open Door is committed to contributing to enhancing the Wellbeing of veterans. first responders and their families.