A PROPERTY management company helping give ex-servicemen and women a new start is launching a recruitment drive after signing a new contract.

Caring Caretaker, part of the AAA Property (North-East) group, has gone from strength-to-strength in the past few years – thanks in part to its policy of using exservices personnel wherever possible.

The business was started by Richard Tucker to concentrate on property management and student accommodation in Durham City.

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More recently, however, Caring Caretaker has extended its services into Scotland and North Yorkshire.

Now the company has clinched a deal with Teesside-based Snaith Signs, an estate agent board erection services company providing residential property signage and commercial factory, shop and office signage management services.

Mr Tucker, who spent nearly 20 years in the RAF and saw action in the first Gulf War, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Snaith Signs to provide board erection services and management.

“They are a major player in the market and their commercial division serves all of the UK.”

Initially, Caring Caretaker’s team will be covering Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Harrogate.

The business has built a great reputation on the back of Mr Tucker’s decision to employ former armed services personnel wherever possible.

He said: “When I left the RAF, I missed the esprit de corps of military life – the working together for a greater good.

“Civvy street moves at a different pace to the armed services.

“In the RAF, if something needed to be done, it got done usually the same day.

“I was dismayed to find that wasn’t always the case in civilian life.

“So, I started recruiting people like me who had recently left the Armed Forces.

“From their point of view, a job with Caring Caretaker gave them a way back into work with a company that understood how difficult it can be readjusting to civilian life, and from my perspective I gained employees who were honest, reliable and hard working.”

Mr Tucker, who runs the firm with his daughter Alison, takes his corporate responsibilities very seriously.

He said: “It’s more than just a job.

“We provide emotional and spiritual care for all our employees.

“We also work closely with X-Forces Enterprise, a national charity helping service men and women looking to start their own businesses.”

Earlier this year, he was awarded an MBE for his services to business and the community.

“I thought I’d get no more medals after leaving the RAF,” added Mr Tucker.

“It was wonderful to receive an honour.”

Among the servicemen to have landed a role with the company is 43-year-old Garry McDermott, who served with the Royal Scots Borderers.

Mr McDermott is looking forward to forging a new career after recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of several gruelling tours of Northern Ireland.

He said: “I am really looking forward to it; everything feels right.

“My daughters, Lucy and Abby, have seen a massive difference in me.

“It’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”

Mr Tucker hopes the partnership with Snaith Signs will lead to new opportunities across the country – and more jobs.

“It’s a win-win situation,” he added.

Steve Snaith, managing director of Snaith Signs, said: “It’s vitally important our boards are in the best position, look immaculate and are up at the right time.

“We’re confident Caring Caretaker’s team will do a great job.”