Jaguar Land Rover's Invictus Games work placement legacy programme has seen the first five successful participants being offered a permanent position at the company. The bespoke training programme is designed to help rehabilitate wounded, injured and sick ex-personnel and aid transition into civilian careers. Staff Sergeant Wayne Walker, formerly of the Queen's Royal Lancers has joined the Solihull manufacturing team as a Process Leader, following completion of the company's inaugural twelve week programme.
Wayne, 36, joined the training programme on 1st December 2014 after being medically discharged from a 19 year military career, which saw him serve in operational tours of Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. It was in Iraq that he sustained a serious knee injury following the detonation of a vehicle born IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Wayne has since undergone close to 20 operations to his left knee and lower leg.
Speaking of this new chapter in his life, Wayne said: "I was put forward for this opportunity via The Armed Forces' Motorsport Charity - Mission Motorsport which supports those leaving the Forces. I wasn't sure what would come out of it but I've received incredible support throughout the programme from my family and everyone at Jaguar Land Rover. I am delighted to have been offered this permanent position which means security for my family's future and has been a great confidence boost. I hope this will inspire others also leaving the Forces."
The bespoke training course followed the company's support of the 2014 Invictus Games and subsequent signing of the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant which recognises the close alignment between Jaguar Land Rover values and the passionate, unstoppable, persistence of armed forces veterans. The scheme joins a range of initiatives from the firm which was named Responsible Business of the Year in 2013* - including the 'Early Service Leaver' programme, all of which are designed to deliver against the company's pledge to achieve a 50% year on year improvement in the recruitment of former Armed Forces personnel.
In 2014, Jaguar Land Rover recruited some 100 ex-military personnel and has committed to a further 150 this year. The company believes that those leaving the military have vital and transferable skills including engineering expertise, discipline, team working and communication skills.
Gregg Niblett, Defender Manufacturing Manager who is ex-military himself and will now be Wayne's manager said: "I am delighted to welcome Wayne to Jaguar Land Rover. For someone who has only spent their career in the forces, it is a huge step to transition over to civilian life and Wayne's 'can do' attitude has enabled him to apply himself to the job. There is a thriving ex-forces community at the Solihull plant and we get together regularly to support new recruits transitioning to civilian careers both within work and outside through community and charitable initiatives."
The remaining four recruits include Corporal Neil Stonard and Lance Corporal Richard Storer.
Neil served for 18 years in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) as a Vehicle Technician. Through the MOD's Recovery Career Services which provide career and resettlement support to Wounded, Injured and Sick personnel, he has secured a role within the company's Special Vehicle Operations.
Richard secured a role in the design department based in Gaydon after being introduced to the programme by Mission Motorsport having completed a vocational assessment programme through recovery sport.
*Jaguar Land Rover was awarded Responsible Business of the Year in 2013 by Business in the Community (BITC).