Senior Operations Manager
Ministry of Defence Pre-Deployment Training
When Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) stepped up its training for troops destined to serve in Afghanistan, it turned to G4S Secure Solutions (UK) for assistance.
What G4S had and the MoD needed was individuals like Harkaraj Rai, MVO, whose military achievements, during 29 years with 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles, were considerable – including a year escorting Her Majesty The Queen to Investitures at Buckingham Palace.
In his new non-military role, he is senior operations manager on G4S’s MoD Pre-Deployment Training contract, which is managed by its Gurkha Services division. Harkaraj coordinates the activities of a team of over 150 G4S employees – most of whom are former Gurkhas – sending them throughout the UK in support of the MoD’s Operational Training Advisory Group (OPTAG) which provides infantry soldiers with rigorous training in realistic settings, to prepare them for deployment in Afghanistan.
He was expecting it to be almost impossible, as he neared his retirement from the Gurkha regiment in his late 40s, to find a similarly satisfying civilian job. Yet, within four months of leaving the military, in 2007, not only was Harkaraj Rai fully employed once more but he was also working in a familiar environment.
“I, and the colleagues I am working with, have done the job that the British troops are being asked to do,” adds Harkaraj, who served with distinction in 10 countries, including Bosnia and Afghanistan. “We have the experience, we know the Afghan people, how they do business and what the trainees need to get from us. We also speak a number of languages, some of which are used in Afghanistan.”