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RECCE & Enable Partnership

Credit: Enable Infratructure

ENABLE JOINS FORCES WITH PROJECT RECCE TO HELP VETERANS INTO WORK 18 APRIL 2023 Enable Infrastructure’s rapidly growing South Wales team was recently boosted by Stuart Kelleher as a trainee supervisor. First introduced to Enable by Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director at Transport for Wales, Stuart joins after the successful completion of a course led by Project RECCE – a charity dedicated to helping veterans transition into the world of construction. On Project RECCE, Karl, an ambassador for the charity said: “The aim of the pilot course is to assist veterans who are currently being supported by DWP through Universal Credit and seeking employment, by providing awareness training of the construction sector with tangible links to Welsh employers. The course is conducted within a safe training environment that would help to build self-confidence, self-worth, and team cohesion.” Morgan Clarke, Social Value Manager, sat down with Stuart to discuss his journey through the military and why he decided to pick infrastructure as his next career move, in the hope to inspire more people to follow in his footsteps. Stuart: “I was a bit of a problem child growing up, I started getting in with the wrong crowds and I could see myself going down the wrong path. So, in August 2008 when I was 19, I decided to join the military. After 6 months of training, I joined the Royal Welsh Battalion and by February 2009, I was deployed to Afghanistan.” “That was the first time I had ever been on a plane, so it was a bit of a bizarre experience for me… no one warned me that your ears popped like that! It all just felt completely surreal.” “Once I got to camp, I trained to be a gunner in the warriors. Typically, you would go off to Canada to do some retraining for 5-6 weeks but on this occasion, I was kept at camp. There was a cease-fire when I arrived which lasted 2 weeks, so a lot of my time was spent walking around for a show of force but soon after we had an operation come through which was part of Panther’s Claw. It aimed to secure various canal and river crossings to establish a permanent International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) presence in the area.” “I was sent up in a warrior to support clearing an IED hill when unsurprisingly, we were blown up. My commander was map reading and I was in the gunner seat next to him, when as we progressed around the hill the back end was blown out. The turret was thrown whilst I was still inside, and I realised fast I couldn’t feel anything from my hip down. I managed to climb out and reorient myself. In shock, I was taken back to Brize Norton by Medivac and eventually shipped to Selly Oak in Birmingham for treatment and rehab.” “It transpired that I had suffered a severe head injury and shattered my ankle. After a short time in recovery, I was taken back to camp but realistically I wasn’t ready and there was a big miscommunication around my injuries. I was struggling to keep up with the physical demand and eventually my physio instructed my commander that I needed to be medically discharged.” “This was a very difficult time for me. I thought the Army would be my career and after a short time, it was all over. My mental health started to spiral, and I went through quite a dark time.” “But everything changed when I started Project RECCE. The programme enabled me to gain my CSCS card, network with employers and take part in team-building activities up Pen y Fan beacon. It gave me the confidence I needed to get out into the world again and start a career. And that’s when Enable entered the picture.” “My first contact was with Morgan. We had a big conversation on the phone about opportunities at Enable and I was so excited at the prospect of joining their team. Morgan then invited me to their office in Treforest for a face-to-face interview with the Regional Manager, Andrew Wedlake. 1 week later, they let me know I would be starting as a trainee site supervisor. I was absolutely over the moon!” “I am now about 1 month into the role, and I am really enjoying it so far. I have some great mentors in the company who are showing me the way which makes me excited for the future and qualifying as a site supervisor.” Morgan Clarke said: “Having Stuart join our team in South Wales has been a brilliant example of how effective collaboration with our local stakeholders and community can be. It has been a pleasure working closely with Karl Gilmore to help support his Project RECCE graduates into sustainable employment, supporting their careers outside of the military. I look forward to continuing our support of service leavers and can’t wait to see the success Stuart will make of his new role with us at Enable.”

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