100 Lives: RAF veteran gets off to new start

RAF veteran Jim gets new career off the ground after stroke recovery 

Dan Hodges Case Studies, General

Jim served for many years in the RAF and in public service until a stroke left him temporarily paralysed down one side, bringing a sudden end to his career and financial turmoil. With help from The Poppy Factory, he was able to retrain and set out on a brand new path as a health and safety specialist.

100 Lives: RAF veteran gets off to new startJim said: “I’ve always been employed. I served for six years all over the world in the RAF, then I moved into the public sector for many years.

“In my public services job I was probably working a 100-hour week, and my diet wasn’t very good. Then one Christmas, I had a stroke that left me paralysed down one side for 18 months.

“I loved my work but the decision was made for me that I had to leave the job. It was devastating. I was the main breadwinner for my family, but I started having to rely on credit cards and I ended up at breaking point, £30,000 in debt.

“I needed to get back into work, and Kirsty at The Poppy Factory really supported me. She would always go the extra mile.

“Coming from a background that’s quite process-driven, health and safety seemed like a good industry to go into. I needed to retrain and Kirsty helped me apply for funding from the RAF Benevolent Fund to do my Prince 2 qualification.

“I struggled to get a foot in the door with a lot of employers, but Kirsty directed me towards lots of different organisations and eventually I was able to get a job working in health and safety with Wilmott Dixon. It was a massive relief. I’ve always been a grafter – now I can focus on doing a good job, establishing myself and building up a good reputation.”

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