Milton Keynes military veteran celebrated by Amazon team to mark Armed Forces Day
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Derrie Whitson, who works in Milton Keynes as a reliability maintenance engineering (RME) technician, joined the company in 2019 after a career in the military. Derrie has been talking about his experience of leaving the military and joining Amazon ahead of this year’s Armed Forces Day celebrations.
Before joining Amazon, Derrie, who was born into an Army family in Germany before relocating to Northampton, was a robotics engineer, working all over the world fixing technology for large companies. Before that, however, Derrie was in the British Army, where he served for seven and a half years.
Joining the military at 16 on an apprenticeship programme, Derrie worked his way through the forces until he finished his service in the airborne division in 2006. Part of his role in the armed forces involved building and servicing communication radios, which is where he developed an interested in technology.
Upon leaving the Army, Derrie completed a Higher National Diploma in electrical engineering, kickstarting a career journey that would take him to Amazon.
Wanting to settle down to enjoy family life, Derrie joined Amazon from his previous role in search of stability. What he wasn’t expecting to find at Amazon was family-like bond with his colleagues that would come through the team he works with and the Amazon Warriors affinity group, the company’s dedicated support network for ex-military team members.
Speaking on his experience of joining Amazon, Derrie said: “The culture at Amazon is really unique, and in many ways it feels like the military. There’s a strong sense of community that almost feels like a family bond and the teamwork displayed is incredible.”
As part of his involvement with the Warriors, Derrie was able to raise awareness and funds for Walking With The Wounded by taking part a 25-mile-long walk from the Amazon sortation centre in Milton Keynes to the Amazon fulfilment centre in Dunstable with a group of colleagues. For him, it’s initiatives like this that reinforce the positive experience he has of Amazon’s culture.
Many members of the military community join Amazon through the company’s military programme. The Amazon Military Programme offers members of the military community the opportunity to pursue a wide range of exciting new career paths. Last year over 350 veterans, reservist and military spouses joined in more than 35 different job roles including health and safety specialists, engineers and team leaders. These new employees joined more than 2,500 already employed at Amazon since it commenced its military programme in 2011.
Emma Morgan, Programme Manager, Global Military Affairs at Amazon, said: “We believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn and develop and we are passionate about extending these opportunities to veterans, military spouses and reservists. People from the military community add tremendous value to our workforce and it’s fantastic to celebrate them during this year’s Armed Forces Day events.”