Amazon pledges R10 billion to upskill employees for future world of work

The company has introduced six training programmes available to 100 000 US-based employees. 

Amazon recently committed to spending $700 million (roughly R10 billion) over the next six years to upskill 100 000 of its employees across the United States. The skills training programs will support employees across Amazon’s corporate offices, tech hubs, fulfillment centers, retail stores and transportation networks to help them into more highly-skilled roles within or outside of Amazon.

“We are just starting to scratch the surface of how best to upskill our employees and enable them to chart their own career paths. We will continue to pilot new upskilling programs and quickly scale them when existing initiatives are successful,” said Amazon in the announcement of their Upskilling 2025 pledge.

There are six programmes launched as part of the pledge. 

1Machine Learning University (MLU)

Reserved for employees with a background in technology and coding, the MLU teaches employees about maching learning, which is bound to play an increasingly important role in customer innovation. This will help employees learn core skills to propel their career growth with skills that are often learned only in higher education. 

2 Amazon Technical Academy

The Amazon Technical Academy will combine instructor-led, project-based learning with real-world application to equip non-technical Amazon employees with the essential skills to transition into, and thrive in, software engineering careers.

3 Associate2Tech

Associate2Tech is fully-paid for 90-day programme that is designed to place associates in on-the-job training for IT support technician roles within Amazon’s vast operations network regardless of their qualifications or previous IT experience. 

4 Growing Career Choice

This is Amazon’s pre-paid tuition program for fulfillment center associates looking to move into high-demand occupations. Amazon will pay up to 95% of tuition and fees towards a certificate or diploma in qualified fields of study, leading to enhanced employment opportunities in in-demand jobs.

Since launching Career Choice in 2012, over 25,000 Amazonians have received training for high-demand occupations including aircraft mechanics, computer-aided design, machine tool technologies, medical lab technologies, and nursing. The company is investing in expanding the program by building additional classrooms in its fulfillment centers globally, and expects to have over 60 on-site classrooms by the end of 2020.

5 Expanding Amazon Apprenticeship

In partnership with the US Department of Labor, Expanding Amazon Apprenticeship is a certified program that offers paid intensive classroom training and on-the-job apprenticeships with Amazon. Providing a combination of immersive learning and on-the-job training, the Amazon Apprenticeship program has already created paths to technical jobs for hundreds of candidates working to break into professions including cloud support associate, data technician and software development engineer.

6 AWS Training and Certification

Amazon employees already have access to free classroom and digital training to build cloud knowledge around Amazon Web Services (AWS) and receive discounted certification for exams to validate their cloud expertise. But now even more employees will be encouraged and incentivised to learn more about AWS as cultivating these in-demand skills will create more opportunities both within Amazon and at organizations around the world as demand for cloud talent continues to grow.