Ex-soldier calls for more socially inclusive recruitment

Ashley Brown with Dr Paul Phillips. Picture: Sarah Beecroft

Ashley Brown with Dr Paul Phillips. Picture: Sarah Beecroft - Credit: Archant

A former soldier is calling on businesses to be more open minded when recruiting staff.

Ashley Brown was a combat infantryman for more than 11 years with the British Armed Forces and served several tours in Iraq where he fought on the front line for his country.

He played rugby union at all levels in the army and supported the senior team as their performance analyst.

But within six months of leaving the forces, his marriage failed, he lost his job and he ended up homeless.

Just two years ago, Ashley was contemplating taking his own life.

But today he counts himself as one of the lucky ones after a chance introduction to Weston College by his now wife saved him.

The college took on Ashley where he began teacher training.

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He now works there as a teacher, as well as further improving his career prospects by studying a level five qualification to become a fully-qualified lecturer.

Ashley said: "When you grow up, you believe that the world is just in front of you, but as you experience life and grow older you start to get knocked back, the paths get narrower and you lose sight of the fact that anything is possible.

"It's only now that I have gone though all of this and turned my life around, with the help of family, friends and Weston College, that I believe anything is possible. The mentoring system I have here at the college far outstrips anything I had in the forces previously.

"I urge all businesses to sign up and champion this new campaign."

The college has launched its fresh start employer campaign, which aims to kick start socially inclusive recruitment in order to discover talent from groups in society who might be struggling to get a second chance.

Dr Paul Phillips, the college's principal and chief executive, added: "Ashley is a shining example of what we do.

"We were delighted to offer him an opportunity to help him change his life, and we are very proud of what he has achieved so far.

"He's an inspirational character who has embraced our ethos and become a fantastic employee who's made a difference to the learners he teaches."