Amazon creates £2.5M Apprenticeship Fund to help UK small businesses upskill their workforce


Amazon has announced the creation of an Amazon Apprenticeship Fund to help small businesses across England take on apprentices through the levy transfer scheme.

The £2.5 million investment will help create more than 200 new apprenticeships in 2021, with roles now available across Digital Marketing, Business Administration, Post Production Technical Operators, Visual Effects Artists, Broadcast and Media Technicians, DevOps Engineers, AI Data Specialists, Software Development, Data Analysts, Cyber Security Technologists and more.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers who take on AWS re/Start graduates, our smaller creative industry partners and small businesses who sell on Amazon’s stores will be able to take on apprentices with the training funded by Amazon through a levy transfer to help them upskill their workforce. In addition, Amazon is working with a number of local authorities who will serve as a transfer partner for small businesses, including the West Midlands Combined Authority, London Progression Collaboration and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Amazon will work directly with small businesses selling on Amazon to help boost their productivity, sales, exports and marketing skills for the digital age by taking on apprentices who will undertake training in these areas. Lasting between 12-48 months, and covering apprenticeship standards funding of up to £27,000, apprentices will receive a mix of on-the-job and classroom training, together with specialist online learning provided by Amazon which covers how to build a successful e-commerce business, how to market and advertise products to customers, and how to sell to a global customer base.

Amazon has set aside £1 million over two years within the Apprenticeship Fund specifically to support apprenticeship roles in the creative industries, including across the film & TV sectors, music and publishing. Amazon Music is working with DiVA to provide apprenticeship opportunities for up and coming talent in the music industry. Amazon Studios works with a number of independent production companies across the UK to develop and commission Amazon Originals for its streaming service Prime Video, including documentary series such as All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur, entertainment programming like The Grand Tour, and scripted series like The Rig, which is currently in production in Scotland. Today’s announcement will make it possible for a range of companies supporting production across England to train the next generation of creative talent. Amazon is working with other organisations such as the UK Screen Alliance and dedicated training providers including LDN apprenticeships and All Spring Media who will help transfer levy funds to small businesses in the creative industries wanting to take on an apprentice.

As part of the Apprenticeship Fund, Amazon is supporting 50 apprentices for customers of AWS when they take on AWS re/Start graduates in IT technical apprenticeship roles, such as DevOps and IT Solutions. AWS re/Start is a free, full-time skills development and training programme that prepares individuals for careers in the cloud and connects them to potential employers. The programme is one of the ways Amazon is helping 29 million people around the world grow their tech skills with free cloud computing skills training by 2025. AWS re/Start builds an inclusive and diverse pipeline of new cloud talent by focusing on youth, military veterans and their families, as well as unemployed or underemployed populations. AWS re/Start graduates who move into apprenticeships will receive on-the-job training and a nationally recognised qualification at the end of the role.

“We are proud to be creating new opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds across England to gain skills through the Amazon Apprenticeship Fund,” said, John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “We are committed to supporting the UK’s economic recovery post-Covid, and this fund will give our partners, customers and small businesses in the Amazon ecosystem the opportunity to take on talented apprentices who will help those organisations grow.”

Rana Righton, Founder, The Gluten Free Bakery based in South London, and Digital Marketing Apprentice: “The Amazon Apprenticeship Fund has already been hugely beneficial for me. As a smaller company, online marketing is the best way to promote your business, and bringing those functions in-house is more manageable financially. I have received lots of continued support both from my course mentor and Amazon directly – it’s great to see Amazon empowering small businesses like mine.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: “It is brilliant to see Amazon continuing to support apprenticeships within its business and beyond. Apprenticeships play a key role in helping businesses of all sizes develop the skilled workforce they need and secure their talent pipeline for the future. With apprenticeships available for a huge range of exciting careers, from Digital Marketing to Data Analyst, Cyber Security to Broadcast Technician, there are so many great opportunities available at a range of levels. As a former apprentice myself, I know the life changing impact an apprenticeship can have. I’d urge as many people as possible to check out the opportunities on offer.”

Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “The creative industries are at the heart of our plans to build back better from the pandemic and apprentices will be vital to this effort. I am pleased to see Amazon has committed £1 million to fund apprentices in the creative industries and look forward to seeing their careers flourish.”

Amazon is encouraging small businesses in the creative industries, together with AWS customers, small businesses selling on Amazon and local authorities who are interested in supporting new apprenticeship roles to contact from today, where they will be put in touch with a member of the Amazon Apprenticeships team.

Earlier this year, Amazon announced it had started recruiting for over 1,000 full-time apprenticeships in the UK in 2021, covering 25 different programmes ranging from IT, safety technician and HR through to software engineering, production and creative digital design. The roles which pay minimum of £10.80 p/h in the London area and £9.70 p/h in other parts of the UK up to £30,000 a year for degree-level apprenticeships include 100 degree-level apprenticeships in automation engineering, project management, software development and chartered management. Over 500 new apprenticeships will be offered to Amazon’s existing workforce, providing opportunities to retrain and gain new skills leading to an exciting new career path.

In May, Amazon announced it will create more than 10,000 permanent jobs in 2021, taking its total workforce to more than 55,000 people by the end of the year. Amazon also announced that it will invest £10 million over three years to train up to 5,000 employees in new skills and support the Government’s investment programme. This training will be offered through Amazon’s Career Choice programme, where the company pays course fees for its employees who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career outside of the company – something that will boost the skills and employability of British workers. Career Choice provides funding for adult education, offering to pre-pay 95% of tuition and associated fees for nationally recognised courses, up to £8,000 over four years. Courses available range from accountancy to HGV drivers and software developers, and are designed to help employees pursue careers outside of Amazon if they choose to do that.

Amazon has invested over £23 billion in the UK since 2010 to provide convenience, selection and value to UK consumers, while supporting tens of thousands of small businesses and creative professionals including those selling on Amazon’s online stores, Amazon Web Services developers and Kindle Direct Publishing authors.