Medically discharged Taunton Royal Marine builds new career thanks to The Midas Group
A former Royal Marine from Taunton who was diagnosed with a life-changing condition while serving in a war zone, is looking forward to a rewarding new career thanks to The Midas Group.
Damian Barrett was medically discharged after the long-term health condition was discovered while he was on deployment in Afghanistan.
Unsure of his future and faced with the challenge of adapting to life in Civvy Street, Damian secured a work experience placement with Midas Construction, part of The Midas Group.
Joining the Midas team in a temporary role, Damian impressed his on-site colleagues and was offered the chance to retrain as a site manager, taking on a permanent job with the successful construction company.
“I can’t thank everyone at Midas enough for the help and support I have been given,” said Damian.
“It was a nervous time for me when I left the Royal Marines having served for 17 years and I was unsure about what to do next.
“But Midas took a chance on me, saw that I was keen and willing to learn and have supported me ever since.”
As part of its role with the Southern Construction Framework, a scheme used by local authorities, public sector bodies and charities across the South of England to engage with building contractors to deliver construction projects, Midas provides community benefits through an Employment and Skills Plan. From apprentices and jobs for local people, to engaging with local SMEs, the firm aims to support the improvement of construction skills in the community.
Midas has recently completed two projects that were procured through the framework; National College for Nuclear in Cannington near Bridgwater for Bridgwater & Taunton College and Oceansgate (a Marine Industries Production Campus) for Plymouth City Council.
Whilst delivering these construction projects, Midas and supply chain partners supported local communities; providing work experience placements, apprenticeships, and employment opportunities; providing curriculum support to local schools and colleges as well as taking part in other activities.
As a result of Midas’ commitment to providing community benefits resulting from their construction projects, they were able to offer former Royal Marine Damian a life-changing opportunity.
The 39-year-old had spent most of his adult life in the Royal Marines after joining up in 2000. Embracing the challenging and dynamic lifestyle of the Armed Forces, Damian served with a number of units including 42 Commando and the Special Forces Support Group as well as being deployed to areas such as Afghanistan and Iraq. He also performed the role of the Senior Sgt of the Queens guard at Windsor Castle during London duties for the Royal Marines 350 Birthday celebrations.
But in 2013 he began suffering from a life changing condition. The Colour Sergeant underwent major surgery and began working with Hasler Naval Service Recovery Centre before being told that he was unable to continue serving with the Royal Marines.
“It was a challenging time for me, having become so used to being a Royal Marine but this was a new chapter in my life,” he said.
“I was aware that Midas offered a recognised route for people in my position, so I attended an Open Doors event, which allows you to visit construction sites across the country, at Oceansgate in Plymouth.”
Securing work experience with Midas at the Oceansgate development, Damian was then based at the National College for Nuclear in Bridgwater. Now employed by Midas as a Trainee Site Manager, he is working on the Yeovil Innovation Centre project. Both the Cannington and Yeovil sites are closer to home, allowing him to spend more time with his wife and two young sons.
“Midas made the transition easier for me and they have ultimately provided the seamless move into the role and a civilian career I wanted,” he said, adding that despite being medically discharged, he was still passionate about keeping fit and active. Last year, Damian took part in a charity cycle ride across the Pyrenees mountain range, taking on 800km over seven days.
“Life has changed by being on ‘civvy’ street,” he said. “Understanding and adapting to the culture shift of civilian life has not been without its challenges and my wife is still getting used to me being home every night.
“I am thankful to Midas for giving me this amazing opportunity and hopefully I can repay the company by being successful in my role as a site manager, which will be good for me and the firm.”
Michelle Cole, Group Community Engagement Manager for Midas, said: “We understand that leaving the Armed Forces through medical discharge can be difficult and unnerving, especially for someone like Damian who had very successfully served for 17 years. He’d been a Colour Sergeant, served in Commando Units and in the Special Forces Support Group – for which he received the Accumulative Campaign Service Medal, he performed the role of Senior Sergeant of the Queen’s Guard for the Royal Marines 350 birthday celebrations; we knew Damian would have some skills that we could use in the construction industry.
“In addition to his active service, Damian gained a degree in Leadership & Management whilst recuperating from surgery, and since recovering, he’s completed a charity bike ride across the Pyrenees raising money for the Royal Marines charity. Based on Damian’s clear commitment to make a success of his forced career change, we were pleased to have the opportunity to support him in his goal to be a construction site manager.
“He has now discovered a new and rewarding career in the construction industry and is an asset to Midas. As one of the UK’s largest independent construction and property services providers, we are dedicated to leaving lasting legacies in the communities we live and work in, which includes offering people the opportunity to learn about our thriving construction sector and how they can be a part of it.”
Commenting on Midas’ successful delivery of the National College for Nuclear project and associated Employment & Skills Plan, Caroline Derrick, the Employment, Skills & Training Manager at Sedgemoor District Council, said: “I have found Midas to be most engaged throughout the project, providing a myriad of information going over and above the targets set out by the CITB.
“The commitment Midas has to education, professional development and the recruitment of local people assures the Council that our local projects are managed by people with very high standards. I look forward to the next project.”
For more information contact:
DCA Public Relations
About Midas Group
The Midas Group is one of the UK’s largest independent construction and property services providers. The Group operates across the South of England, Wales and the Midlands and provides 4 key services as follows:
• Construction – Regional construction capability providing construction services across all sectors; including specialist retail and interiors teams
• Residential – specialist residential contractor and developer
• Maintenance – specialist planned and reactive maintenance
• Developments – property development capability
Midas is one of the region’s largest employers, with over 500 people employed across the group. For more information visit www.midasgroup.co.uk