Brit-nominated, South London artist Cat Burns was the headline act at a mentoring event for 200 aspiring apprentices in one of Amazon’s largest fulfilment centres in the UK, marking the tenth anniversary of our apprenticeship programme.
Taking place inside the state-of-the-art robotics fulfilment centre in Dartford, the event hosted an audience of Amazon employees and apprentices, as well as 200 members of Apprentice Nation, the career development platform that uses the power of music to inspire 16-25-year-olds to shape their future.
In addition to the concert, attendees were given a tour of the centre, which is equipped with advanced Amazon robotics technology, to experience a behind the scenes look at what happens when they click ‘buy’ on the Amazon website.
The Apprentice Nation members were also given the opportunity to see the technology used to help deliver for millions of customers around the world every day, as well as take part in career development activities. The aspiring apprentices also took part in a mass mentoring session with current Amazon apprentices, employees, and industry leaders from Lucozade and Havas, who shared their career stories and advice.
“It’s been amazing to support young people with Apprentice Nation and celebrate ten years of Amazon apprenticeships in this incredible robotics fulfilment centre with such an inspiring group of people,” said Cat Burns, speaking at the event.
“So much of my own journey has been about ‘learning on the job’ and I know how valuable it is to have relatable mentors to offer support along the way. This event has shown just how powerful the combination of music and mentorship can be.”
After talking about her own career journey with host and Capital Radio DJ, Remel London, Cat Burns and her band performed a live set for the audience which included her hits Go and People Pleaser.
Cat Burns has previously partnered with Amazon Music to release several exclusive performances including a live performance of Go ft Sam Smith, and more recently Live More & Love More from the Amazon CURVED studio in London.
“We are exceptionally proud to be celebrating 10 years of our apprenticeship programme, providing opportunities for upskilling and retraining for people of all ages, at all stages of their careers.”
Celebrating 10 years of Amazon Apprenticeships in the UK
The event comes after a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Amazon, showed that 86% of parents believe an apprenticeship would provide their child with a good chance of getting a permanent job, with 82% of also agreeing that an apprenticeship provided good earnings potential. When the Amazon apprenticeship programme launched in 2013, it had one scheme - engineering- and only six apprentices. Five are still employees of the business today, flourishing as engineers in fulfilment centres in Dunfermline, Rugeley and Swansea. This year, Amazon has offered hundreds of full-time apprenticeship roles across the UK starting at entry-level and including around 250 degree-level apprenticeships in over 30 different schemes ranging from engineering to broadcast production, warehouse team leaders to buying and merchandising.
In total, since the launch of the Amazon apprenticeship programme in 2013, Amazon has offered 5,000 apprenticeships in the UK. 85% of those who completed their apprenticeship have gone on to build successful careers at Amazon and currently 79% remain working with the company . Today, there are more than 1,600 apprentices taking part in the programme, making it one of the largest and broadest apprenticeship schemes in the UK.
In 2023, Amazon launched new apprenticeship programmes, including in cyber security and information communications. The new apprenticeships highlight Amazon’s ongoing commitment to creating jobs and providing opportunities for training and upskilling across the UK.
“This is a time where we are all questioning university as being the dominant career route, but there are many other ways to a career,” said Stephen Greene CBE, CEO RockCorps & Producer of Apprentice Nation.
“That is what Apprentice Nation does: it offers options. In this case, through our exciting and unique partnership with Amazon. We are stoked to have Cat Burns perform in Dartford and share her inspiring story with others. What an artist!”
Speaking at the event, Amazon’s UK Country Manager, John Boumphrey, said: “We are exceptionally proud to be celebrating 10 years of our apprenticeship programme, providing opportunities for upskilling and retraining for people of all ages, at all stages of their careers.
“Apprenticeships are key to equipping people with the skills they need to progress in today’s labour market, and we now offer one of the broadest and largest apprenticeship programmes in the UK. From young people entering the workplace for the first time, to older people looking to take their skills and careers in a new direction, our apprenticeship schemes illustrate that, at Amazon, there are opportunities for everyone.”
Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: “I applaud Amazon for its decade-long commitment to apprenticeships. Giving 5,000 people the opportunity to earn while they learn and develop the skills needed to succeed is key to building a skills and apprenticeships nation, and I hope that more employers follow in their footsteps.
“Over 90% of apprentices go into work or further training, and this is certainly true at Amazon. In fact, 85% of employees who completed their apprenticeships have gone on to build successful careers at the company, showing that an apprenticeship isn’t just a rung on the ladder of opportunity, it can take you all the way to the top.”
Apprentice Nation member, Jecoliah Frimpong, from Greenwich, added: “This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - Cat Burns was incredible and the mentors were really inspiring. I had no idea there were so many opportunities and different apprenticeships available at Amazon and it will definitely make me think of doing an apprenticeship instead of going to university!”