Armed forces veteran Carl Smith – who served for 43 years in the Army – is starting a new career as an HGV driver for Asda thanks to our partnership with Veterans into Logistics.
We've worked with the charity for two years and have just donated £40,000 to provide training and mentoring for 10 veterans to pass their HGV licences and then take up driving roles with us.
Sixty-year-old Carl, who left the Armed Forces in September this year, joined as a junior soldier in 1979 and served as a regular in the 3rd Royal Horse Artillery for 22 years before becoming a full-term reservist with the Royal Artillery Regiment. He left with a rank of Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant.
Liverpool-born Carl served in Northern Ireland, Germany, Kosovo and Bosnia and saw action in the first Gulf War in 1991. He's been married to Paula for 40 years and has five children and seven grandchildren.
He got in touch with Veterans into Logistics as soon as he left the Armed Forces and he's now a trainee HGV driver at our Skelmersdale depot.
Carl said: "Getting this job means a lot. I envisioned having to get my CV done for all kinds of jobs and sending them off to people and take a gamble like everyone else but Veterans into Logistics opened those doors and got me a direct link into Asda. I really appreciate the fact that Asda have taken me on.
"I think it's amazing what Asda and Veterans into Logistics are doing. I did not expect it to be honest. What they have done for myself is great but what they are doing for other people who are probably less fortunate than me is amazing. It's a really good thing and I hope more companies will look at doing it.
"Some people may think that because you've been in the military all your life you are boxed off and sorted, but you're not. There are lots of people with lots of problems still who need gainful employment."
Carl has been working in the transport office at Skelmersdale while he does his HGV training.
He said: "The plan is that when I pass my HGV test then I will be buddied up for six to eight weeks with an experienced driver and they will teach me the ropes until I'm deemed ready to take to the roads on my own. The whole set up is really good and I’m so happy to be employed by Asda."
Veterans into Logistics CCO Major Ian Battersby is passionate about supporting ex-military personnel. Alongside the charity’s dedicated driver training scheme, the team also provide personal mentoring as they understand the skills, discipline, and hard-working ethos that ex-military personnel have from their careers in the armed forces.
Major Battersby and the team make it their mission to support those who have fallen on hard times after leaving the military as some can slip through the net, ending up unemployed, homeless, suffering with addiction issues or even in prison.
Major Battersby said: “We are extremely grateful for this donation from Asda which will enable us to train 10 veterans into new careers as HGV drivers.
“We are so pleased that Asda continue to partner with us and see the benefits of employing veterans with the dedication and skills they bring. We have already upskilled and supported veterans who are working for Asda Logistic Services who say they are enjoying their new careers and feel respected and appreciated by Asda.
“This donation will be life-changing for the veterans it supports, bringing structure, stability and financial security.”
Melanie Richmond, training manager at Asda Logistic Services, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Veterans into Logistics with this investment that will help to support 10 armed forces veterans with the opportunity to be upskilled to hold an HGV licence.
"We have been working with Veterans into Logistics for the last two years, helping them with their vision of supporting and rehabilitating ex armed forces back into work and civilian life and the next step of their life journey.”
"Veterans into Logistics has had an exceptional first two years by either successfully training or supporting hundreds of ex-military personnel into new HGV driving careers, featuring in a BBC 1 documentary, receiving high-profile ministerial visits from the Cabinet Office and being awarded the prestigious Gold Armed Forces Covenant for their support to reservists, service leavers and the veteran community."