John was enlisted in the TA Fourth Battalion Devon and Dorset / Royal Wessex Yeomanry. He was transferred to the Queen’s Royal Lancers in 2000, following a UN deployment to Cyprus, reached the rank of Corporal and was discharged on 20th December 2010.
John was asthmatic but needed to be clear for 4 years before he could join the regular Army, which is why he joined the Territorial Army.
Since his discharge in 2010 John struggled to secure employment and spent a while working on door-to-door commission only basis work, but this was unsuitable for him. He did some work for UPS, originally loading the vehicles with parcels, then became a driver covering two large industrial areas of Manchester. This proved to be too stressful for him so he left. He then began working in a bar in South Manchester and ended up managing the bar for one year. He used the job as an excuse to hide away, and became a ‘workaholic.’ In 2012 the bar closed down and John lost his job (on the day his son was born).
His son (Noah) was born in May 2012 (now 3 years old).
John did a 12 week contract as a caretaker at Salix Homes, with Salford Council, and then took up a post as a security guard, working shifts on the concierge desk of a 22 storey block of flats in Manchester.
John was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012 and spent 6 weeks with Combat Stress in one of their Residential Centres. One week after his return home, the social services visited his home and forced him out onto the streets.
John went to stay with his Mum in Torquay for a short period of time, but due to having suicidal thoughts he contacted the Crisis team at Torquay A&E. He made the decision to return to the Manchester area so he could be close to his estranged wife and son and get back into work.
He lived in his car for 6 weeks following which the RBL helped John secure a flat. John struggled financially and with being on his own. He felt isolated in his flat, and the security job he was doing was a ‘lone working’ job.
John felt he was in a vicious cycle – breakdowns, sickness absence from work, then returning to work etc. He made the decision to speak to his employers’ occupational health department and considered medical redeployment. John began shadowing a Project Assistant, with a housing association, undertaking administrative tasks and he recognised a big change in himself – the change was “outstanding”. He was unsuccessful in applying for two vacancies with his employer, and his job there was due to end on 18th October. His lack of success in the interviews really knocked his confidence.
John is determined to find employment/training and is interested in Project Management but also a Trade such as an electrician. He wants to be functioning at the same levels he was whilst he was in the Army.
John has been given one of the DIY SOS Big Build homes in Manchester. He was interviewed during the Big Build and on the first day found himself having two live TV interviews, one pre-recorded interview with North West Eye (newspaper) and two radio interviews. John is keen to keep the momentum and the feel-good factor going.
John has completed his Vocational Assessment with the RBLI and his CPP report indicates that he is very suited to any role involving hands on practical work, which is detail orientated and goal focused, such as becoming an Electrician. He is also interested in Engineering and Instructing which are also suitable. John does have some difficulties with concentration and it is hoped that he will undertake further assessments in verbal, numerical and mechanical reasoning.
John has recently started an Electrical Apprenticeship with Smart Electrical and Walking With The Wounded will be supporting him as he progresses on his journey to re-training and sustainable employment.
John commented: “Following the Regimental motto “Fight to the Finish” is what keeps me going. I refuse to give up and am very grateful to Walking With The Wounded for the support they have given me.”