‘’I am very proud of myself and I still cannot thank you enough for the help you gave me in finding this job. It’s really starting to feel like I’m getting at least one aspect of my life back on track."

Andrew joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1990 prior to the Gulf War, serving in Germany with 3 Armoured Field Ambulance then returned to the UK once the Gulf War had ended. Soon after his return, he transferred to Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) due to the reduced demand for medics during the current time of peace. Andrew quickly became a model student flying through his class 2 training in 4 Armoured Workshop.

In June 1994 Andrew had a motorbike accident and his local hospital failed to diagnose the extent of his injuries; he had severely damaged 2 vertebrae in his neck, this was later diagnosed by an Orthopaedic Surgeon, Army Officer, while deployed in Cyprus. Unfortunately, there was no treatment available (without high risk) so to this day Andrew continues to self-manage the pain on a daily basis.

Andrew spent a further two years in the Army during which time he was deployed to Cyprus, Kuwait, and the Falklands. Andrew completed his service in 1997 but struggled with resettlement flitting from job to job in a bid to find a challenging role. He took on factory work, work within a power press workshop finally becoming more settled as Power Press Technician, a role in which he worked for 9 years completing a HNC during this time.

In 2013 a family bereavement knocked Andrew for six and as a result work and home life suffered. Andrew suffered from anxiety and depression and as he puts it, he felt like “he dropped the ball” and subsequently statutory inspection in the workplace resulted in suspension, on full pay. On January 4 this year Andrew was dismissed from the well-respected role of Engineer Surveyor.

Two months of unemployment followed but not one to sit back Andrew found employment as a water pump engineer it was outdoors and the weather conditions were poor he soon moved on to a role as an escalator engineer but the role was providing him with no challenge, this combined with low pay was detrimental to his mental health and wellbeing. Depression and Anxiety continued to prevail.   

By sheer chance, during a biking event, Andrew began chatting to a military comrade who happened to be a Welfare Officer at Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) Manchester office. The Welfare Officer quickly realised newly-appointed Birmingham-based WWTW Employment Advisor (EA) would be able to provide Andrew with some support, guidance, and direction.

In May 2018, the WWTW EA explored various employment options and supported Andrew in a review of his CV, helping him to make it role-specific ready for employment applications. Andrew appreciated this support, dyslexia was a further obstacle that presented him with personal challenges.

In August 2018 Andrews EA identified a Mechanical Engineer employment opportunity with Lloyds British that would meet Andrew’s needs and promptly provided him with the application form for completion. Andrew set about applying for the post and following his application he was offered an interview.

His WWTW EA put together some mock interviews tailored around the job description and discussed how best to approach his employment history when questioned, this had become a huge sticking point in previous interviews. It was agreed the best approach would be for Andrew to be honest, reflecting with positivity on what he had learned from his past experiences.

Andrew attended the interview feeling confident and supported. Shortly after the interview, he received a verbal offer of employment, followed by a formal offer, his new job title being Inspection Test Engineer. The fact that his employer is ex-Navy has been highly beneficial to Andrew, he fully understands Andrews day to day challenges and has proved to be extremely supportive.     

Andrew commented: "I am very proud of myself and I still cannot thank my Walking With The Wounded EA enough for the help he gave me in finding this job. It’s really starting to feel like I’m getting at least one aspect of my life back on track."

As a nation, we need to support our soldiers when they return to normal life. Walking with the wounded supports these veterans back into work.