These veterans apply their transferable skills, knowledge and leadership abilities gained in the military to a wide variety of careers across the UK.
Some of the employees who joined the Amazon Military Programme spoke about their experience of finding the right place at Amazon in civilian life, with the hopes of encouraging fellow veterans to attend Amazon Military Programme events that take place throughout the UK every year.
With roles ranging from senior managerial positions to e-commerce internships, these employees share their experiences of working at Amazon and explain what it’s like to be a part of the Amazon Military Programme.
Happiness in civilian life
Tony Harris is an Operations Manager at Amazon’s new fulfilment centre in Dartford, leading up to 350 people including graduates and those joining Amazon through the Amazon Pathways project.
“Before I joined Amazon, I had been a Captain in the British Army,” he said. “In May 2009, I was in a firefight in the desert and in the aftermath, my vehicle drove over a mine. The blast shattered both my feet and snapped my left arm.
“Multiple operations couldn’t save one of my legs, so I made the decision to proceed with an amputation and in 2013, I was medically discharged. I threw myself into coaching, mentoring and even took part in the Dakar Rally and Invictus Games. But it came to the point where I wanted to lead a team again - and what bigger and better company to do this with than Amazon.”
Max Cassily also shared his experience of finding his place at Amazon.
“I wanted to join Amazon for two reasons – the progression opportunities and the brilliant things I’d heard from my ex-military friends who worked at the company.
"The number of different roles and buildings opens a huge range of possibilities to move around not only the country, but the world. My wife is German and one day we might move over there and I know that if that happens, I’ll have every opportunity to transfer to an Amazon building in Germany.
“Coming to Amazon is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I didn’t realise what true happiness in a civilian job felt like until I joined Amazon – it’s been amazing for me and my family.”
Louise Tester is one of the hundreds of former service members currently working at Amazon around the UK.
After leaving the Royal Logistic Corps, Louise joined Amazon and now works as an Operations Manager at the fulfilment centre in Rugeley.
“When the time came to leave the military,” said Louise, “I wanted a role that offered me a similar experience in terms of leadership and development opportunities.
"Amazon is a great fit for me because a lot of the skills we learn in the military resonate really well with jobs at the company. It’s exciting, fast paced and has countless opportunities to develop. The emphasis on implementing new ideas is fantastic and really appeals to me.”
Given every tool to succeed
Jenni Mackay, who works in a senior role at Amazon’s new fulfilment centre in Hinckley following a career in the RAF, told us about her experience of being recruited by Amazon.
“I joined the company in June 2020 and I’ve enjoyed every second, so much so that I’ve referred several people for jobs at Amazon, including my fiancé, who joined the company late last year!
“It’s a great company to work for. Amazon really cares for its staff. As a manager, I’m given every tool I need to make the Amazon experience the very best it can be for my team.
"I’d recommend roles at Amazon for anyone who wants a job where you have total autonomy and the freedom to make a real difference.”
“I worked in both the Royal Navy and RAF around the same time that I was getting married and having children,” shared Helen Hobson, who now works at the Amazon delivery station in Hemel Hempstead.
“In my role as a full-time reservist with the RAF, I got to meet the Queen and received a commendation in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for work I’d done to support military spouses.”
Thankfully for Helen, the opportunity to give back didn’t stop when she joined Amazon.
“From helping deliver packages to customers who were isolating during the pandemic to setting up charity partnerships with Rennie Grove Hospice and Together for Short Lives, I love my time working with Amazon because of the variety and the opportunities that are available to progress.” she said.
“There’s also lots of mentorship and camaraderie, like the military, alongside a big focus on leadership and teamwork skills.”
Roles at Amazon
Ed Dutton decided to join Amazon after a posting in Afghanistan in 2009. He now works across several of the company’s buildings in Bristol, Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempstead, Dunstable, Tilbury and Dartford, and shared that the best thing about working Amazon is the people.
“It’s a real melting pot of personalities and cultures, which makes our team engaging and fun to be part of.
"If you’re in the forces or you’ve recently left and you’re thinking about your next career move, then I’d highly recommend applying for a role with Amazon.”
One of the opportunities available to the ex-forces community is the Amazon UK Consumer Military Internship, which launched in 2021.
The Amazon Military Programme saw Amazon named Employer of the Year at the Ex-Forces in Business Awards in 2021, following on from similar success at the awards in 2020.
Amazon is also a signee of the Armed Forces Covenant, which has a focus on helping the Armed Forces community to access the same support from government and commercial services as the public.
Find out more about the Amazon Military Programme.