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East Midlands Chamber News

Amazon to open fifth East Midlands fulfilment centre and partner with Chamber network to identify skills needs in major training programme

Amazon will create 700 jobs in the East Midlands after announcing the opening of its fifth large warehouse in the region – as it also unveiled plans to help plug skills gaps in an innovative partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The e-commerce giant will take its total permanent headcount in the region to 3,400 when it opens the 500,000 sq ft fulfilment centre in Hinckley this summer, adding to existing sites in Chesterfield, Coalville, Kegworth and Sutton-in-Ashfield.

It was included in a wider announcement today that the company will create more than 10,000 permanent jobs across the UK by the end of 2021, taking its national workforce to 55,000.

East Midlands Chamber welcomes Amazon’s investment in region

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Amazon is fast growing into one of the biggest and most important employers in our region, with the Hinckley fulfilment centre set to be the fifth of its kind in the East Midlands and joined by a smaller delivery station in Kegworth.

“When added to the centres in Chesterfield, Coalville, Kegworth and Sutton-in-Ashfield, Amazon will employ 3,400 people permanently – with thousands more workers recruited temporarily for busy seasonal periods.

“The pandemic has accelerated pre-existing trends such as the transition from physical to online shopping and, as a result, we have witnessed numerous large warehouses popping up along the M1 corridor and around East Midlands Airport.

Amazon's Kegworth warehouse

“These create hundreds of jobs on average each time, employing people who can then bring economic benefits back to our towns and cities.

“It’s therefore crucial for our region in particular, due to our central location nationally and reputation as a place where goods are made and moved, to embrace the logistics industry as an important part of our present and future economy.”

Amazon partners with British Chambers of Commerce network to identify regional skills gaps

Meanwhile, Amazon announced it will invest £10m over three years to train up to 5,000 employees in new skills.

This training will be offered through the company’s Career Choice programme, where it pays 95% of course fees – up to £8,000 over four years – for its staff who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career outside of the firm.

It believes this will boost the skills and employability of British workers, with available courses including accountancy, HGV driving and software development.

By linking up with the BCC, accredited chambers of commerce such as East Midlands Chamber will have the opportunity to work with Amazon to identify regional skills shortages and ensure training is focused on local needs.

The company will provide classroom-based learning through Amazon Career Choice, as well as exploring opportunities with the BCC network to provide practical work experience and mentoring in employees’ chosen future professions.

Scott said: “Amazon’s Career Choice programme has already proved to be a great initiative in helping its employees to retrain and this latest partnership should be commended as a showcase for how big business can be a force for good.

“For a company to not only provide a pathway towards gaining new skills that may lead staff to switch employers, but actually invite other businesses to take advantage of its training investment by cherry-picking those people, is a highly innovative idea.

“We know there are some key skills gaps that need to be plugged within the East Midlands and this new partnership between Amazon and chambers of commerce will be a key driver to boosting our local economy during our post-Covid recovery. We will be encouraging our 4,000-plus members to embrace this fantastic opportunity.”

Shevaun Haviland, director-general of the BCC, added: “This is a great initiative that will not only help Amazon but also provide a much wider benefit to the community, while showcasing how business 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.”

Amazon’s UK country manager John Boumphrey said: “We’re delighted to be working with the British Chambers of Commerce on a pioneering approach to our Career Choice programme to provide the training, and skilled workers, needed to boost local economies right across the country.”

“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.”

Where are Amazon’s 10,000 new jobs?

The 10,000 new permanent jobs Amazon will create in the UK this year will include roles at its corporate offices, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and operations network.

Corporate roles will be available in offices in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, and Cambridge across a wide range of fields including fashion, digital marketing, engineering, video production, software development, cloud computing, AI and machine learning.

In operations, Amazon will open a parcel receive centre and four new fulfilment centres – in Hinckley, Dartford, Gateshead and Swindon – as well as continue to expand its delivery station network, creating thousands of new permanent roles on teams including engineering, HR and IT, health and safety, finance, and those that pick, pack and ship customer orders.

These jobs add to the 1,000 full-time apprenticeships Amazon will create in the UK in 2021.

Announced in February, the apprenticeships cover 25 programmes ranging from IT, safety technician and HR through to software engineering and creative digital design.

Roles include 100 degree-level apprenticeships and more than 500 apprenticeships for Amazon employees, providing an opportunity to retrain and gain new skills.

Pay for operations roles in the East Midlands fulfilment centres, sort centres and delivery stations start at £9.70 per hour.

Employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package, including private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, and an employee discount – which combined are worth more than £700 annually – as well as a company pension plan.

John added: “We have always wanted to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, and we have also committed to be Earth’s best employer and Earth’s safest place to work.

“We’re creating thousands of good jobs across the UK from a diverse range of roles with excellent pay and benefits.”

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 has pulled out all the stops to ensure consumers have had safe access to goods during this challenging time.

“This 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.”

People interested in applying for both permanent and seasonal roles at Amazon should visit www.amazonjobs.co.uk.

Amazon has launched free live virtual tours of its UK fulfilment centres for people curious about what happens behind the scenes when they click “buy” on Amazon.co.uk. Register at www.aboutamazon.co.uk/amazon-fulfilment/tour-an-amazon-fulfilment-centre.