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Persimmon Homes

Terry swaps battle field for building site

03 March 2015

An injured war hero from Colchester has swapped camouflage for shirt and tie, as Persimmon Homes continues its recruitment drive to bring hundreds of ex-military personnel into the business.

Ex-Para Terry Byrne, 30, started at Persimmon Homes Essex recently as assistant site manager.

Persimmon Homes has announced plans to employ up to 500 former Armed Forces staff to capitalise on their vast range of transferable skills.

Terry has become one of the first to make the switch from battle field to building site.

He said: “This is a big change for me as I’ve never done anything like it before.

“It’s a big learning curve but it’s been going really well and I am enjoying the challenge.

“I’m delighted that Persimmon Homes has taken this positive stance towards ex-servicemen and women. We have a unique background with many skills which can be utilised in other fields.”

Terry had to have part of his leg amputated after he stood on an improvised explosive device while serving with the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan in 2008.

But Terry hasn’t let his disability hold him back. The father-of-one competed for the British Paralympic cycle team and achieved world records racing in the team sprint in 2010 and 2011. He also won gold and silver medals in the team sprint and kilo at the world championships.

And Terry is part of a three-man team hoping to become the first disabled group to successfully complete the notorious Explorers Grand Slam.

The challenge will see the plucky trio climb the highest peaks in seven continents – as well as walking to the North and South Pole unaided.

“It’s a five-year goal but we’ve already completed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mont Blanc,” said Terry, who is due to marry his long-term partner Katie in September.

Persimmon Homes, which has developments across Essex in Saffron Walden, Colchester, Chelmsford, Romford, Aveley, South Ockendon and Grays, is working with Nordic Focus Training, to retrain people from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF in construction roles.

Group CEO, Jeff Fairburn, said: “We worked hard over the course of 2014 to develop this programme to help us meet a shortage of much-needed skilled tradesmen across the UK.

“Last year we appointed a dedicated ex-military resettlement specialist, Tommy Watson, to spearhead the programme and we began welcoming the first of our new employees in October. We are already on course to bring 500 new people into the business in 2015 and if our growth continues, we will repeat this in 2016.”

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