He split from his girlfriend and found himself jobless and living on the streets, struggling to adapt to civilian life after two and a half years as a private in the Royal Logistics Corps.
Scavenging for food and relying on charity, he thought his luck had changed when a stranger offered him work and lodgings. However the man put him in a shed and paid him just £20 a day for hard labour so he left after a week.
At just 27, David has already been through more struggles than many will do in a lifetime, but his determination to be a good dad to his four-year-old son, his resourcefulness and his passion for food kept him going.
Just two weeks after joining the Government’s Work Programme in Chorley, he had landed a fantastic job as a chef. He is now settled in a two-bedroom flat where he can have his little boy to visit and the future is looking bright again.
He said: “I had always wanted to be in the Army from as young as I can remember and I signed up as soon as I could. I was gutted when I had to drop out due to personal reasons and was honorably discharged.
“My relationship had ended and I had to leave my home with nothing. From having a daily routine, doing the job I loved, surrounded by my fellow soldiers and having a purpose in life and a roof over my head, I lost everything.
“I was on the streets for three months and that was really tough after being a proud soldier.”
He went back to live with family for a while until he got back on his feet and found a job as a chef, learning on the job.
He said: “I had a passion for it. I knew this was what I wanted to do. But then I was made redundant and had another relationship break up. I ended up back onthe streets in Chorley until some friends heard about my problems and put me up long enough to get myself together again and find a bedsit.”
He was unemployed for six months before he was referred to the Work Programme.
He said: “I thought my Army background would help but it didn’t seem to. I wasn’t getting anywhere until I went to the Work Programme. They were wonderful, got me motivated, I really felt they cared and were right behind me.
“They helped with my CV and the first day I went they fixed me up with an interview. I didn’t get that but a week later they sent me to a restaurant for a cheffing job. The Work Programme also helped me get my electricity and gas back on because I was so behind with the payments and bought me clothes for work.
“I was offered the job at the interview which was absolutely great, such a relief. Now I know I can prove myself there, work my way up and get my life back together again.
“I hated being on benefits, it feels good to get home exhausted after an 11-hour shift, knowing I have been working to earn my own money. “I walk around with my head held high again instead of looking down at the ground all the time.”
His Work Programme advisor Emma Williamson said: “David has found the transition from being in the Army to civilian life a challenge and now feels that he has the right life structure in place.
He is disciplined and organised and prioritises he tasks extremely well. This will help him in his role as a chef in a busy restaurant.”
Now in its fourth year of operation, the Work Programme provides tailored support for unemployed customers who need more help to undertake active and effective job-seeking.
PeoplePlus deliver the Work Programme on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Job Centre Plus. The Work Programme is part-funded by the European Social Fund who is investing in jobs and skills – focusing on people who need support the most and helping them fulfil their potential.