Many of you will recall seeing many emails and other social media messages asking for help with a soldier who was looking for an IT support position in Essex.

We are thrilled to announce that Stephen started a new job today within his chosen area of employment.

Stephen was shot in the leg in Afghanistan. Upon returning to duties in the UK Stephen’s injury was holding him back from his planned career path, in The Grenadiers, and after many months of seeing others doing the things he was unable to do he was diagnosed with suffering from depression and was medically discharged.

He was steered towards Soldier On! and completed our Individual Career Management Pathway, working with David Royston-Lee and Nicholas Harrison. With our help, Stephen identified his ideal role as being an IT support worker and so he began looking for vacancies armed with a new CV and able to discuss his suitability for a career in this field. He called us to let us know how he was getting on and sadly he informed us that every job interview he had gone for had resulted in his being told that he had a great attitude, presentation etc but lacked either 6 months or a year’s civilian IT experience, (depending on who he spoke to). It was clear that he was getting increasingly depressed and was asking us if he should just take any old job and forget any ‘dreams’ of a role in IT.

So, we started the cold calling, and as you may have seen, a lot of calls to action on various social media sites. To be honest, we too were getting increasingly worried. Within a fairly short space of time, like the London bus, two opportunities arose. An email was sent out by the Grenadier’s Association, (Thank you Major Green) and Chris from Vigilance Properties Ltd contacted us to make an introduction to Dashwood IT Solutions. We were very excited when Jonathon from Dashwood interviewed Stephen and offered him a role. Dashwood is a start up business and although we were extremely grateful to Jonathon for his progressive attitude and no nonsense approach to hiring, the role was as a consultant and ad-hoc. We discussed things with Stephen and felt that what he really needed was to find a role that would offer him training and stability through sourcing full time employment and be on PAYE.

A bit more research and cold calling and we reached out to Paul Finch, CEO of Konetic. An article in a local paper highlighted Paul’s commitment to helping armed forces personnel into employment – he seemed an ideal person and business to introduce Stephen to. As luck would have it, Paul’s own business was looking for an IT support worker and agreed to meet Stephen.

We were over the moon to hear that after three interviews and having competed against other candidates Stephen was offered a job with Konetic. We do have to add a touch of reality to this great story and that is that although Stephen’s attitude, standards and values are extremely high, he does have a huge amount to learn and he will need to pass many exams to stay on top of his training if he is to get through his probation. So, we will keep our fingers crossed for Stephen but at the moment we must congratulate him for passing his interviews and securing a role that he wanted to pursue.

We are also extremely grateful to Konetic and above all to Paul Finch who invested the time to meet Stephen and who made the effort to understand Stephen’s abilities and not dismiss him at the first sift of CVs because he didn’t have months of ‘civilian’ experience. We were also grateful that he accepted our cold call in the first place!

He has written to us to say:

“Paul Finch created and led a programme of support to help ex-armed forces personnel find work through running seminars, workshops and 1-2-1 coaching. Over the least 5 years he has indirectly helped some 500 soldiers gain employment. When approached by Soldier On,! a voluntary organisation to help bridge the gap between the Soldiers and Employers, Paul was readily able to support the initiatives being offered. Being a firm believer of the value the trained soldier can bring to a company, Paul has taken his own medicine and hired a soldier to support the growing needs of his own business. Soldier On! made a successful and intelligent introduction which has worked for all parties”.