A triple amputee veteran has praised the work of Royal British Legion Industries employment support programme, LifeWorks, as the charity looks for further support to help the country’s most vulnerable veterans find work.
Andy Reid MBE was serving in Afghanistan in 2009 when he initiated an improvised explosive device, losing both his legs and his right arm in the blast. Andy served in the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, serving for 13 years before his injury. However, the Dad of two did not let his injuries hold him back he’s gone on to raise more than £100,000 for charity and told his story all over the UK.
The former Corporal spoke at a LifeWorks event held at RBLI’s Aylesford village. The event brought together representatives from across the military charity, public and private sectors to showcase how they can help improve the lives of out-of-work Armed Forces veterans by referring them to the programme.
Established in 2011, LifeWorks has supported veterans and their families across the UK with 83% of beneficiaries finding employment, training or volunteering with 12 months. Additionally, almost 80% of LifeWorks attendees have physical or mental injuries.
The programme, which has supported 1,500 veterans to date, begins with a 5-day residential course that enables veterans to understand the transferability of their military skills in the civilian workplace. They are taught how to write a winning CV, how to access the hidden jobs market, and develops interview techniques. All beneficiaries then have on-going support through the programme’s unique 12 month ReachBack process and seeks to build confidence and self-efficacy.
LifeWorks was backed by Andy who knows only too well the importance of readily available support to veterans facing difficult circumstances.
Andy said: “Veterans don’t want a hand out, they want a hand up. They are a very proud people who struggle to ask for help and when they do put their hand up, we need to make sure that we’re able to provide that help for them.”
I was delighted to be asked to share my personal story since leaving the Army a life that’s been filled with as much adventure as when I was serving.
It was a pleasure to speak to everyone about how I managed to find a sense of purpose again, and importantly, about how vital LifeWorks is to veterans keen to use their experience, determination and skills as best they can.
Garrath Williams, RBLI’s Head of Armed Forces Employment Support, who leads the LifeWorks programme, said: The vast majority of veterans transition into the civilian world relatively easily. However, too many require additional support to help stabilise their lives and find purposeful and sustained work.
I’m incredibly proud to say that LifeWorks has drastically improved the lives of veterans of all three services, from across the country as well as those based abroad. We couldn’t have done that without support, whether that’s from our generous funders or those organisations who look to us when they meet a veteran who can benefit from our work.
And as we move forward into this new decade, we’re always looking for other organisations to signpost veterans in our direction. So whether you’re a local authority, fellow military charity, or just someone who knows a veteran in need of support, please put them in touch with us so we can continue to make a genuine difference to the lives of ex-servicemen and women.
To learn more about LifeWorks and the work the programme is doing to support our veterans, visit https://www.wearelifeworks.org.uk, call 0800 319 6844 or email [email protected].