As a UK-registered non-profit organisation, Veterans into Logistics is dedicated to supporting service-leavers/veterans who are struggling to find a direction and employment and offering a solution to the UK logistics industry.
My name is Darren Wright and I founded Veterans into Logistics after a close army colleague of mine, tragically was found dead less than a year after leaving the military.
I was born in 1975 in North Manchester and brought up by my dad on a typical northern council estate. I left school at 15 with no qualifications.
I joined the British Army, in the Royal Artillery aged 23. I completed my basic training at Pirbright, passing out as Best Recruit. I remember the passing out parade as if it were yesterday, marching on to the parade square, listening to the military band, and feeling the proudest I’d ever felt, knowing I was starting a new life for myself and my young family.
During my military career, I earned the right to wear the Maroon Beret, became a member of the Airborne Forces and was deployed to Afghanistan after the Twin Towers attack as a member of The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
In 2003, I started having mental health issues and was referred to The Duchess of Kent Military Psychiatric Hospital in Catterick Garrison as an inpatient. After four weeks, I received an administrated discharge from the military.
At the beginning of 2004, after returning to my home city of Manchester, my mental state deteriorated further. My life spiralled out of control, and I became dependent on alcohol and drugs. My marriage broke down, which led me to become homeless and I ended up ‘sofa surfing’ with family and friends.
I wasn’t mentally fit for work, so I felt forced to look at alternative ways of earning money. After growing up on a council estate where criminality was considered the norm, it wasn’t long before I was lured into that life.
I was in such a bad state that I simply didn’t want to carry on living and in 2006 I received a prison sentence of 11 years and three months.
I regret the crime I committed but receiving a custodial sentence saved my life because it was in prison where I was correctly diagnosed with suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This enabled me to receive medical treatment that put me on the road to recovery. I served a total of six years.
After being released from prison in 2012, I was the Darren Wright of old. I walked through those prison gates looking forward to life and re-building a relationship with my children.
I was fortunate to have HGV licences from my career in the army and was able to gain secure employment as an HGV driver upon leaving prison. This gave me the structure, stability, and financial security I needed to rebuild my life.
I enjoyed being an HGV driver and the freedom of being on the road, eventually becoming a Fuel Tanker Driver delivering to petrol stations. This job paid well, earning over fifty thousand pounds a year which for someone who left school without any qualifications, I considered a good wage.
Then in 2018, I attended the funeral of my close military friend Jamie Doyle who had served 22 years in The Royal Artillery.
He was found dead at home, tragically being unable to cope less than 12 months after leaving the British Army.
Walking away from Jamie’s funeral, I knew more needed to be done for ex-military personnel who are struggling to adapt to civilian life and that’s why I founded Veterans into Logistics.
I believe my lived experience puts me in a good position to support veterans who are struggling to adapt to life back in the community.
I know that supporting them into a well-paid, structured and secure career in logistics, where they can support themselves and their families, gives them self-belief, pride and a whole new life after leaving the military.
Major Ian Battersby
I am a serving member of HM forces, having served for a total of 40 years. I started my career in the Army as a Gunner (Private Soldier), having worked my way through the ranks serving in the UK, overseas and on Operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. I was fortunate enough to achieve the pinacol of a soldier’s career, and finish as a Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). I didn’t feel I was ready to leave the Military at this stage and felt I had more to offer. I applied for a Queens Commission in April 2010 and was successful, so I begin a new career as a Commissioned officer, where I will remain until my time runs out in September 2022.
I am proud of my achievements in the army, having worked my way through the ranks from Gunner to Major. I also enjoyed mine and my families time working all over the world and living in married accommodation. I am very keen to stay involved with the forces as a form of payback for what the army has done for me and my family, and I believe working with Veterans/service leavers is an avenue I would enjoy for all the right reasons.
Having recently come on board with Veterans into Logistics (ViL) through Mr Darren Wright, who I served with, and is a veteran himself, has experienced the issues most service leavers experience when taking the step to living outside the very protective army bubble.
Veterans into Logistics is a non-profit organisation with the sole intention of training veterans/service leavers in all forms of logistics. Specifically getting individuals a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence, Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), working on their CV’s, and getting these personnel through the door of reputable companies for an interview. These would be companies that sign up to the armed forces covenant (A promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the armed forces and their families are treated fairly).
I have looked at a few companies that offer veterans and service leavers training, but I do believe that what Veterans into Logistics are offering is above and beyond these companies. The individuals who have been through Veterans into Logistics and are now in employment, all stated the mentoring offered by Veterans into Logistics once you are in employment, is just as valuable as the training you receive to get you into employment, and this can be seen in all their stories.
Many individuals leave the forces with little or no direction for the outside world and end up going down the wrong path. I know with the correct training, mentoring and opportunities many of these individuals would shine in most organisations. I feel with the support of companies that champion veterans, and who are willing to embrace them will receive 10-fold in return and will receive an employee who has had values and standards drilled into him 24/7. Thus he/she will be punctual, reliable and motivated to succeed.
I look forward to the challenges of working with Veterans into Logistics, and I am excited at the prospect of changing and adding value to an individual’s life.
Neil Walton MBE
Neil Walton was born in Arbroath Angus Scotland; he joined the Royal Corps of Transport in 1983 in Aldershot and amalgamated into the Royal Logistics Corps in 1993. Serving in the pinnacle Technical Driver Trade post in 2000 as a Master Driver Warrant Officer, personally briefing Brigade Commanders on all matters Transport related as a Subject Matter Expert in Driver Licencing, Training & Testing (DELTA), Operational Transport Logistics as a secretary of state-approved Driving Examiner and Instructor on all Licence categories (AtoH).
He was responsible for drafting policies and procedures & conducted Logistical Quality Assurance Audits (LSIs) on Military units. Neil also served as a Human Intelligence Operator & Serb Croat & German colloquial linguist during his career. He served in BAOR in Germany, SHAPE Belgium, Belize & Operational Tours in the Former Yugoslavia (Bosnia & Croatia) & Northern Ireland. He also served as a Supply Chain Specialist (RQMS) and SHEQ Manager (NEBOSH, IOSH) useful skills to any operation.
He was medically discharged in 2016 with Complex PTSD after a rewarding and challenging military career spanning 34yrs during which he was awarded the Long Service Good Conduct medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and was personally honoured by HM QE2 as a MBE in 2012 for his selfless commitment, personal dedication to the Service of his country for being a “Force Multiplier” and for his tenacity, integrity & his personal contribution in transforming the logistical support and compliance of the Combined Cadet Force NI & as a volunteer for the St John Ambulance in Northern Ireland.
He is currently the CPC National Transport Manager for the 5th largest fleet in the UK and brings with him valuable, current Operational, technical experience, knowledge and skills to assist Veterans into Logistics.