Practical and personalised support makes the difference for Adam

Dan Hodges Case Studies, General

Adam’s career with the Royal Engineers saw him clearing minefields, building bridges and protecting his regiment from improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan. But when he left the military, it took one of The Poppy Factory’s Employment Consultants to convince him he had the skills needed to apply for a job that he really wanted.

Stark contrast to Army life

Adam said: “When I decided to leave the military, the transition service just didn’t work for me. If I’m honest, it seemed like a tick box exercise and I didn’t really benefit from it at all. After some big disappointments with potential roles that never came to anything, I found myself in short–term contracts on production lines and in warehouses so I could pay the bills and put food on the table. It was a massive contrast to my career with the Royal Engineers.”

After a more permanent position in a plastics firm was cut due to a global reduction in demand for plastic, Adam found himself at the job centre applying for anything that seemed even vaguely relevant.

He said: “With job changes and redundancy and the feeling of being on my own, my confidence was knocked, and I was struggling to see my value in the civilian workplace.”

Local NHS links

Then his contact at the Jobcentre Plus mentioned The Poppy Factory, which was working closely with local NHS services on the Wirral to support veterans with mental and physical health conditions into employment.

“I’d heard of the Poppy Factory,” Adam explains, “but I didn’t realise they had an employment service specifically for veterans. I’m so glad that I was given their details – it was genuinely a life-changing moment.”

Andrew Pickersgill became Adam’s Poppy Factory employment consultant.

Building trust

“There is not a chance I would have got my current job if it hadn’t been for Andrew,” Adam continues. “He had a long history of working with veterans and it showed. He understood that my military experience would be useful to employers – without me having to go into great detail about what I had done. When I first met Andrew, I honestly could not identify a single skill that I had, that would be useful in a civilian job. For me, his specialist expertise was the difference between applying for a job I really wanted and settling for anything that I thought I might get.”

“Andrew was really supportive; he knew that adjusting to civilian life can be tricky. I found the working culture very different. In the military you have one focus – not letting other people down. It’s that simple. And although there was rivalry between regiments, at the end of the day I knew every single person had my back – if the chips were down I could rely on them. It took me a long time to get used to the fact that it’s just not like that in the civilian workplace.

Practical and personalised

“It was brilliant to have everything designed around me. I was asked where I wanted to meet – in an office, in a park, in a café – wherever I felt most comfortable. The whole approach was based around what I wanted to do, what I really wanted to do, and how The Poppy factory could help me. But it’s not a nannying thing – Andrew didn’t just do things for me, he showed me how to do them, he helped, advised and listened to me.

“There were practical things that The Poppy Factory also provided, such as getting a grant from another veterans’ charity to buy a laptop to help with job applications. With such a dedicated service I finally had the confidence to apply and go through the rigorous selection process for a great job with G4S, one of the world’s leading security companies.  Andrew empowered me to achieve the best I could, so that when I finally did get this job, I was proud because I had done it myself.”

New report

A recent report praises a ground-breaking programme in the north west of England that has given GPs and mental health teams the opportunity to prescribe career coaching for ex-Forces patients.

The specialist service, delivered by employment consultants embedded within an NHS health centre, was developed by experts at The Poppy Factory as part of a programme to overcome barriers to employment that can affect some veterans after they leave the Armed Forces and transition into civilian life.

News: Doctors prescribe career coaching for ex-Forces patients

Read the full report