A FORMER Royal Marine from Poole has inspired more than 400 people to get back into work or education since he joined the employment initiative Prospects four years ago.

Simon - a personal adviser for the Government's Work Programme - has been supporting those unemployed for more than 12 months using his experience as an ex-serviceman.

The Armed Forces provide training and support for personnel when they are discharged, provided by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). However, many veterans left the services before the formation of the CTP and are unaware of the support available to them.

Simon said: “Being a veteran isn’t something people know unless you disclose it to them and offer up the information. Some people do not understand you as an individual and your experiences. Many ex-service personnel find when they return to civvy street, they feel they don’t belong and don’t speak the same language as civilians, veterans often use service language and acronyms – these can also be very different between services.

“Being in the services is all encompassing, your routine and direction are often very fixed. When you leave you lose your home, your friends and your way of life, some people find the adjustment is often too great. As a former Royal Marine I can relate to it because I have lived and been through similar difficulties, having been out of work for almost a year after being medically discharged myself.”

Recently Simon has been working with a number of veterans to help them back into work. Eric is one of them and Simon has worked with Eric to improve his confidence and self-esteem.

Eric’s physical health issues from service continue, as these can often never be overcome, but he now understands the range of prospective employment and hours he needs to work to be better off. Simon also helped Eric to access support from other organisations including the Royal British Legion, Poppy Factory and Help for Heroes.

Eric is now hoping to return to work within the security sector after completing the required SIA qualifications with Prospects. Eric has attended interviews through the Poppy Factory and local employers and has been offered flexible hours to suit him.

Nick Bell, Prospects chief executive, said: “As someone with family members who served in the forces I know how difficult it can be for some people to make the transition into life on civvy street. I am delighted that Prospects play a crucial role in helping many people make this transition more easily, and that we are able to support Simon in the development of the EXFOR+ Community Interest Company, which will help strengthen that support even further.”

Visit gettingthesouthwestworking.co.uk for more information or contact Simon at info@exforplus.org.