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Amazon has announced it is creating 1,500 apprenticeships in the UK in 2022, adding to its current 70,000-strong workforce.
In 2021, the retail giant added 25,000 people to its firm in the UK across various functions, making its total number of employees in the region 70,000.
Amazon UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “We are proud to have created so many new permanent jobs across the UK in the past year, and the 1,500 apprenticeships we’re creating this year will help even more people get the skills that are in demand in today’s labour market.
“We want to be the employer that helps people take their careers to the next level, whether you’re just starting your first job or making a career change, in every community that we serve across the UK.”
As the UK’s digital skills gap remains wide, firms complain they are unable to find skilled workers to fill tech-bases roles, claiming people are leaving education without the skills needed to enter the workplace, leading to a small pool from which to lure tech talent.
Many have debated whether apprenticeships could be the answer to developing the specific skills needed by organisations.
There are 13 new apprenticeship schemes at Amazon this year, including in publishing, retailing and environmental, social and corporate governance aimed at giving apprentices experience in the area of sustainability, adding to the selection of around 40 other apprenticeship schemes ranging from entry-level to degree-level.
The retail giant’s website advertises several digital-focused apprenticeship opportunities, including roles such as data analyst, software development engineer, solutions architect, IT support, IT engineer and DevOps.
Amazon’s focus on apprenticeships has been ongoing, with the firm creating around 1,000 apprenticeships in the UK in 2021, as well as seeing around 1,200 existing employees learn IT skills as part of its Amazon Career Choice training programme which aims to support people in developing new skills.
Last year’s 25,000 hires spanned across several different types of roles at both Amazon and Amazon Web Services (AWS), including research and development, software development, project management and engineering.
Of its recruitment in the UK in 2021, which was aimed at both people new to the workforce and those returning, Amazon claimed half of those hired in its fulfilment centres came either straight from education or were previously unemployed.
The past year was a busy one for Amazon, with 2021 seeing the retailer launch a £2.5m Amazon Apprenticeship Fund aimed at helping small businesses that sell through its platform use the government’s levy transfer scheme to access talent.
The firm’s AWS arm also launched a space tech accelerator to provide startups working with space-related technologies or data with technical, business and mentoring resources.
But while the pandemic saw Amazon surge as people increasingly started to shop online – leading to the retailer creating jobs in Ireland to support the country post-pandemic, as well as adding thousands to its workforce across the UK to cope with customer behaviour during the pandemic in 2020 – the impact of lockdowns easing was felt by the firm, which saw revenue growth slow in the second quarter of 2021 as the public largely returned to normal.