Our 2021 Virtual Conference Keynote Speakers | Air Vice-Marshal Paterson

We are delighted to welcome Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson as a keynote speaker for our 2021 virtual conference in November.

Our conference is about putting trauma and trauma-informed practice into the context of children and young people from forces families and exploring the impact their unique experiences can have on mental health and wellbeing, relationships with others and future pathways in life. If we embed trauma-informed practice in our work is that enough to support Armed Forces Children and Young people? Is there anything else we should be considering? Is there anything we need to be mindful of in relation to this group of children and young people’s unique experiences Whatever your background, our conference is an opportunity to join us in this exploration and conversation.

Why another conference on trauma-informed practice?

We know that trauma can affect any one of us and that the Scottish Government’s ambition, shared by many partners, is for a trauma informed workforce and services across Scotland. At Royal Caledonian Education Trust (RCET), like many other organisations, we have been re-evaluating our organisational practice through a trauma lens and asking ourselves is there anything we need to take into consideration that is specific to the unique experiences of children and young people, from serving personnel, reservist and veteran families across Scotland? We have been exploring the research and listening to what our young people tell us.

Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson CB OBE ADC DL BSc PGCE FCIPD

Paterson was commissioned in 1983 and spent his initial years in the RAF in a variety of engineering and officer training appointments across the Service, including RAF Cosford, RAF College Cranwell and RAF Marham.

Subsequently responsible for RAF ground training policy as a wing commander, he secured significant in-house training efficiencies and also created a marketing partnership for RAF training that continues to realise major benefits. He moved to RAF Leuchars as OC Administrative Wing in 1998 where he also served as a full member of its Mountain Rescue Team, involved in numerous operational callouts. 

Promoted to serve in the Ministry of Defence Central Staff undertaking HR policy duties, he moved to RAF Brampton/Wyton/Henlow as Station Commander in 2003.  There he was responsible for the support of some 6000 military and civilian personnel at 4 separate sites, including 2 active airfields, with a round trip of 150 miles between them all. He then returned to Whitehall and, following promotion to air rank, provided the Defence lead for all personnel remuneration policy, including the introduction of a new Pension Scheme across the 3 Services. 

In 2009 he was invited to join the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the Cabinet Office, advising on strategic leadership, before moving to HQ Air Command as Assistant Chief of Staff Personnel Policy (RAF).  As well as specialist HR services, this post provided key RAF policy input to the 2010 Strategic Defence Review, work that has since been adopted as core defence policy.

He was appointed as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2001 and then as a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in 2014. He was subsequently appointed as an ADC to Her Majesty the Queen in 2016 and is also a Deputy Lieutenant for Fife. Air Vice-Marshal Paterson is married to Helen (a civilian Doctor) and has 2 sons, both now working as junior doctors. With a family home in Fife, his interests include his small-holding, rural life, hill walking and training a working dog (not a doctor) for the first time.

On attending the conference, Air Vice-Marshal Paterson says:

“I am delighted to again join RCET at their annual conference, and to join in your discussion as to how we can improve the opportunities for Service Families, and especially Service Children.”

Who Should Attend the Conference?

Since being trauma-informed is a national ambition within Scotland, relevant to all of us, our conference will be of interest to a wide variety of people who wish to expand upon their continual professional development; from those working within education, social care, community, armed forces and the third sector. Our virtual conference is an opportunity for professionals working with Armed Forces children, young people and families to come together, hear about and share good practice.

• Primary/secondary education
• Further/higher education
• Community/Youth/third sector
• Clinical Practitioners (Psychology/Mental Health/Social Care)
• Military Welfare Personnel
• Undergraduate/Postgraduate Students
• Policy & Development


The Conference will be held virtually this year to ensure that it can go ahead safely due to the ever-changing situation of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

For further information about our virtual conference, please email conference@rcet.org.uk