Launchpad appoints Royal Navy Veteran as Employment Specialist

Royal Navy veteran Ian Summerson, has been appointed as an Employment and Training Specialist by Launchpad.

Ian Summerson

Ian, from County Durham, has served in the Royal Navy since 1986, initially starting his career as a radar analyst for Maritime Security and working in various other roles including; training supervisor, sub-department training manager, training delivery instructor (combat management systems), careers advisor and then finally as a National Recruitment Co-ordinator.

He hopes the experience he has learned will support residents to engage and find suitable employment and he will be assisting veterans living at Launchpad’s Avondale House and Hollyacre House in the North East of England.

The new role has been created and funded as part of the government’s Op FORTITUDE programme – a pathway to reduce veterans’ homelessness.

In July this year, veterans’ charity Launchpad was selected as one of nine organisations by the government to deliver the programme. Launchpad will support 230 homeless veterans over the next two years.

The charity provides accommodation and targeted support, with the help of specialist partners, to UK Armed Forces veterans experiencing homelessness and unemployment and those who have struggled with the transition from the military into civilian life.

Ian will support up to 50 residents living in both houses who are seeking employment by engaging with training specialists, colleges and organisations to match their skills and support them into employment.

Securing employment is one of Launchpad key priorities and staff at the house support the residents as part of their transition to live independently.

On average, over the last five years, 32% of residents gained employment whilst living at Launchpad. Now, with a dedicated Employment and Training Specialist in post, it is hoped this figure will increase.

Ian’s role will vary depending on the requirements of each resident. And his responsibilities will include helping with: creating CVs, preparing  for interviews, delivering health & safety courses at the houses and attending job fairs with candidates.

Commenting on his role, he said:

‘I’m really excited by this role and using my knowledge and experience to give something back to the veterans living at Launchpad who have not had the best experience of transitioning from the military to civilian life. I’ve only been in post for a couple of weeks, using my time to understand how the charity works, meeting the staff and residents and the huge array of organisations and partners we are already engaging with.’

‘Every resident is at a different stage of their journey – some are ready for employment while others need a little more time to understand where they are and what they want to achieve. My role is to engage with them and provide as much encouragement and support.’

“A lot of the veterans have the transferrable skills most employers are looking for, it’s about making them realise their potential and communicate how the skills they learned whilst serving can be applied within civilian roles. Once I understand their career aspirations, I can work with them to fill their skills gap which in turn will stand them in good stead for securing employment.”

Phil Thompson, Manager of both Avondale House and Hollyacre House, said:

I’m thrilled to have Ian on board. He has a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience that will help our residents. It has been proven that if residents can gain additional skills and training, it will help them to go on and secure employment. This in turn gives them some stability and structure in their lives, it helps them to gain confidence and focus on move on which is ultimately Launchpad’s purpose.

Launchpad has three houses in the North of England in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham. These provide accommodation for 101 homeless veterans and accept veterans from all over the UK.

To date, over 635 veterans have been supported since 2013 and 139 residents were supported between July 2022 and end of June 2023.

On average, over the last five years, 60% of residents successfully moved on from Launchpad to live independently and 32% gained employment during their time with Launchpad.