Carmarthenshire apprentice helps Amazon celebrate 1,000 new apprenticeship opportunities for 2024

Photo : Copyright © Simon Ridgway 2024 - www.simonridgway.com - [email protected] - 07973 442527 | Caption : 17.01.24 - David Miles Amazon Swansea

An apprentice at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Swansea is encouraging others to start an apprenticeship and boost their careers as Amazon announces the expansion of its apprenticeship programme with the addition of 1,000 new positions across the UK in 2024.

Amazon offers one of the UK’s top private sector apprenticeship schemes according to the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers[1], including entry-level placements and more than 230 degree-level apprenticeships in programmes including accounting and data analysts.

Recruitment has now started for more than 30 different schemes, from sustainability to engineering, project management to product buying, and warehouse team leaders to health and safety technicians.

This year, Amazon is also launching new programmes including the digital product manager apprenticeship and the commercial procurement and supply apprenticeship. The range of different apprenticeship schemes reflect both Amazon’s diverse workforce and the communities it serves every day across the UK.

As well as offering hundreds of new roles to external candidates, more than half of the new apprenticeships will be offered to existing employees who will have the opportunity to retrain and gain new skills for an exciting new career path. In 2023, two thirds (67%) of new apprentices at Amazon were aged 25 and over, an increase of 10% year on year, which demonstrates the support apprenticeships provide in helping people pursue new careers.

An apprentice who has completed the programme is David Miles, from the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea.

David, from Carmarthenshire, works at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea as a health and safety technician. David is a graduate of the Amazon apprenticeship programme, completing a health and safety apprenticeship in September 2023. He has worked at Amazon for almost four years.

“I went to university in 2003 to study computer games development, but it wasn’t the right environment for me. I left university without finishing my degree and stumbled into a job with a pizza company. I progressed through the ranks at the company over 14 years, going from positions in local stores to overseeing the opening of new locations across the UK,” he said.

“I loved my time at the pizza place, but my work-life balance wasn’t what I wanted it to be, so I decided to leave, and I retrained as an electrician.”

David completed his first two years of training at college, where he also picked up a GCSE in English. However, as he was looking for an apprenticeship, he realised that most organisations were looking for young people and he had difficulty finding a suitable role.

“It’s almost impossible to get an apprenticeship as an electrician over the age of 25, so I really struggled. Then COVID happened, and I found out my partner was pregnant. Needing a role quickly, I saw a position at Amazon, and I joined the company. I quickly realised this was a great place to work and I made plans to progress at the site here in Swansea.”

“During my first year, I worked as a proxy for the health and safety team, and I loved it. Around the same time, I saw the apprenticeship opportunity in health and safety, and I thought it sounded like a great opportunity to get a qualification and work at the same time,” David said.

“I thought the Amazon Apprenticeship programme would offer me the opportunity to get more experience in health and safety, so I applied. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made – I had so many opportunities to work alongside teams here in Swansea and in Bristol and Swindon, while getting a qualification and having the chance to implement health and safety programmes that I created.”

The flexibility and work-life balance offered by Amazon is also praised by David. “This is the first role I’ve had that when you’re off, you’re really off,” he said. “I appreciate that – it gives you an opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds – at work and at home – and that’s something I’m grateful for.”

Nicola Drury, Head of Skills and Apprenticeships at Amazon, said: “Every year we look forward to recruiting ambitious and enthusiastic apprentices to join our teams working to deliver for customers all over the UK. Whether they’re retraining to begin a new and exciting career, or gaining new skills to take their career in a new direction, we’re proud to provide opportunities for people to find their dream roles.”

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: 

“Apprenticeships are crucial to giving people from all backgrounds the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity while addressing skills gaps and helping to grow our economy.

“So, it is brilliant news that Amazon, one of our Top 100 apprentice employers is continuing to embrace apprenticeships, opening 1000 full time apprentice positions across the UK this year, including over 230 degree apprenticeships.

“Amazon is a world-leading employer – they understand the apprenticeship levy and use it well, and I hope more businesses follow their lead and experience the benefits of apprentices for themselves.”

The 1,000 new apprenticeships highlight Amazon’s ongoing commitment to creating jobs and training opportunities for people across the UK. Once qualified, apprentices will have the opportunity to work across Amazon’s UK sites including fulfilment centres, delivery stations, sortation centres as well as corporate offices in London and Manchester, and four development centres in Cambridge, Edinburgh, London, and Swansea.

Amazon apprentices work across a wide variety of different schemes in hundreds of teams, from software developers in Prime Video, buyers in fashion, and production in Amazon Studios. This year apprentices could be a solutions architect in Amazon Web Services, a marketer in Amazon Music, or work with cutting-edge technology in operations as an engineer.

Since 2021, Amazon has pledged £8m supporting over 400 SMEs with apprenticeships via the apprenticeship levy transfer service. To date, Amazon has supported over 750 apprentices across a wide range of schemes including adult care, data, dental nurses and broadcast production assistants.

In addition to the apprenticeship schemes, Amazon employees can also take advantage of Amazon’s pioneering Career Choice programme, which pre-pays up to 95% of tuition and fees for courses in high-demand fields, up to £8,000 over four years, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.

Competitive pay, comprehensive benefits and a modern, safe and engaging work environment is provided for its employees. The roles pay a minimum of £11.80 or £12.50 per hour, rising from April to between £12.30 and £13 per hour, depending on location, and up to £33,500 a year for degree-level apprenticeships. All employees also receive a benefits package that includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, and an employee discount – which combined are worth thousands annually – as well as a company pension plan.

Amazon has been named as a ‘Top Employer UK 2024’ by the Top Employer Institute, one of the world’s most prestigious certifications in the field of human resources management. This award recognises Amazon’s commitment to the development and well-being of its employees. In addition to the UK accolade, Amazon has also been certified as one of the Top Employers in Europe for the second consecutive year. https://www.aboutamazon.co.uk/news/top-employer-2024

Applications are now open for Amazon’s apprenticeship programme. For more information, visit: www.amazonapprenticeships.co.uk

[1] https://topapprenticeshipemployers.co.uk/files/Top100AE23.pdf