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Independent resettlement & recruitment guide for serving Armed Forces & Veterans

Life-changing opportunities through lifelong learning

Life-changing opportunities through lifelong learning


09 Aug, 2018

York St John University has been a leading education, training and research institution for 177 years. Equality, ambition and social justice are at the heart of the University’s ethos and this is reflected in its reputation for academic excellence, graduate employability and strong sense of community.

With a strong track record in widening access to higher education, York St John University welcomes students into its friendly community from a diverse range of backgrounds and educational levels. In addition to the academic and well-being support it provides for the duration of study, the University is committed to supporting its students for life in order to raise individual and economic aspirations.

Simon Kumar, now a lecturer in Physical Education and Youth Sport, served in the Royal Air Force Regiment, before transitioning to civilian life in 2005 when he became a student at York St John University.


The University’s award-winning campus is situated across 11 acres within walking distance of the historic centre of York. Over the past ten years, the campus has undergone a £110m transformation and boasts state-of-the-art facilities including modern lecture theatres, library and IT facilities, physiology, biomechanics and psychology laboratories, a fitness suite, physiotherapy labs, dedicated TV production suites, music production facilities, art and design studios, and a wide range of general teaching rooms. Nestlé Rowntree Park Sports Campus was opened in 2016 and is just a 15-minute walk from the main site. This multi-purpose facility is situated on 57 acres, making it one of the largest of its type in the country.

He remembers taking the plunge into full-time education: ‘After leaving the Forces I decided to study for a degree in sport at York St John University, as I had the ambition of becoming a physical educator. I came to an Open Day and remember the sense of community – I felt like the people I talked to were genuinely interested in me as a person, it wasn’t just a sales pitch. When I arrived on campus as a student, I was acutely aware that I hadn’t been in a formal learning environment for some time, and I have to admit it was daunting at first. However, the University was well equipped and understood my situation of not only being a Service leaver but also a mature student. The academic and pastoral support I received really helped my transition and enabled me to settle in and fulfil my potential. As a result of hard work in such a nurturing academic environment, I achieved a first-class Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Sports Studies.’

Simon’s university experience did not stop there. As a student, he introduced a project to provide inclusive sport facilities to people with disabilities. He went on to become a disability sports officer for City of York Council, before eventually returning to York St John to teach and inspire the students that follow in his footsteps. 

His legacy continues to this day as York St John University provides an ever-expanding range of sport activities to disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the regional community. ‘I’m really proud to have introduced inclusive sport to the university and that I was able to make a real difference to the city.’

The academic community at York St John continues to strive towards improving life for Veterans beyond the classroom. Nick Wood, Education and Development Lead at York St John University, served in the Royal Navy as an aircraft engineer before transitioning to civilian life in 1986. Nick’s role focuses on delivering ‘Understanding Military Culture and Transition’ training to the public sector, community groups and students, to create better opportunities for ex-Forces personnel. His work was recognised with a nomination for a Soldiering On award this year and a MoD Employer Recognition award for York St John. The University has signed the MoD Armed Forces Covenant in recognition of its commitment to support students and staff who are from the Armed Forces Community and is also a member of UNSWIS, supporting Wounded Injured and Sick Service Leavers.

York St John University is an approved learning provider under the Armed Forces Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) scheme, which provides financial support to qualifying Service personnel or leavers towards the cost of learning. ELC can currently be used towards payment for the following courses

  • Biomedical Science
  • Counselling, Coaching & Mentoring
  • Criminology
  • Physical Education & Sports Coaching
  • Physiotherapy
  • Police Studies
  • Psychology with Counselling
  • Sociology
  • Sport & Exercise Science
  • Sport & Exercise Therapy.

Advice and support is available at all stages of the learning journey at York St John, from guidance at application stage to practical and bespoke support during your period of study – and beyond into employment. 

Find out how to take the next step in your choice of learning at or contact the York St John University admissions team on 01904 876598 or by email at