The WWTW Employment Advisor had background information on my situation which made it much easier for me. As we began to talk, I felt the employment world open up for me, I grew in confidence, and I realised that I actually did have a lot to offer potential employers.'


Lewis joined the Parachute Regiment in 2008 and really enjoyed the banter, comradery, and the sense of belonging that Army life offered. 


Sadly, in 2011, Lewis sustained a serious spinal injury as the result of a fall whilst on holiday. Initially, he was told that he would never walk again but then he started to have some movement in his toes. Within 6 weeks, through sheer hard work and determination, Lewis was able to stand again and walk.


He returned from sick leave on medication - he had been prescribed strong painkillers by his Doctor to cope with the ongoing pain that resulted from his injury. Slowly but surely, Lewis managed to lower his dependency on the painkillers. 

Despite his injuries, Lewis went out on exercise but soon realised that he could not continue the rigorous training without putting his health at further risk. Doctors advised him that his injury would only get worse if he continued in the Parachute Regiment and in 2012, Lewis was medically discharged.   


After leaving the Army, Lewis went through the Army resettlement process and then secured a job working in construction as a labourer. However, due to the heavy nature of the work, he soon realised that construction work would not be the best option for him in the long term. It was crucial for Lewis to seek alternative, sustainable, employment.


‘I felt that I had left the Army with no real aim and it made me feel very low and with no sense of belonging - I had lost my career, my friends and all my motivation.’ 


On top of his own personal issues, his Mum was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and Lewis started to struggle to deal with the situation. He looked for support and was referred to Walking With The Wounded.  


Lewis first met with his WWTW Employment Advisor (EA) in December 2018. Together they discussed Lewis’s career aspirations and the EA helped Lewis to recreate his CV tailoring it to highlight the transferable skills he had gained in the Army. 


In his heart of hearts, Lewis knew he would like to work in a role that supported and cared for others. He explored voluntary work options so that he could gain work experience and then, with the support of his WWTW EA, he began to consider employment options within the NHS. 

 

His WWTW EA supported him to make an application for a Stabilisation Worker contracted under the Complex Treatment Team within the NHS. The role entailed supporting veterans with PTSD and help them to gain social stability whilst they were undergoing treatment – it was a new service offered by the Complex Treatment Services.


Feeling enthused Lewis and his WWTW EA set to work preparing for the interview. His EA arranged for Lewis to speak with one of the workers on the Complex Treatment Team to inform him about the role and to build his knowledge of what the work entailed. The EA also set up mock interviews for Lewis and they practiced techniques and answering questions tailored towards this particular role. 


Lewis attended the interview and answered questions with clarity and confidence – he was so well prepared that he was able to give strong answers to all the questions asked of him.


‘Thanks to all the preparation work that I’d done with my Employment Advisor, I had a really positive experience of the interview. Even if I hadn’t got the job, the fact that I had answered the questions to the best of my ability lifted my spirits and I left feeling happy.’ 


The WWTW EA supported Lewis throughout his interview day and waited for feedback from the employer following the interview. Lewis did not have long to wait as later that day he was offered the position.


Lewis is now enjoying his work with the Complex Treatment Services. His own personal journey has been instrumental in building his skills and knowledge in support of the well-being of others.

UK Armed Forces Charity