Wigan army veteran secures job as supermarket driver thanks to helping hand
An army veteran is back on the road and forging a new career after receiving support from an organisation helping former military personnel.
Steven Eden, who lives in Lower Ince, spent five-and-a-half years serving his country as a member of the infantry for the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.
He did several tours of Northern Ireland and learned how to drive lorries in South Armagh, before returning to “Civvy Street” in 2005.
Because he had a HGV class two driving licence, Steven started work driving skip wagons when he returned home.
But it was a job he had to leave when he gave up his driving licence for five years for health reasons.
It was a real blow for Steven and after regaining his driving licence in 2019, he was keen to get back behind the wheel.
The army put him in contact with a not-for-profit organisation called Veterans Into Logistics, which supports ex-military personnel and their families who are finding it difficult to secure meaningful employment.
This includes veterans who are long-term unemployed, homeless or leaving custody, as well as those seeking a new career.
Steven, 45, said: “They got me my class one, they put me through my test. They also got me on a course for health and safety in the workplace level two. They got my test dates too.
“They took me out on driving lessons constantly and they got my test booked. It got cancelled because of Covid and it was put back to April.”
Steve secured his HGV class one driving licence and had an assessment for a job with supermarket giant Asda, with help again from Veterans Into Logistics.
And just four days after passing his test, he gained full-time employment as a lorry driver with the firm.
He started training for his new role last month and spent time shadowing other drivers, before getting behind the wheel alone.
Steven is delighted to have secured his new job and hopes to inspire his four children, his four-year-old grandson and the two grandchildren due to be born imminently.
He said: “I want to set a good example for my grandkids on the way. My son is 13 and likes seeing all the trucks.”
Steven is grateful to Veterans Into Logistics for all the help he has received as he aimed to return to a career on the roads.
He said: “I got myself in the frame of mind that I’m doing this because I want a decent job. They got me on the courses for class one and influenced me and said it would pay off eventually.
“It has paid off now, because I have my licence and certificates for all the courses I have done. I have done a lot of courses with Veterans Into Logistics.”
Life outside the army can sometimes be difficult for veterans, so Steven encouraged other former military personnel to follow in his footsteps.
He said: “They should get their HGV licence. You will always find work with that.
“People like getting stuck in and digging holes and moving bricks, but some people might like driving a vehicle and dragging goods off for companies. It depends what you like.”
Whatever people choose to do after the army, he encouraged them to be committed.
“Stick at it and get your goals done,” he said.
“If you want to achieve something, get stuck in.”
Steven recently received a cheque on behalf of Veterans Into Logistics from boxer Ricky Hatton, who donated £10,000 after hearing about the work done by the Heywood-based organisation.
The organisation is currently seeking funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to further their support to not only veterans, but also people with convictions.
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