Amazon has pledged to create 750 apprenticeships within 250 small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) across England next year.
The tech giant will fund 300 new roles at small businesses that sell on its store or are customers of AWS, as well as at firms that are creative industry partners. Local authorities will also be receiving support to create apprenticeship schemes for industries where there are skill gaps to fill.
The kinds of roles that will be created and supported include those in Digital Marketing, Visual Effects Artists, Cyber Security specialists and more. Each scheme will last between 12-48 months, with a mix of on-the-job and classroom training.
Amazon Apprenticeship Fund
The new initiative comes from an £8m investment as part of Amazon's Apprenticeship Fund which launched in 2021. The company has run its own apprenticeship program for over a decade, and was recognized as one of the top 100 apprenticeship employers in England by the ranking system developed by the Department of Education, in partnership with High Fliers Research.
The company also claims that nearly nine in ten of the 3,000 apprentices it has taken on in the last five years have transitioned into permeant roles at Amazon.
The Amazon Apprenticeship Fund will invest in AWS customers and Amazon sellers, supporting apprenticeships in various IT roles, such as DevOps, as well as marketing and retail, which Amazon claims will "help boost productivity, exports, and cloud computing skills."
Creative industry partners will also be receiving schemes, "to find and train the next generation of creative professionals." Amazon is working with AIM and Women in CTRL to help fund a new scheme for a record label assistant apprentice, and is also funding roles in production and technical operations, as well as other roles, as part of its work with the UK Screen Alliance, Screen Skills and the Department for Education.
Amazon has also partnered with local authorities across the nation, such as the West Midlands Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and London Progress Coalition. Amazon says the funds here are being used to "address local skills gaps in areas like advanced manufacturing, social care and construction. "
John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager at Amazon, said: “When we launched in 2021, we made a commitment to support around 250 new apprenticeships through the fund, but we’ve been inspired by the success of the programme to date, and expect to create around three times that number by this time next year."
Robert Halfon, the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, also said that: “The fund will also support Prime Video and Screen Skills’ work in providing flexi-job apprenticeships to talented individuals working on fantastic productions like The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power."
Perhaps the extra round of funding and support for more apprenticeship schemes comes as part of a PR move for Amazon: with big tech companies conducting mass layoffs, beginning with Twitter's infamous cull once Elon Musk took the reigns, Amazon's new initiative may look as though it actually cares about providing jobs. The company itself has had its own recent rounds of layoffs, culminating in 27,000 job loses this year so far.
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