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UEL signs Armed Forces Covenant 

Pioneering futures since 1898

Provost Hassan Abdalla signs Covenant offering pathways to work

The University of East London has become only the fourth university in the capital to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, which creates a commitment to treat those who are serving their country with fairness and respect.

In a ceremony at the headquarters of the Honorary Artillery Company (HAC) in the City of London, University of East London provost Professor Hassan Abdalla signed the Covenant alongside the Regimental Colonel, Alastair Caie HAC.

The signing took place close to Remembrance Day and coincided with the birthday of the Prince of Wales, allowing VIP guests to witness the HAC firing a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London.

The Armed Forces Covenant, which formalises the relationship between society and defence, details the types of help that an organisation can offer serving personnel, service veterans, reservists and their families. At UEL these groups may be found amongst members of staff, in the student body or in the wider university community in East London.

Professor Abdalla said, “The University of East London is pleased and proud to be signing the Armed Forces Covenant. Service men and women have earned the gratitude of the communities they keep safe and that acknowledgement should be reinforced with action.

“As a careers-led university, there is a specific role we can play in supporting former service personnel into work. In that duty, we have a notable head-start. Veterans and reservists bring to the job market specialist and recognised technical skills and a wealth of ‘softer talents’ such as leadership, problem-solving and teamwork that will be invaluable to the employers of the future.”

Gill Niblock, regional employer engagement director at Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Greater London said, “Any organisation that signs the Armed Forces Covenant is hugely valued, but we are especially pleased that University of East London has made this commitment. 

“We hope that their pledges will encourage others in the education sector to follow suit. We are also extremely pleased that the University recognises the skills and qualities that veterans and reservists can bring to their workforce and look forward to seeing staff and students benefit from this partnership through access to training and career opportunities.”

The Covenant states, “We commit to honour the Armed Forces Covenant and support the Armed Forces Community. We recognise the value serving personnel, regular and reservists, veterans and military families contribute to our business and our country.”

The University of East London has supplemented this statement with its own specific pledges.

These include “to encourage and support the Armed Forces Community working and residing in East London” and “drawing on our knowledge, experience and expertise, and that of partner organisations in our community, to provide help and advice to members of the Armed Forces Community, building upon existing initiatives such as the Welfare Pathway”.

More than 4,000 organisations have signed the Covenant, including businesses, charities and 407 local authorities, including Newham and Tower Hamlets. In April, government ministers wrote to all universities urging them to do more to support veterans and families.