A FORMER Household Cavalryman left permanently disabled by a freak accident that happened when he was returning from ceremonial duties has a new job helping to transform the lives of other disabled people.
Terry Gatt, 25, from Ashtead in Surrey, recently joined Remploy, a provider of specialist employment services, as an employment adviser supporting disabled and disadvantaged jobseekers move back into work or find a job for the first time.
It’s a fitting role for Terry, who has had to painstakingly rebuild his own life, which was changed forever seven years ago when he was serving in the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry.
“I didn’t even go to hospital at first,” recalled Terry, who joined the Household Cavalry straight from school when he was 16 and progressed to become a lance corporal. “But when I did, scans revealed I had a crushed pelvis, a severely damaged left hip and a spinal injury.”
Despite two operations and a long stay at the world-renowned Hedley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey, Terry’s injuries eventually resulted in him being medically discharged from the career that he loved.
“It was a devastating blow,” he recalled. “It was always my ambition to join the Army. The appeal for me was the structure, the discipline and the comradeship. I was getting on well and moving up the ranks.
“Even after the accident I spent 15 months learning the Pashto language in readiness to become an interpreter and language instructor with my regiment in Afghanistan. But, despite passing the course, my injuries made that impossible.”
Terry, who now relies on crutches to help him get about, has remained positive and determined to succeed since the horrific accident, qualities that helped him land the job with Remploy.
“Terry was referred to us for support finding work,” said Terri Worden, an employment advisor at Remploy’s branch in Southwark, London. “When I first met him he needed his confidence building up because he had been through such a tough time. But I knew he had something special about him. He has a caring nature and it was obvious he was very focused on finding a job.
“It was fortuitous really that there was a vacancy for an employment advisor at the branch, because his character and life experience made him the perfect candidate for the role.”
“The interview for the job wasn’t a pushover but I gave it my best shot,” added Terry. “What struck me most was that at no stage during the interview was I asked about my disability and how it might affect my ability to do the job. The focus was entirely on my ability and that made me feel very comfortable.”
Nationally, Remploy has more than 60 branches providing a range of specialist services, including one-to-one support with job searching, in-work support and vocational rehabilitation.
It also provides a range of employment services for Armed Forces Veterans and last year signed up to the Government’s Armed Forces Covenant that recognises the value serving personnel, both Regular and Reservists, veterans and military families contribute to the nation. Visit www.remploy.co.uk to find out more.