Published: 06:00, 24 September 2021
A former soldier who lost a leg fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan has spoken of how his injury ended his army career but found a new passion leading hundreds of staff at an Amazon depot in Kent.
Tony Harris suffered his injury while on a tour in 2009 and has since competed in the Invictus Games and the Paris-Dakar Rally.
The 40-year-old, who is an operations manager at Amazon's new warehouse in Dartford, said: "I’d been 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."
The former captain says after leaving the armed forces in 2013, he wanted to find a career where he could use the leadership skills he'd developed in the army.
It was then he found out about the Amazon Military Programme, which works with and offers veterans to join a new career after leaving the military.
The firm says it has hundreds of former military servicemen and servicewomen working in positions throughout the country.
Tony added: "Today, I’m an operations manager, leading up to 350 people. We have graduates and many people joining us direct from an MBA course through the Amazon Pathways programme, and lots of ex-military.”
Amazon launched the programme in 2011 and has joined the Armed Forces Covenant which focuses on developing links within the armed forces community to access support from the government and services the public enjoy.
Tony is now encouraging his fellow former veterans interested in a career-change and to utilise their skills to consider the online retail giant and the roles the company could offer them.
Emma Morgan, programme manager for the Amazon Global Military Programme, added: “Amazon is committed to supporting the men and women who have served their country in the Armed Forces and we’re exceptionally proud to have Tony on our team at Amazon in Dartford.
"We’re passionate about offering an exciting range of roles for people looking for a career after leaving the military.
"I’d encourage anyone who has recently left the Armed Forces to attend some of our Amazon Military Programme events to see the breadth of opportunities available to them with us.”
The company has won awards for its ex-military service personnel employment programmes and says it plans to create another 10,000 jobs in 2021 and offers courses and support to employees.
For more information visit www.amazon.jobs/en-gb/military.