Amazon announces £2.5 million Apprenticeship Fund to help small businesses across England upskill their workforces
Amazon is launching a £2.5m Apprenticeship Fund as part of our ongoing commitment to support career opportunities and skills development across England. By using the company’s Apprenticeship Levy to support small businesses selling on Amazon, Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers and smaller creative industry partners, these organisations outside of Amazon will be able to upskill their workforce by taking on their own dedicated apprentices.
Following the announcement of 1,000 new full-time apprenticeships at Amazon earlier this year, the Amazon Apprenticeship Fund will help to create an additional 200 apprenticeship opportunities in 2021. These new roles are available in 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.
Nicola Drury, UK Apprenticeship Manager for Amazon, said: “We are so excited to be able to continue our support of small businesses across England with the Amazon Apprenticeship Fund. Apprenticeships are crucial for the development of skills, regardless of age and background.”
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.”
Small businesses selling on Amazon
We are working 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 up to £27,000, apprentices will receive a mix of on-the-job and classroom training, together with specialist online training 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.
One business that has already benefitted from the Amazon Apprenticeship Fund is EasyTots, an innovative parenting brand that designs products to support weaning. Helen Davies, Founder and CEO of the business, has enrolled her employee Steph Halsall onto a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship.
The course will mean Steph can directly apply her new knowledge to our brand and we can work towards bringing more of our marketing in-house rather than outsourcing. The benefits will be huge!
“I have been on the apprenticeship for a couple of months and it has already given me a deeper understanding of the power of marketing,” says Steph, Content Creator and Marketing Assistant at EasyTots. “It means I can fulfil my potential at the company and I now feel confident enough to manage an entire marketing campaign. The support from Amazon with online seminars has also been invaluable to my development.”
“I can’t wait to take more responsibility for the digital marketing of EasyTots, continue to grow with the business and build out a marketing team,” Steph adds. “The fund means we can upskill in-house. I’ve already been able to integrate my knowledge to build a campaign for National Weaning Week – possibly the most important time of year for us!”
Speaking on how the apprenticeship fund has supported her business, Helen adds: “As an Amazon selling partner, knowing that the company has a programme to help small businesses like mine adds so much value. The training will means Steph can directly apply her new knowledge to our brand and we are given the tools to support her as she grows.”
The Gluten Free Bakery in South London is another business which has utilised Amazon’s Apprenticeship Fund to upskill within their business. Rana Righton, founder of the gluten-free baking business, decided to take the Digital Marketing Apprenticeship to develop her skills in-house.
“As a smaller company, online marketing is the best way to promote your business, and bringing those functions in-house is more manageable financially,” explains Rana. “I hadn’t done any formal training in online promotion before the apprenticeship, but during the pandemic it became a necessary focus.”
“I have received lots of continued support throughout the apprenticeship including monthly calls with my mentor and courses directly from Amazon to improve our presence online,” she adds. Looking ahead, Rana is excited about how her learning will help grow her business. “We’re focusing more on our branding and I can’t wait to see what the future holds!”
As part of the Amazon Apprenticeship Fund, we are investing £1 million over two years to specifically support apprenticeship roles in the creative industries, including film, television, 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 several independent production companies across the UK to commission projects for 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.
The announcement of the Apprenticeship Fund will allow a range of businesses across the entertainment sector to find and train the next generation of creative talent.
I am so pleased we were chosen by Amazon to benefit from their transfer levy. This is an exciting opportunity to accelerate our staff on their learning and career.
Ben Coulson, Managing Director of Roundtable Post Production, which worked on the Amazon Original documentary Andy Murray: Resurfacing, says the support from Amazon has been invaluable. The business has already hired an apprentice through a transfer levy.
“Developing our staff is an important core value to us at Roundtable Post Production,” Ben explains. “We have grown a lot over the years and our team has grown too. We try to identify the direction that the team wants to work towards and help them on that journey.”
“We have a lot of in-house resources including training manuals, videos and materials and a culture that encourages people to ask colleagues questions to help them learn. However, scheduling training time can be difficult when schedules are busy. External courses are a great way to accelerate that learning, but they do come with a short-term cost for a longer-term benefit.”
Margot Newcombe, Edit Assistant at Roundtable Post Production; currently enrolled on the Post Production Technical Operator Apprenticeship: “The course provides specific training in vital areas required of me in my role and puts me in a good position for progression,” says Margot when discussing how the apprenticeship will support her career.
“I am just a month into the course, but I’ve already learned a lot of information which I have been able to implement. The course goes into lots of theoretical depth teaching us how to navigate industry standard resources, like the Creative Cow and Avid forums. This means I am up to date with the latest developments and therefore better equipped to support my clients in resolving issues.”
“Before joining the apprenticeship I was a post-production runner. Working in the creative industries was always a goal for me. With the skills I am learning on the apprenticeship I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the field so I can specialise in the future.”
Ben adds: “The Post Production Technical Operator Apprenticeship, run by London South Bank University, has an excellent curriculum and Pat Horridge giving the training is hugely respected within our industry. I am so pleased we were chosen by Amazon to benefit from their transfer levy.”
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 Web Services
As part of the Apprenticeship Fund, Amazon is offering support for 50 apprentices at AWS customers when they take on AWS re/Start graduates in IT technical apprenticeship roles, such as DevOps and IT Solutions, who will receive on-the-job training and a nationally recognised qualification at the end of the role. 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.
It is fantastic to see investment in these programmes, which offer opportunities and routes into our industry for individuals who may not ordinarily be able to access this quality of training.
Martyn Scott, Head of Talent Development at Digital Transformation company ECS, which has worked with the AWS re/Start programme for two years, discussed how they have been supported by AWS in finding bright new talent: “Our participation in AWS re/Start means we can meet a range of talented individuals, and we have gone on to offer four AWS re/Start graduates roles with our business. We provide each of our hires with a tailored two-year development programme, helping them to gain specialist skills.”
Martyn adds: “It’s fantastic to see investment in these programmes, which offer routes into our industry for people who may not ordinarily be able to access this level of training. Opportunities like these not only benefit the employee but also the hiring businesses. We are able to select the brightest future talent in this field and mentor them through a formative stage in their career to ultimately become industry leaders.”
Naturally this also benefits AWS re/Start graduates, one such graduate is Junior DevOps Consultant at Nuaware, Khalid Jama.
“Starting a career in IT has always been a goal of mine, but I didn’t have the technical training to do it, and as a father of two young children I couldn’t take an extended time away from work to go back into full-time education,” explains Khalid. “AWS re/Start came at the right time – I couldn’t believe that you could learn these skills for free, and I was taught everything from the basics of IT to a deep understanding of cloud computing.”
“Since graduating from the programme my career has skyrocketed, it was integral in helping me identify the job opportunity at Nuaware,” Khalid adds. “Every day at the apprenticeship is so exciting and different. Having worked in admin roles previously it is amazing to be able to take control of my career and grow at my pace to where I want to be.”
“The continued support from Amazon has been incredible too. Not only did they come forward to me with apprenticeship opportunities, they have continued to support me while I am on the programme. I have a mentor who regularly checks in, provides useful resources and is always available for any questions or issues that arise.”
Earlier this year Amazon announced it will create more than 10,000 permanent jobs in 2021, taking it 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, where they will be put in touch with a member of the Amazon Apprenticeships team.
Find out more about how Amazon is supporting jobs in the UK.