Tamara played football and cricket professionally for Jamaica, before serving 10 years in the British Army, where she undertook two tours of Afghanistan and The Falklands. She left the Army in 2013, ending her military career in the Logistic Support Regiment.
A change of career
A few months after the birth of her son, she returned to work in various jobs, including a bus driver, postwoman, and teaching assistant but when the cost-of-living crisis hit, Tamara realised she needed a better career to provide for herself and her son. She had her Class 2 truck licence from her time in the Army and said: “My friends were always telling me to do lorry driving as it pays more, but I didn’t want to be away from my son until he was older.”
Having researched truck driver work online, she found Veterans into Logistics. She sent a message and was impressed by the charity’s speedy response.
The charity interviewed and assessed Tamara and referred her to Stobert – one of its partners. She attended the company’s training academy where she would be guaranteed employment upon completion.
Tamara said: “My Class 1 training with Stobart was brilliant and I enjoyed every moment, I’d do it all again if I could! I had a great instructor who was really encouraging.”
Supporting the veteran community
Veterans into Logistics ensures its partners have signed The Armed Forces Covenant which shows their commitment to supporting the veteran community.
Tamara is enjoying her new career as an HGV driver for Stobart which she started in April. She said: “I’d like people to know that a career in truck driving doesn’t have to take you away from your family for long periods of time. There is flexibility and Stobart have been supportive in accommodating my hours, ensuring I get to spend quality time with my son.”
She said there are no obstacles to being a female truck driver and that the male drivers are, “all totally accepting and supportive,” because she does her job “safely and properly”.
Happy in her new career, Tamara said: “I’m so glad I found Veterans into Logistics and I have already recommended the charity to my ex-army friends. The team were all so helpful, I love what the charity is doing to support veterans like me into work as HGV drivers.”
Veterans into Logistics general manager, John Harker MBE said: “I’d like to congratulate Tamara on passing her HGV Class 1 first time and thank Stobart for its continued support to Veterans into Logistics by employing ex-military personnel in the logistics industry.”
He continues: “Tamara makes the excellent point that a new career as an HGV Driver doesn’t have to mean being away from home for long periods – a reason why some choose to leave the military. With the current shortage of HGV Drivers, logistics companies, including our partner Stobart, are eager to support staff by providing the flexibility to fit around family life. The industry is 24/7 – 365 days a year, with a variety of shifts available.
“At Veterans into Logistics, our mission is to reduce unemployment and poverty in the ex-military community by providing a pathway into the logistics industry, as we know that many veterans, like Tamara, are ideally suited to working in this sector.”
A Stobart Spokesperson added: “We’re proud to have Tamara as part of our team and congratulate her on successfully transitioning into her career as an HGV driver. At Stobart, we’re committed to supporting initiatives like Veterans into Logistics and providing employment opportunities for ex-military personnel.