The former soldier who stood outside Chester Business Park with a ‘job wanted’ sign has found employment – and he cannot wait to get started.
Wayne Taylor, 46, was so frustrated with being unable to find a suitable full-time role since leaving the army that he decided to resort to desperate measures last month.
His one-man plea at the entrance to Chester’s busiest business park – first reported by the Standard – ended up making national headlines and resulted in him being flooded with offers from companies from across the country, plus hundreds of messages of support.
Now the former sergeant major has accepted an engineering job with a firm close to his Wrexham home and is due to start today.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Wayne, who joined the army at the age of 16 and served for 25 years, touring Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and Northern Ireland. “I think this will be my last job. It looks really good, and there are lots of opportunities there.”
Since leaving the army in December 2011, Wayne struggled to find a job he felt matched his abilities and ambitions, despite applying for about 400 roles. He had not had a permanent job since 2015 – just temporary roles, mostly with agencies – and felt firms were reluctant to employ him because of his military background.
“They look at us and think we were only there to kill people,” said Wayne, who served with the 26th Regiment Royal Artillery and was earning about £45,000 a year as a sergeant major by the end of his army career.
One Friday afternoon last month, he put together a home-made sign which read ‘job wanted – educated to degree level – speak to me please’, drove to Chester and before long the offers began to pour in.
“A lot of people came forward. It was a big response,” said Wayne, who lives in Garden Village. “I had upwards of 1,000 emails and I’ve tried to respond to every one. My wife, Laura, had to take a couple of days off work to help deal with everything when it was at its peak. The phone was constantly going.”
Wayne’s story appeared in a string of national newspapers and he also did interviews for radio and TV. He has been particularly keen to highlight the work of the Poppy Factory, a charity which supports ex-servicemen and women with health challenges into fulfilling careers.
Wayne added: “I wasn’t expecting the publicity. It spiralled. I went to Chester Business Park to get noticed, and that’s what happened. It also helped highlight the fact that lots of other vets are in this position. It’s raised awareness of the issue.”
The firm Wayne has found employment with got in touch with him a couple of days after his story appeared in the Leader. The company provides specialist engineering services to the oil industry but wishes to remain anonymous.
Wayne, who completed a safety course last week, explained that the job is a ‘specialist engineering role’.
“I didn’t just jump straight in,” he said. “I waited and made sure I went for the right thing for me. I can’t wait to put my skills to good use.”
See full story in the Chester Leader