Pathfinder Resettlement Magazine - Transport Case Study

For many years the Institute of Vehicle Recovery (IVR) has been working with the British Army and one area explored has been the opportunity for military personnel to establish a career in civilian recovery once they have left the Army.

One person who has made the transition into civilian recovery, and is benefitting from 20+ years military instructor experience, is civilian IVR instructor Andy (Tids) Tidbury MIVR.

After 27 years Andy left the Army and faced the unnerving task of deciding for himself what he wanted to do, where he wanted to live and how long he wanted to do it for - a challenge everyone leaving faces.  After 3 years as a civvy here’s what he has to say ….

‘In the Army, where you are fed, clothed, watered and paid, having to make decisions about your own future was a little daunting. For all those years I was told where to go, when I was going but not always when I would be back!

Since joining up in April 1987 I have been involved, in various roles, in most of the major conflicts including tours to Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia. My family were able to accompany me to various UK locations and Germany but the Army had to come first and I would sometimes only be home for a couple of weeks before I was sent off somewhere else, frequently missing family milestones like birthdays, Christmas etc. Leaving the Army has meant a change for all the family although I don’t think my wife notices much difference as I’m currently instructing all week so only home at weekends.

Until I met the guys from the IVR I was thinking along the lines of working in the forklift or crane industry, as I was already an ITSSAR instructor, or even HGV driving as a fall back – both would have been employed roles as I had never considered and was nervous of being self-employed. Once I became involved with the Institute I realised the camaraderie, humour and work ethic of the recovery industry is very like the military and I would like to thank the members of the IVR for their support and encouragement. In 2016 I was nominated to sit on the Council and my position was confirmed by a vote of members at the Annual General Meeting that year.

Although I have over 20 years’ experience as a military trainer my initial aim was to convert as much of my experience to civilian qualifications. I am currently training mostly on the light recovery modules which are VR1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 17, 19, 21, 26, 27 and VR31, within the next twelve months my aim is to also be training on the heavy recovery side.

My military service hasn’t quite ended, I became a member of the reserves as a WO1 ASM at 160 Field Coy (Gloucester), which is part of 105 Battalion REME.  At the time of joining it was a completely new reserve unit that had opened its doors with opportunities for all vocational recovery technicians who wished to explore the military side of the recovery industry.’

Since 2013 the Institute of Vehicle Recovery has sponsored the ‘Craftsman (Cfn) Andy Found Award’ which is presented to the Class 3 Top Student. This award was initially presented at Bordon then latterly at Lyneham following the relocation of the Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineers (DSEME).

For more information about the Institute of Vehicle Recovery please contact the IVR office on 01895 436426 or go to the website

To contact Andy Tidbury MIVR call 07779 491258 or email at

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