MANY people think you need a college degree or special connections to get a well-paying job.
But Steven Eden, 47, from unemployment and depression has made around £39,000 doing the job he loves in 2021.
The ex-soldier’s salary has since risen to £43,000.
“If I can do it, anyone can do it,” he said.
The father of four from Wigan works as a truck driver for Asda, delivering food to stores, unloading and loading empty cages.
He said: “I can turn on the radio, I am my own boss. That’s me all and it’s very rewarding.
“I am doing good to others, filling people up [with food]. I like the manual action when taking out frozen food.
“And I have a few friends who drive – they’re all in good spirits.”
Steven said the work is varied and every day he will go to a different store.
He works on a shift pattern, but they are adapted to revolve around taking care of his three grandchildren with wife Lindsay.
It took Steven about 12 months to do his training, including getting his HGV license, but he reckons it can be done in less than three months.
He then had a two-week breathing period before befriending another driver.
Steven added: “You won’t get stuck in the depths.
But within six weeks, he was signed and ready to hit the road alone.
“It was a good feeling,” he said. That’s a big step – I was made.
Before he started training, Steven said he was in a bad place mentally.
After a period of illness, he was temporarily unable to drive, but was later certified clean in 2020.
That means he was able to hit the road with the help of Veterans of Logistics.
The charity provides training and support to help those leaving the armed forces without a career or skills in logistics.
Asda is one of the big-name organizations that partner with Veterans in Logistics to help provide post-training employment.
The organization also works with Muller and XPO Logistics.
Steven said: “The people at Asda are amazing. My true self is now revealed.”
To 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 have never been happier.”
Become a truck driver
The Sun’s Keep On Trucking campaign in 2021 has helped create tens of thousands of jobs after nationwide shortages hit businesses.
Motorists can expect to earn an above-average salary of around £40,000 a year. And fuel truck 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 to make decent money.
“You don’t need math, you don’t need English, and we can train people within weeks.
“For those who leave the armed forces without occupation or skills, they feel part of society again.”
To become a truck driver, you must normally be over 18 years old.
And you need to make sure you feel comfortable working alone on the road.
You’ll need to have a full driver’s license and a qualification called a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for drivers, which means you can become a commercial driver.
You will also need to pass your HGV driving test.
The total cost of training can be around £2,000.
Logistics veterans work with veterans to cover these costs.
A spokesman for campaign group Generation Logistics said: “You can train to be a driver through an apprenticeship or through HGV training to claim the relevant permits you need, meaning you no degree needed to get started.”
Generation Logistics has a “find your future” quiz on its website to help people figure out what logistics role they might fit in.