Forward Assist Vocational Employment Training & Skills (VETS) Worker Supports Service Leavers in Avondale House

Since January 2014, Forward Assist Veterans Charity has facilitated weekly ’Veteran Specific-Peer Led Support Sessions' at Avondale House in Byker to help the residents make the transition from military service to civilian life. Neil Tully, a former Royal Engineer is employed by Forward Assist as the Vocational Employment Training & Skills worker (VETS) for short!

His specific remit is to encourage and make the residents aware of Employment, Training and Educational opportunities and introduce them to specialist agencies that can help them make the assimilation to civilian life problem free. His post is funded by Job Centre Plus and he has made excellent links with the local JCP offices and staff thus ensuring the residents are in receipt of the entitlements. By working closely with many other Forward Assist partner agencies he has been able to address significant  'un-met need' and as a result find relevant work placements, college courses, vocational opportunities  with several veterans going on to gain full time employment positions with local employers. Neil has also helped with re-writing CV's and assisted individuals to prepare for interviews as a matter of course. He has made connections with Northumbria and Newcastle University and students now teach the residents basic cookery skills in preparation for independent living.

As part of his role he has facilitated face to face contact with legal advisors, politicians, drug & alcohol workers, the recovery community, mental health teams and supported those that have moved on from Avondale at point of discharge. He recently took one resident to the French Alps on a climbing expedition and included two residents in an International Veterans exchange programme. Forward Assist have also introduced a fully qualified Sports Instructor to Avondale House delivering daily fitness sessions to the residents throughout the week and our Veterans Angling Academy Coach has taken Avondale veterans fishing every week this year. Every activity Forward Assist offer is directly related to the acquisition of accredited vocational skills qualifications and we are dedicated to supporting those in need. Neil can be contacted at  neil@forward-assist.com

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