From the football field to the battlefield ― Jasmin Harvey makes sure the armed forces have what they need to perform at their best
From performing routine maintenance on Hercules C130 planes at RAF Lyneham to working 24-hour shifts in 55-degree heat on the frontlines of the Iraq war, Leidos' Quality Engineering & Control Lead Jasmin Harvey adapted to a wide range of challenges throughout her 22-year military career as an aircraft mechanic.
Still, for Harvey, the memories that stand out the most are from her time with the RAF ladies' football team ― particularly its long-awaited victory over the Army at the 2007 inter-service championship.
"The army used to hammer us, year in, year out, and it got to the point where we’d had enough," she muses. "We decided we needed to figure out how to work better as a team to beat them.
"That sense of community and teamwork is such an important part of military culture, and it doesn't leave you."
Even once she stopped playing, Harvey continued for several years as the team's kit manager, where she appreciated how vital having the right equipment can be to a person's ability to perform ― whether on a football pitch or a battlefield.
"When we started playing, we just had the men's hand-me-downs, which obviously didn't fit us at all," she explains. "I really wanted to make sure the girls had the best they could get because it makes a huge difference. When you look the part, you feel you feel it as well, and when you walk onto the pitch it makes a huge difference."
Despite Harvey's attachment to the RAF, after 22 years, she realised it was time to move on. In 2021, she joined Leidos' Logistics Commodities and Service Transformation programme as a quality assurance lead, where she's now responsible for helping Leidos ensure that the entire UK military gets the kit they need when they need it ― all from the comfort of her home in Worcester.
"My partner and I had been trying for a baby, and being called away from home all the time had begun to really affect our ability to live the life that we wanted to live," she says.
"It all came to a head after I’d been sent to the Falklands over Christmas and New Year. I realised I didn’t want to be doing this anymore. I’d done my time, and I was ready to leave."
Now the mother of a 16-month-old who "is full of energy," Harvey is finding parenting one of her biggest challenges yet. Still, being able to work flexible hours from home means she can be there for her daughter in a way that active service would never have allowed.
, Quality Engineering & Control Lead
I can do things with her in the day and just make up the time later, as long as I get my work done,“ Harvey says. “My team are very supportive of one another should they have childcare or other family emergencies. There is a great level of understanding between us regarding the challenges of family life, and we pull together to make sure the team continues to deliver.
While other companies may offer that flexibility to new parents, for Harvey, it's not just the work-life balance that makes Leidos such a compelling place to work; it's the fact that Leidos allows her to continue supporting her military family, too.
"I like that my work follows this same thread of making sure that our service people have what they need because I've been that person out in the desert and relying on some part or equipment that I've requested," she says. "I could do quality assurance work anywhere, but, being a veteran, I'm service minded, and knowing that my work really matters is such an important motivator."