05 January 2012

Former Marine eager to build a new career

By Gordon Richardson, Business Editor, Express & Echo

FINDING a new career after leaving the Armed Forces can be a challenge - even more so for those who have suffered serious injury.

Lance-corporal Andrew McNeil lost the vision in his right eye after being caught in a rocket propelled grenade attack while serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Marines in 2007.

Andrew McNeil with project manager Len GeeAfter a lengthy rehabilitation and reintegration process he is now enjoying the next phase of his working life as an assistant site manager with construction firm Midas Developments.

The job opportunity came about through the company's involvement with the C Group, a local charity which engages the business community to help Royal Marines in need. And Andrew, 24, is quick to praise both it and Hasler Company, the rehabilitation unit for injured troops in Plymouth, for helping him make a smooth transition to civilian life.

"The support was brilliant," he said. "There was good communication between Midas, the C Group and Hasler Company. Everything was fully explained and very open.

"There was never any pressure - that's what I liked about it. Hasler Company are going to support you wherever you go. They help you all the way through.

"I wanted to get into the construction industry because I have a family member who worked in construction and listening to his stories always spurred my interest in it. I was introduced to this company and I spent a bit of time with Midas learning the job before I was officially discharged in September."

Andrew, who lives in South Brent with his wife Chloe and seven-year-old son Jamie, does not spend time dwelling on the incident that cut short his career with the Marines.

"Anything could happen, you have just got to adapt to it," he said.

Instead he is focused on helping to deliver a new 60,000sq ft distribution, warehouse and office facility for KandyToys as part of the 20-acre Hill Barton Business Park extension, just off the A3052 near Farringdon.

As assistant site manager, Andrew is responsible for liaising with subcontractors, ensuring materials and labour arrive at the right time and that correct health and safety procedures are followed.

"It's fantastic," he said of his new job. "I'm really enjoying it. It's that old saying, no two days are ever the same."

The £4.5 million project is on schedule for completion in March, with the outer shell of the giant building now in place. Construction started in August after the development was granted planning permission in April.

"Everything is on time and we're very thankful for the weather we have had recently, which has helped," said Andrew.

Businesses can find out more about the C Group by calling 01392 414387 or visiting www.thecgroup.org

Photo Courtesy of Express & Echo

Caption: Andrew McNeil with project manager Len Gee at the Kandy Toys site in Exeter

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