At Amazon we’re constantly looking for leaders who can invent, think big, have a bias for action, and are obsessed by delivering results for their customers.
Those principles will sound familiar to anybody who has served in the Armed Forces, as well as military spouses and their families. That’s why thousands of veterans and military spouses are driving innovation and raising the bar on the customer experience at Amazon around the world – applying their knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities to redefine what’s possible.
We are committed to creating opportunities for ex-military communities, military spouses and their families – including our renewal of the UK government’s Armed Forces Covenant earlier this year. Since 2011, we have also offered the Amazon Military Programme in the UK to create opportunities for veterans to pursue exciting post-military careers at Amazon sites across the country.
This year we are continuing to act on our commitment to support the Armed Forces community with the expansion of Amazon’s UK Corporate Military Internship.
The six-month paid internship offers a path directly into corporate roles for those transitioning from the Armed Forces, with interns supported throughout their transition to the corporate world, including a military mentor who already works at Amazon, tailored support from line management and an onboarding buddy.
Sound interesting? Join our special event on Thursday November 18th (11:30-13:00) where you’ll learn about the Amazon business and Internship programme and hear from ex-military personnel working for Amazon.
To find out more, we spoke to current UK Corporate Military Interns about their experiences so far, life after the military, and rewarding careers at Amazon.
“I’ve found stability and opportunity with Amazon”
Abigail Sawyer only recently left the Royal Air Force, where she had worked as a nursing officer and in aviation safety.
Having worked across desk jobs, medical evaluations and much more, Abigail is no stranger to flexibility: “In the military you could be working on multiple workstreams, so learning to spin plates has been a really useful transferable skill for this internship!”
“When you leave the military, the top priority is to find stability and opportunities,” she adds, “and I feel lucky to have found both with Amazon. This internship is a testament to Amazon’s commitment to the Armed Forces. I come from a medical background, but they have taken a chance on me and are investing in training me. The support has been incredible.”
“Transferable skills are seen as invaluable”
Scott Waters spent 16 years in the Royal Navy before joining our UK Corporate Military Internship earlier this year.
“It’s quite daunting leaving the military after a long period of time,” Scott explains. “There is self-induced pressure to make a good decision about where to go next because you’re leaving such a secure bubble.”
“I feel the transferable skills you gain in the Royal Navy can be heavily underrated outside of the defence industry,” he adds.
“One of the major factors that made Amazon appealing as an employer is that transferable skills are seen as invaluable to Amazon’s work and culture. You see and feel the value of that culture every day – when you ask hard questions, respectfully disagree and ask for help.”
“A well-established, consistent and meritocratic culture”
Growing up, James Blaszkowski had always been drawn to adventure and travel. After completing a Master’s degree at the University of London, James was selected for officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and went on to serve for seven years in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, travelling to Canada, Brunei, Kenya and across Europe in roles focused on large-scale mission training.
For much of his career, James was heavily involved in training and development, “guiding young recruits and trained soldiers through the training pathway was a big highlight in my career and rewarding personally.”
After seven years, he had achieved everything he wanted to within the military, and saw civilian life as, “the next challenge, I was keen to settle down, dedicate more time to my family and forge a path in a new career.”
His transition out of the military included two months working on a remote sheep farm in New Zealand to “decompress”, and four months volunteering with the NHS as an operations manager during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Amazon’s Corporate Military Internship was suggested by a friend, he jumped at the opportunity: “I could see immediately that the Leadership Principles matched with my military values, and Amazon offered a well-established and meritocratic culture that I could thrive in.”
“My colleagues, no matter how experienced or busy, will always find time to offer advice, and think of solutions together. As a new starter coming from a different world, that means a lot.”
James adds: “The military prides itself on inter-personal skills. Our ability to earn trust, our curiosity, our desire to learn and take ownership; these are all core qualities for a successful team in any world.”
“I never realised how many opportunities could be available to me – and I’m fascinated to see where this journey takes me!”
“The world’s my oyster”
Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, James Mallard trained as an officer in the Royal Marines and went on to join a Commando unit in Scotland. His career in the military included time in Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, the Norwegian Arctic Circle, Brunei and Oman.
“The Royal Marines are unique in that they train all their officers and recruits alongside each other,” James explains, “which means we developed deep bonds through shared hardship.”
Recently married, with his wife expecting their first child, James wanted to spend more time with his family – and the internship with Amazon has been a natural transition from military life.
“There are big similarities between military life and working at Amazon: the culture and ethos, the singular purpose on customer obsession, the sense that we’re all pulling in the same direction. Not everybody I know has transitioned out of the military so easily,” he explains.
Looking ahead, James would like to, “work on projects that have a big global impact on sustainability”, particularly diving deep on data analysis to optimise solutions and deliver better outcomes for the environment.
“But right now, I’m getting a brilliant grounding in the world of technology, and I feel like the world’s my oyster.”
“Amazon takes its social responsibilities seriously”
After university, Jack Rowden joined the Army as an officer – a journey that took him from London to Afghanistan, Kenya and back again.
The time eventually came when he wanted to be able to choose where he lived while still challenging himself.
“I wanted to work somewhere progressive, so it’s been great to see how seriously Amazon takes its social responsibilities,” Jack explains. “The Leadership Principles also match up to my own values, so this internship felt like a natural fit.”
“The military internship expands on the usual opportunities you find for ex-military within Amazon,” he adds.
“There’s a real recognition of the skills that veterans can bring to roles in other areas of the business, outside of operations. It’s an inspiring opportunity for those who want to work in a more corporate environment.”
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