We catch up with one of our long-term unemployed participants who has just started a new job.
I left the Army a long time ago, but like a lot of former ex-service people, I found it hard to establish that elusive second career.
I had an abiding interest in Archaeology and completed a degree in the subject with the intention of working in the profession. However, it became quickly apparent on graduation that there was no long-term career prospect in the sector, and I had a family to provide for. As I had been out of the work environment for so long it was difficult if not impossible to secure employment due to my age, health and lack of experience.
Luckily, I was introduced to the archaeology-based program that is run by Soldier On! which not only helped rebuild my confidence but also my sense of place, my strengths and self-worth. In addition, I made amazing friends that have helped me rebuild my life and a career. When I had problems, there was always somebody at the other end of a phone or on-line to lend support, advise and help to keep up my spirts.
One of my big issues was getting a reference and a letter of recommendation for prospective employers. Having attended a Soldier On! project, and having taken on roles and responsibilities on an archaeological dig, the charity was able to provide a reference as well as a statement of strengths that they observed in me. This was the catalyst that helped me secure employment in a job that has real prospects and progression. Without their help and support I would not have got that job!
What they do is more than just archaeology or heritage (which was still great fun). Soldier On! delivers an integrated program that helps the people taking part to become a more successful person.