I make £43k a year in a job no one wants to do – but I love it and wages have shot up | The Sun
MANY people think that you need a university education or special connections to walk into a job that pays well.
But Steven Eden, 47, went from a spell of unemployment and depression to earning around £39,000 doing a job he loves in 2021.
The former soldier's wage has since gone up to £43,000.
He says: “If I can do it, anyone can do it.”
The dad-of-four from Wigan works as a lorry driver for Asda, transporting food to stores, unloading and reloading empty cages.
He says: “I can have the radio up, I’m my own boss. It’s me all over and it’s so rewarding.
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“I’m doing good for other people, filling people up [with food]. I like the manual bits of taking the frozen food off.
“And I’ve got a few drivers friends – they’re all in good spirits.”
Steven says the job has variety and each day he’ll go to a different store.
He works on shift patterns, but they are adapted around looking after his three grandchildren with wife Lindsay.
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It took Steven about 12 months to do his training, including getting his HGV licence, but he reckons it can be done in as little as three months.
He then had a two-week breathing period before being buddied up with another driver.
“You don’t get chucked in the deep end,” Steven adds.
But within six weeks, he was signed off and ready to go on the road on his own.
He says: “That was a good feeling. It was a big step – I was made up.”
Before starting his training, Steven says he was in a bad place mentally.
After a spell of illness, he was temporarily unable to drive, but has since been given a clean bill of health in 2020.
That means he's been able to hit the road with the help of Veterans into Logistics.
The charity provides training and support to help people who left the armed forces without a trade or skill into the logistics sector.
Asda is one of the big-name organisations that works with Veterans into Logistics to help offer employment after training.
The organisation also works with Muller and XPO Logistics.
Steven says: “The guys at Asda were superb. The real me has come out now."
For anyone else in a similar position he says: “Don’t give up – your life can change. Doing what I’m doing has made me achieve something.
“I’ve never been happier.”
Becoming a lorry driver
The Sun’s Keep On Trucking campaign in 2021 helped fill tens of thousands of jobs after a national shortage hit businesses.
Drivers can expect to earn above average wages of around £40,000 a year. And fuel tanker drivers can earn even more – up to £60,000 a year.
Some companies will even offer a joining bonus of around £2,000 to join.
Darren Wright, founder of Veterans into Logistics, says: "This job is the fastest way of earning decent money.
"You don’t need maths, you don’t need English, and we can train people up within weeks.
"For people who leave the armed forces without a trade or skill,they feel part of society again."
To become a lorry driver, you’ll normally have to be over 18.
And you need to make sure you’re comfortable with working alone on the road.
You’ll need to have a full car licence and a professional qualification called the driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), which means you can be a commercial driver.
You will also need to pass your HGV driving test.
The costs of training can in total be around £2,000.
Veterans into Logistics works with ex-military to cover these costs.
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A spokesperson at campaign group Generation Logistics said: "You can train to be a driver through an apprenticeship scheme or through HGV training to require the relevant licences you need, meaning you don't need a degree to get started.”
Generation Logistics has a "find your future" quiz on its website to help people work out which logistics roles they could be suited to.
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