Veterans into Logistics has appointed John Harker MBE as the charity's general manager as part of its drive to help veterans retrain for roles in the logistics industry.
Harker brings 33 years of experience in the British Army to his new post, having served in Northern Ireland, Canada, Cyprus, Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as mainland UK - with all but five years in front-line operational units.
Joining as a junior leader in 1980, Harker rose through the ranks to warrant officer, Class 1 (regimental sergeant major) before being commissioned as an officer in 2001.
In 1996 Harker was awarded the Joint Force Commanders Commendation in Bosnia and in 2001 he received the Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service for his operational contributions in Northern Ireland, In 2012 he was awarded the MBE.
Harker has worked across numerous operational roles spending several years in senior logistics officer positions and command appointments across the UK, Germany, Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan.
He also spent two years training officers at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and his last post with the military involved supporting injured soldiers and their families at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham.
Harker also brings a wealth of charity experience to Veterans into Logistics from his time as CEO of Wigan Youth Zone, Wigan Armed Forces HQ (Wigan Council), Manchester Academy of Gymnastics and latterly My Life Legacy.
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He said: “I am thrilled to take on the role of general manager at Veterans into Logistics and be back supporting the Armed Forces community, veterans and injured soldiers.
“Veterans are hardworking, loyal and talented problem solvers and many are ideally suited to new careers in the logistics industry.
"Veterans into Logistics raises its own funds to cover licence and training costs and personally supports veterans and service leavers with tailored mentoring for their specific needs.
"The charity is proud to have established strong relationships with its partners who provide the additional support which enables veterans to fulfil a career in their HGV Driver or logistical roles.
“This is an exciting time for Veterans into Logistics and I look forward to building on the charity’s fantastic achievements which already include supporting hundreds of veterans and service leavers to pass their HGV licence tests; developing strong relationships with our partners, including Muller and Asda; receiving the prestigious Gold Armed Forces Covenant award and featuring in a BBC documentary, as well as receiving funding from the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and Asda.
“I will continue to give the same level of drive, energy and commitment as I did throughout my military service to support Veterans into Logistics’ mission of reducing unemployment and poverty in the ex-military community by providing tailored support into the logistics sector.”
Chris Clarkson MP for Heywood and Middleton said: “It's been a privilege and a pleasure to be able to work with Veterans Into Logistics the past couple of years.
"Veterans Into Logistics are changing lives for the better and I know that John will be an excellent addition and help VIL to continue their work giving our fighting men and women a fighting chance back in civvy street.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester said: “Congratulations to John Harker for being appointed as the new general manager of the charity.
"With the wealth of experience he has, I am sure he will be able to build on the successful work the charity has already done, which has contributed to making Greater Manchester the best place for Veterans to live and work in the country. I believe the charity will continue to go from strength to strength.”