The Amazon Future Engineer Class Chats programme brings both live and on-demand virtual career talks directly into UK classrooms. Amazon employees working in a wide variety of roles share their insights and experiences with school students, engaging young people about their future opportunities.

The Amazon Future Engineer Bursary supports women from low-income households with up to £20,000 per student to pursue a degree in computer science or engineering. Let’s meet a few of them.

Delivered by volunteers from across Amazon, including Alexa AI, Prime Video and AWS, the Class Chats give students the opportunity to explore diverse careers in the tech industry – and find out what the path to getting there looks like.

According to a report released by the Education Select Committee, teaching school children about careers helps to raise aspirations and break down negative stereotypes about gender and background. However, pupils with the greatest need for quality careers education, information, advice and guidance (CEIAG), including disadvantaged pupils, those from minority ethnic backgrounds, those known to the care system, and young carers, are the least likely to receive it. Pupils eligible for free school meals are more likely to have received no careers information, advice or guidance, and schools in deprived areas are less likely to have access to specialist careers advisers.

As noted by Gatsby, career guidance is a necessity for social mobility: young people without significant social capital or home support to draw upon have the most to gain from a career guidance system.

Free, fun and engaging, Amazon and Turinglab are providing equitable access to Python coding courses to upskill young people across the UK

The Select Committee report also revealed that 88% of teachers feel their training did not prepare them to deliver careers information and guidance to students, particularly as many teachers may not have experience of the world of work outside of teaching. This highlights the important role businesses can play in expanding young people’s horizons and opening up opportunities for the future.

Last month, Amazon UK Country Manager, John Boumphrey, attended Lochgelly High School as part of the Class Chats programme. This school is 5 minutes’ walk from The Big House project in Fife which Amazon supports as part of The Multibank charity initiative.

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Amazon UK Country Manager, John Boumphrey, speaking at Lochgelly High School as part of the Class Chats programme.
John Boumphrey attending a Class Chats programe at Lochgelly high school
John Boumphrey with Lochgelly High school pupils.jpg

Read on to find out three of the top tips John Boumphrey told students in Lochgelly:

Find something you are good at. Work hard at it, and opportunities will become available.
The truth is, there’s no secret or magic here. Just find something you know you excel at, keep working at it, and opportunities will present themselves.

From our online store to your doorstep, Amazon’s virtual fulfilment centre tours teach school children how robotics, machine learning, and incredible people across Amazon make the magic happen behind the scenes.

Know what’s on the back of your t-shirt
Knowing what’s on the back of your shirt means being aware of how you come across to others. Make sure you know what people are likely to be saying about you when you’re not in the room. Ask yourself how you want others to perceive you and then work backwards from that.

Find your supporters and make them proud.
As well as making yourselves proud you should try to make those around your proud, including your teachers. Students at the start of their journey should remember that progress isn’t always in a straight line, but the special people will still be with you on the journey.

Students taking part in a STEM session at Amazon
Students from two Cambridge colleges swapping the classroom for the Amazon Development Centre to take part in a special STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) event.

Upskilling young people in developing technologies

Class Chats is one of the many programmes available to students through Amazon Future Engineer. Amazon’s free computer science education programme aims to bridge the digital skills gap by providing more opportunities to young people in underserved and underrepresented communities. Since launching in 2019, it has reached more than 500,000 young people across the UK, providing free Python coding course, virtual school trips to go behind the scenes of an Amazon fulfilment centre, as well as AI and musical coding challenges.

Working in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Amazon also provides financial support to young women from disadvantaged backgrounds to study computer science and engineering related degrees through the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary. The bursary was established to address the underrepresentation of women studying these subjects at UK universities and help to increase diversity in UK STEM talent.

Read more about Amazon Future Engineer’s Class Chats programme.