Three wounded, injured and sick veterans have graduated from Wiltshire College and secured new careers following six weeks of intensive training as part of Siemens Rail Automation’s Military2Rail initiative.
The three WIS worked alongside seven other ex-military personnel and completed a mixture of work-based and college training which was delivered and funded by a partnership between Siemens and Wiltshire College in Chippenham.
On completing the course, Paul Wilson, of Salisbury, who served for 10 years with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers before being diagnosed with PTSD said: “Since leaving the Army in 2012, I have received fantastic support from Help for Heroes who are helping me deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and prepare for a new career.
“I have been searching for a meaningful job where I can fully utilise the skills that I gained in the Army and was absolutely delighted to be chosen for the first Military2Rail training programme. I am now really looking forward to working with a new team of people in Siemens’ Chippenham office where I will be taking on the role of Trainee Signal Design Engineer.”
Clint Williams served for 8 years in the Royal Artillery but a back injury, sustained during basic training, together with the onset of PTSD, meant his military career came to an abrupt end.
“When I was told by Help for Heroes about the opportunity with Siemens, I jumped at the chance,” Clint explained. “I grew up in South Africa where I had experience working with steam trains so it’s an area I’ve always wanted to pursue.
“This new start feels like I have finally taken control of my life again. I owe so much of that to the Pathfinder course and the Help for Heroes team. Prior to my discharge, I was in such a low place but they picked me up and restored my confidence and belief that things could get better. Now that’s coming to fruition and I cannot wait to get started.”
Both Paul and Clint completed the Pathfinder course at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, Tedworth House, which aims to inspire, enable and support those transitioning out of the military and into civilian life to help them find a new and fulfilling future.
David Attmere, himself a former Warrant Officer with the Royal Engineers and now a Project Director with Siemens said: “There is a real skills shortage in the rail industry, which cannot be remedied by recruiting apprentices, graduates and trainees alone.
“We have developed this initiative specifically for former armed forces personnel; ready-trained and highly-skilled individuals who I am confident will become first class rail engineers. But not only will they bring much-needed technical skills to our industry, they are also highly motivated and loyal. Above all, they have proven leadership and team-working skills which will be invaluable.”
Siemens worked closely with Help for Heroes in establishing this programme and identifying potential candidates. Yesterday (January 4), the ten trainees started a permanent position within Siemens, in roles including Design Engineers, Testers and Installation Team Leaders.
Susan Turnbull, Head of Career Recovery at Help for Heroes, said: “When an injury occurs, it can change your life instantly and, before you know it, what you thought would be a career for life has gone. Suddenly you are left with the feeling of “What next?”
“Through our Career Recovery programmes, we help injured servicemen and women identify a new fulfilling future. We believe the skills of servicemen and women, such as communication, problem solving, leadership and teamwork, make them highly employable and valuable to the civilian workplace. We are extremely grateful to Siemens for offering three of our wounded heroes a new and purposeful career outside of the Armed Forces.”
Rob Hand, Deputy Director at the Wiltshire College’s Chippenham campus said: “The Military2Rail programme has been a fantastic opportunity to introduce service people into a much needed area where there is a skills shortage.
“It has enabled the candidates to transfer their skills from the services to a national company and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them and Siemens.”