Amazon pays for staff training to help meet local skills needs

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Amazon is to help pay for training for up to 5,000 UK employees to help meet skills needs in the wider economy.

It will also create an additional 10,000 permanent jobs by the end of the year, taking its UK workforce to 55,000.

The online shopping giant will invest up to £10m over three years in training up to 5,000 employees to support government skills needs.

The training will be offered through Amazon’s Career Choice programme, where the organisation pays for adult education for staff who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career outside of Amazon.

It will offer to pre-pay 95% of tuition and associated feeds for nationally-recognised courses, from software development to HGV driving. It will cover up to £8,000 over four years for each individual.

Accredited Chambers of Commerce will be encouraged to work with Amazon to identify regional skills needs to ensure training is targeted where it is needed most, and to help set-up work experience opportunities.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Amazon’s announcement today is fantastic news and a huge vote of confidence in the British economy, helping us deliver on our commitment to level up across the UK with a whopping 10,000 new permanent jobs. As we build back better from the pandemic, this is a prime investment in our retail sector.

“Over the past year, Amazon’s workforce have pulled out all the stops to ensure consumers have had safe access to goods during this challenging time. Their latest investment will open up a wide range of opportunities for even more workers, helping to develop the skills needed to power tomorrow’s economy.”

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said the initiative highlighted how businesses can be a “force for good”.

“Providing staff with training to plug the skills gaps that exist within the local business community is going to be a key driver to increasing productivity and boosting the economy as the UK recovers from the pandemic,” said Haviland.

Amazon also expects to create another 10,000 jobs by the end of 2021. The new roles will include corporate office jobs in fields including digital marketing, fashion, engineering, software development, video production, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

It plans to open a new parcel centre and four new fulfilment centres, and expand its network of delivery depots. This will create thousands of roles in engineering, HR, IT, health and safety, finance, and order picking, packing and shipping.

A new warehouse in Hinckley, East Midlands, is set to open in the summer, which will create 700 new jobs.

A parcel receive centre in Doncaster and new fulfilment centres in Dartford, Gateshead and Swindon will each create more than 1,300 permanent jobs when they open later this year.

Amazon’s UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “We’re proud of the front-line roles we offer across Amazon, and we also know that they will be a stepping stone for some in their career journey. For people whose ambitions fall outside of our company, we are pleased to support them by paying for training and academic courses that can get them to where they want to be.”

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