Veterans into Logistics is dedicated to supporting service-leavers / veterans who are struggling to find a direction and employment whilst offering a solution to the chronic UK logistics industry.
The team consists of veterans, family, friends, volunteers and skilled professionals. We share the same ethos, passion and commitment to help our veterans get the most out of a new career.
I started my military service back in August 1974 and completed my basic training and driver training to class C at Buller Barracks. I was then posted to 16 Tk Tptr Sqn in Germany where I spent 9 years during that times I completed my C+E Test then my specialist Tank Transporter trade training class 3 class 2, class 1 at 7 Tank Transport Regiment training centre, during this time I also qualified as a HGV Driving instructor.
1983 I was then posted to 414 Tk Tptr Sqn as section commander in charge of a section of 6 transporters During my time there I moved into operations where I was planning routes for the Tank Transporter throughout the UK
1986 I was posted to 617 Tank Transporter Sqn where I was a section commander then moved to the vehicle servicing and inspection bay carrying out vehicle roadworthy inspections.
1989 I was posted to 7 Tk Tptr Regiment training wing as. A & B vehicle trade instructor during this time I also Qualified as an all arm’s weapons instructor.
1993 I was posted to 414 TkTptr Sqn where I spent time as a section commander and vehicle inspections
I retired from the Army in August 1996 where I joined Manchester training as self-employed HGV instructor until the regulations changed in 1997.
1997 I joined TDG Logistics as a transport planner controlling 2 Major Customer contracts Napier Brown Sugar and Cadburys bulk and liquid tankers. looking after 40 drivers In 2000 I moved into TDG safety and training services as a divisional instructor covering the chemical division advanced driver safety training. I then moved in to head office as the northern region group instructor supporting and carrying out continuation training for all depot instructors in the northern region across all divisions.
After being made redundant in 2011 after TDG take over by Norbert Dentressangle, I joined Woodside Haulage as the UK driving instructor covering all driver continuation and safety training including fuel-efficient driving and transport-related issues. until April 2022 when I retired until Darren rang me and asked me to go and see him as he had heard I had retired, I join Veterans in Logistics on 25/04/2022 bringing a vast amount of knowledge and experience.
Working at Veterans into Logistics really opened my eyes to see the amount of veterans who struggle while adapting to civilian life. I joined the company through the Kickstart Programme and this is my first proper job, through working here I have been trained in aspects of the workplace I wasn’t at all experience in, such as Customer Service and General Office skills.
Growing up I didn’t have the easiest time and experienced my own mental health issues, working with Veterans into Logistics who help people who are going through hard times is something I really admire, and feel proud to help those who need our support and who have served their country.
It is in my passion to go the extra mile to help and support people who are in need, whether it is my friends, family, or total strangers I seem to be that “go-to”. When I got the opportunity to come work for Veterans into Logistics as a recruitment consultant I was over the moon, as I understand and know how it feels mentally to be in a loose end job or unemployed. I build and develop positive relationships with Service leavers/Veterans and their families to better understand their requirements and needs.
As a teen I always wanted to become a Dental Nurse, I studied at The University Dental Hospital of Manchester for just over 18 months, it was challenging and overwhelming at times, but I made it my mission to carry on and qualify at the same time of having the responsibility of a 6-month-old. I got offered a contract at the dental practice where I did my work placement; however, I just felt it wasn’t for me as I am a people’s person; I knew back then I needed a career change to feel more satisfaction from life by just helping and guiding people. That is what I do today, thanks to everyone at “Veterans into Logistics”.
John Harker MBE
John Harker MBE started at VIL in May 2023 to support with and focus on building the charitable side of the organisation, whilst supporting the operational needs of the training arm of VIL.
Before this he worked with several charities including My Life Legacy, Wigan Armed Forces HQ (Wigan Council), Manchester Academy of Gymnastics and was CEO of Wigan Youth Zone where he headed-up a team that provided support and recreation for young people in Wigan.
Prior to this, John was a Major in the Army with 33 years’ service of which all, but 5 years of this time was served in front line operational units. He joined as a Junior Leader in 1980 and quickly rose through the ranks becoming the youngest Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) in the Infantry before being commissioned as an officer in 2001 age 36.
As well as mainland UK he has served in Northern Ireland, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He was awarded the Joint Force Commanders Commendation in Bosnia 1996, in 2001 he received the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for his operational contributions during years of service in Northern Ireland and latterly was awarded the MBE in 2012.
John has worked with thousands of military personnel over his career and has been an Instructor at the Armies recruit training establishment and latterly in his career spent several years as a Senior Logistics Officer in a number of roles across the UK, Germany, Cyprus and Afghanistan. He also spent 2 years at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst training officers in Command and Leadership and his last post in the military involved working closely with and supporting injured soldiers and their families at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.
John left the Forces specifically to be the CEO of Wigan Youth Zone (charity) where he spent over 4 years committed to providing an outstanding service and maintaining a vibrant, well managed, exciting and fun facility for young people in Wigan.
He is thrilled to be back in a role supporting the Armed Forces community, Veterans and injured soldiers and will continue to give the same level of drive, energy and commitment as he did throughout his military service.
Originally from Colne and a lifelong Burnley supporter, he is married to Sandra, also from Colne and their son Brett (28) serves in the Royal Army Medical Corp as an Operational Department Practitioner.