newelectronics.co.uk: Comment piece by Professor Ewart Keep (Director of the Centre for Skills, Knowledge and Organisation Performance).
PGCE Chemistry student Faith Fordham is a Royal Navy veteran who lives in Oxfordshire.
She was medically discharged in 2011 having sustained minor physical injuries in Afghanistan and has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Faith has been successfully combining her PGCE studies with intensive training and she has now been selected to represent the United Kingdom in the Invictus Games in September 2017 in Toronto. Canadian-born Faith hopes to compete in rowing, powerlifting, athletics and swimming at the international sporting event for wounded, ill and injured military personnel and veterans. Faith said: “When I was medically discharged it felt like my world was torn apart. The military was my life and it was all I wanted my life to be. I lost my identity. I became severely depressed, leading to periods of time where I have been unable to leave my house and at one point even attempted to take my own life.” After a difficult few years, Faith now feels ready to face what the future holds. “My depression always clouded my future, which made it impossible to set any goals. However, having something to focus on has shown me that I do not need to be defined by my illness. Since starting training, my confidence has risen and I have found a reason to get up in the morning. I am slowly figuring out who I am and where I belong.” Faith has had to manage the demands of the PGCE alongside her Invictus training schedule which has been quite challenging but she has really enjoyed the course and has found all the tutors and placement schools to be very helpful and encouraging. From September she will be teaching in an Oxfordshire school, which has been very accommodating in allowing her time to travel to the Invictus Games.