A FORMER soldier whose military career was cut short by a serious leg injury he suffered while serving in Afghanistan is helping young people to change their lives.

Marc Iveson, from Kirk Merrington, in County Durham, was left devastated after the wounds he sustained from jumping off the top of an armoured mastiff, whilst under heavy enemy fire, ended his Army career.

He snapped all of the ligaments in his knee and underwent months of rehabilitation and surgery, but the 26-year-old was medically discharged earlier this year.

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As he faced his future in civilian life, Help for Heroes introduced Mr Iveson to The Prince’s Trust, with whom he volunteered for a year before being employed by Stockton Riverside College to deliver a team programme for the youth charity.

He said: “Not in a million years did I ever think I would be working for a college.

“The gap between the armed forces and college life couldn’t be further apart.”

Mr Iveson, who will work as a Prince’s Trust team leader on a 12-week development course to give unemployed young people the skills and confidence to change their lives, says his own experiences are helping him to reach out to his team members.

Recalling the fateful day in Afghanistan, in 2009, he said: “I didn’t realise how serious my injuries were at first, I thought it would just be a matter of getting fixed up.

“I felt no fear as I knew we would win the firefight and the lads with me were diligent, they quickly dragged me back into the vehicle.

“I didn’t think I would be out of Afghanistan and never dreamed it would be the end of my career.

“I fought it tooth and nail.”

During his lengthy recovery, Mr Iveson undertook several courses to help boost his chances of finding work, which led to him being introduced to The Prince’s Trust by a representative from Help for Heroes.

He has launched a new team programme in Newton Aycliffe, where members are currently taking part in their community project, helping to repaint the community hall, spruce up the garden area and waxing the floors at St Clare’s Church, in the town.