Last year Amazon announced a £2.5 million Apprenticeship Fund to help small businesses across England upskill their workforces as part of our ongoing commitment to generate opportunities and support skills development in the UK.
Amazon is using the apprenticeship levy to support small businesses selling on Amazon, Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers and creative industry partners to help organisations outside of Amazon upskill their workforce by taking on their own dedicated apprentices.
We caught up with some of the apprentices who have been learning while they earn to find out how their newfound skills have impacted their career and the business they work at.
Louise, Delicious Designs
Louise joined Delicious Designs five years ago as a packer, helping to find, pack and post items purchased by Amazon customers interested in the designs they stock. The business sells a range of items such as wrapping paper, festive napkins and crackers, aprons, tins and more.
After becoming a parent of two children, Louise found it increasingly difficult to balance her time between family and working full-time at a local preschool. To spend more time with her children, Louise left her job and spent a couple of years doing odd jobs that would fit around her family schedule.
“One day I walked past the local shop and there was a job description for Delicious Designs in the window. On Wednesday I went to see them and on Friday I started. They saw past the gaps in my employment and gave me a chance!”
“The owner, who is a mother herself, encouraged me to apply for the apprenticeship programme and build my digital marketing skills. I’ve learned about SEO, free-to-use social media marketing and how to boost our audience and customer base.
“Since the training I’ve taken on the role of marketing assistant, spearheading social media and building us a presence and exploring advertising options. We don’t have a website yet but as part of the apprenticeship I might just see if I can create one.”
“We grew as a business during the pandemic, but now as things start to get back to normal growth is slowing. The apprenticeship has come at a really good time to give us a boost. It’s also turned my job into a career and most importantly, it’s helped me realise that I’m able to do more than I thought I could do!”
Sam, Salon Pictures
Sam is a production assistant and apprentice at Salon Pictures, a production company that specialises in biopics of influential figures. In a previous life, he produced match reports whilst studying a degree in sports journalism. However, Sam’s cerebral palsy made this job difficult, pushing him to reconsider his career path. Following careful consideration, Sam transferred into a degree focused on film, television and radio studies, and followed it with an MA in Arts and Creative Technologies.
Having decided to focus his career on his other passion – film and content production – Sam joined Salon Pictures because of their commitment to representing diversity on screen and behind the camera.
“One of my main responsibilities as an apprentice is researching vendors in the local area that we’re filming in and identifying suppliers who support green or sustainable production. One of the modules that I’ve studied during my apprenticeship was around sustainable production, so I’ve been able to take my learnings and apply it in a real-world setting!”
As well as developing Sam’s technical skillset, the programme has also helped with his confidence.
“I used to struggle with my confidence when I was younger, and I wanted to improve in that area. Networking and building relationships are key in the film industry and I used to feel nervous that I wouldn’t be able to excel. Throughout my time at university, I’ve been on my own journey of becoming more outgoing, engaging more with people and building my networking skills, and the apprenticeship has given me a safe space to practice these!”
Daisy, Berkshire Film Office
Daisy is an apprentice at Berkshire Film Office, an organisation that manages relationships between Berkshire Council and the filmmakers who work in the area when shooting on location.
“I was thinking about going to university, but I wanted to develop my skills and broaden my expertise in a working environment right away. I felt conflicted because I also wanted a qualification in film.”
When Daisy heard about the apprenticeship programme it ticked all of her boxes, so she applied and was accepted.
“I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking, especially aspects I’ve never thought about before like the legal processes behind setting up a shoot. A lot of the time you see footage shot on a road or on a bridge, but not many people understand all the legal and governmental processes behind simply getting approval to shoot there.”
“One skill I’m building here is working with others ‘off-set’ to facilitate the ‘on-set’ production. I’ve helped in preparing quarterly reviews, I take minutes in meetings with council members and work with different production managers and location scouts via email.”
Daisy has found the apprenticeship programme to be everything that she was looking for at the start of her career. It’s helped her learn more about the film industry, develop her working skills and earn money throughout the process, all while working toward a qualification she hopes will open doors in her future career.
“I'm 100% happy with where I am right now. I really enjoy what I'm doing at work, it's interesting, incredibly fun and is giving me fantastic experience in developing myself and my skillsets. I would recommend it to anyone!”
Amazon is encouraging small businesses in the creative industries, together with AWS customers, small businesses selling on Amazon and local authorities who are interested in supporting new apprenticeship roles to get in touch.
Contact email@example.com to talk to a member of the Amazon Apprenticeships team.