Businesses from across the East Midlands had the opportunity to learn more about Amazon’s Career Choice programme as part of an event – the first of its kind in the UK - hosted by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and Amazon at the company’s Kegworth fulfilment centre.

Last year, Amazon UK announced a £10 million investment to train up to 5,000 employees in new skills. The training is provided through Amazon’s Career Choice programme, where the company pays course fees for its employees who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career elsewhere in Amazon or outside the company.

The Career Choice programme provides funding for adult education, by pre-paying 95% of tuition and associated fees for nationally recognised courses, up to £8,000 over four years. Courses available range from accountancy to HGV drivers and software developers.

Kegworth fulfilment centre General Manager Celia Syme meets exhibitor Charlee Oldham from Futures for Business
Kegworth fulfilment centre General Manager Celia Syme meets exhibitor Charlee Oldham from Futures for Business

The Kegworth event provided businesses with the opportunity to learn about Career Choice, meet some of the programme’s training providers and network with Amazon employees who are either taking part in the programme or are due to take part in the future. It also provided Amazon employees with the opportunity to learn more about the external jobs market.

“Amazon Career Choice is an innovative programme that offers fantastic benefits for the business community here in the East Midlands and across the UK,” said Andrew Bridgen MP for North West Leicestershire. “This initiative will open up a wide range of opportunities for even more workers, helping to develop the skills needed to power this region’s economy.”

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Our members have long said there are skills shortages hindering productivity and growth, with the latest research from our Quarterly Economic Survey showing that while 63% of East Midlands businesses attempted to recruit in the first quarter of the year, four in five of these reported difficulties.

“This is a great initiative from Amazon to plug this skills gap within the region’s business community and provide a boost for the economy. We’re delighted to have been the first Chamber to host one of these regional events, bringing benefit to our members and to the wider East Midlands community.”

“Amazon is a proud member of the business community in the East Midlands and this event underlines our commitment to the region,” added Celia Syme, General Manager at Amazon in Kegworth. “We’ve enjoyed welcoming local businesses to our fulfilment centre where they have been able to meet our team members – and promote their own businesses - and I hope many of them will take advantage of our Career Choice programme.”

UNP Amazon 43470 EMA1 Chamber of Commerce Skills Event059.JPG Andy Dowling from Derby University
Andy Dowling from Derby University, one of the exhibitors from a variety of organisations across the region

“My colleagues are my customers”

Ash Moosa from Leicester is an area manager at the Kegworth fulfilment centre and, not only is he a Career Choice student himself, he’s also one of its greatest advocates. “One of the most amazing things about my job is to inspire others to better their own life by making use of Career Choice,” said Ash who is part-way through a two-year HR management course from which he plans to transfer to a business management qualification in his third year.

“Some people need encouragement, need a little confidence to follow their career hopes, and I firmly believe that it’s my role to provide that encouragement whenever I can,” added Ash who has worked at Amazon in Kegworth for the past two years following a previous career in which he’s been a fragrance expert for the likes of Dior and Chanel, training sales people and picking up a customer service award along the way. “I see my colleagues as customers – they come first and I want them to have the best experience.”

UNP Amazon 43470 EMA1 Chamber of Commerce Skills Event Amazon employee Ash Moosa at the event
Amazon employee Ash Moosa at the event

 “A chance to gain new skills”

A former member of the team at the fulfilment centre in Kegworth who took part in Amazon Career Choice is Nikoleta Todorova Koleva.

Nikoleta joined Amazon in 2019, initially working as a picker. She learned about Amazon Career Choice through a colleague and signed up to take part in an Administration and Office Management training programme.

Nikoleta used her qualification to pursue a career outside Amazon and today, she works in the customer services team at an international financial website. Her training helped her to develop her communication skills, build her confidence and secure her dream job.

“The Amazon Career Choice programme gives you a chance to gain skills in a new field that you’re interested in, so you can develop your career,” said Nikoleta. “Without Amazon Career Choice, I don’t think I’d have been able to get my new job and I believe I made the right decision to take part in the programme.”

UNP Amazon 43470 EMA1 Chamber of Commerce Skills Event075.JPG Amazon employees from the right, Fabian Haertel, Victor Blinda and Ash Moosa at the event.
Amazon employees from the right, Fabian Haertel, Victor Blinda and Ash Moosa at the event.

“I love having an impact on people’s lives”

Another Amazon employee who has benefitted from the Career Choice programme is Alexandra-Silvia Vatulescu. Alexandra joined Amazon in 2016 and had previously worked as a land surveyor. When she learned about the Amazon Career Choice programme, she started to think about her future and how she could re-train for a new role.

After completing a Humans Resources Specialist course through Career Choice, Alexandra progressed to a new role as HR assistant, and she hasn’t looked back. “My job is very rewarding, I love having an impact on people’s lives in all areas, not only career development,” said Alexandra. “I’d encourage everyone at Amazon to sign up for Career Choice as it offers a great chance to develop their career and find the same successes I did.”

A brilliant way to motivate staff

Rita Tapp, National Resourcing Manager for Tarmac, the UK's leading sustainable construction materials, road contracting and building products company, attended the event and added: “I think the Amazon Career Choice programme is a brilliant way to motivate and retain staff, while also giving them the opportunity to see what’s available with other employers. It’s been exciting to attend the event to find out more about it.”

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