When Corporal Jessica Masterman MBE, 32, left the Army in 2017 after a career that spanned ten years, she was unsure of what her next profession should be.
Jessica, who is from the Rhondda Valleys in South Wales, had joined the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) in 2007 training as a Communications Specialist with 3 Regiment RLC, before moving on to 25 Regiment RLC as a Section Commander and finishing her time as a Welfare Officer, supporting 6 Regiment RLC’s move from Germany to Dishforth in North Yorkshire as part of the Army 2020 restructure.
All soldiers who transition to civilian life go through a resettlement programme, which is designed to help personnel leaving the Armed Forces to prepare for entering the civilian job market and to make a successful transition to employment, or achieve the wider vocational outcome they seek. Jessica had been told it could take time to adjust and after applying for several different jobs such as project management, recruitment and telecoms she realised that these were not professions she wished to pursue.
“I had seen an advert online for an Amazon Fulfilment Centre opening close to where I lived at the time and after reading the job description I thought why not! I remember reading that it was fast-paced, and no day was the same as the last which was something that I wanted, I didn’t want to be bored. I applied, interviewed and two months later I had started as a Team Lead in a fulfilment centre managing robotic floors.”
Amazon have a large ex-forces presence in their workforce and have recently reaffirmed their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a promise to ensure that personnel, veterans and their families are treated fairly and should face no disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services. It’s a recognition of the dedication of those who have performed military duty and demonstrates the value of their contribution.
Jessica’s progression with Amazon was swift and she now works as a Launch Learning Program Manager, supporting sites that are either launching or changing aspects of their existing processes. She liaises with numerous teams to ensure learning aspects are covered and that training plans for managers and team leads are relevant, ensuring that Amazon’s employees have the skills they need to succeed. It’s also a role where she can put her military expertise to good use.
“The Army taught me a lot and it was only when I left that I actually realised how many transferable skills that I had to bring away from it. People skills is a huge one; from day one in the Army, team building is drilled into you. You look out for one another, build relationships and work together through everything. When I was an Area Manager, I managed up to 150 employees in my department and the experience of managing teams in the Army, helped me be successful in driving that positive culture of teamwork that resulted in a very efficient team.”
During her Army career, Jessica deployed twice to Afghanistan and took part in training exercises in Cyprus and Canada. When she was a Section Commander in a Phase 2 training establishment, the drive and commitment she now shows for her teams in Amazon earned her an MBE for having a positive impact on trainees’ lives. She also credits the Army with teaching her how to deal with situations and environments that can change very quickly. Reacting swiftly, making key decisions and being able to take a step back when under pressure to calculate the next step is something that is required daily in her work at Amazon, and something that the Army prepared her well to do.