This month, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is rolling out AWS re/Start, a skills development and job training programme, in five new cities in UK – Blackpool, Leeds, Newcastle, and Sheffield – as well as Edinburgh, bringing the programme to Scotland for the first time.
The 12-week, skills-based training programme covers fundamental AWS Cloud skills, alongside practical career skills such as effective communication, time management, collaboration, interviewing, and CV writing.
By preparing learners for careers in the cloud and building local talent, AWS re/Start provides AWS Cloud skills development and job opportunities at no cost to learners who are from unemployed, underemployed, and under-represented populations. Applicants are not required to have any previous technology experience.
AWS re/Start focuses on diverse learner audiences, for example, young people, military veterans, or people made redundant from non-tech careers, who are supported throughout the programme by a specialist collaborating organisation.
The five new cities have been selected based on a range of factors such as local employer demand for entry-level cloud talent, and whether there is an immediate community need. These considerations mean learners can be connected with potential employers based in their location, helping to ease the transition from qualification to employment.
Minister for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage, said: “It’s great to see AWS investing in the UK and expanding their skills programme. The tech sector is vital to our future and this initiative will help provide people with a valuable opportunity to upskill and retrain, whether that’s mid-career or graduates seeking employment. We are making £2.5 billion available through the National Skills Fund to help get people working again after the pandemic and giving those in work the chance to train for higher-skilled, better-paid jobs.”
Building on success
Supported by professional mentors and AWS accredited instructors, learners will build Linux, Python, networking, security, and relational database skills through real-world-scenario-based learning, labs, and coursework. The programme also prepares and covers the cost for participants to take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, validating their cloud skills with an industry-recognised credential.
This training helps to prepare participants for entry-level cloud roles such as cloud operations, site reliability, infrastructure support, and technical-adjacent business support functions.
AWS re/Start graduate, Mark, aged 28, from Wolverhampton commented: “I was previously unemployed for two years and looking for entry level IT support work. I attended the taster [information] day out of curiosity and having a general interest in IT, and was very impressed with what was on offer as well as the quality of presentations shown to us. I thought it would be complicated and too hard to understand but Generation and AWS re/Start helped fill that gap in understanding. I have passed my AWS Certification and had two job interviews already. There's an abundance of opportunities as well as many different ways which you can take your career. Just because you start doing one thing doesn’t mean you can’t forge your path down another career path.”
Last year, some AWS re/Start graduates discussed their experiences, new careers and paths to success in the future. Check out the videos below to find out more.
Collaborating to boost skills across UK
AWS re/Start works with a number of collaborating organisations globally to build an inclusive, alternative, and diverse pipeline of new, in-demand cloud talent.
To boost skills regionally in Blackpool, Edinburgh, Leeds, Newcastle, and Sheffield, AWS is working with Primed Talent, which specializes in creating a strong pipeline of talent to ensure that the British workforce has the right skills now and in the future.
AWS is also launching a new learner cohort in London in collaboration with FDM Group. The global professional services organisation recruits, trains, and hires graduates before helping them to launch careers as junior consultants at FDM, working with businesses across a number of sectors including media, retail, life sciences, energy and utilities, and the public sector. The collaborating organisations will deliver the learning experience, provide learners with a pathway to earning AWS Certification, and support them as they launch their careers in cloud computing. Both AWS re/Start cohorts will begin in late-October.
Navin Kumar, Managing Director at Primed Talent, said: “AWS re/Start’s hyperlocal focus is an effective way to cater for local business requirements – and the best part is that these professionals do not require any prior technology experience!”
Andy Brown, Chief Commercial Officer at FDM Group, commented: “Building the next generation of cloud IT specialists from a variety of diverse backgrounds is absolutely essential for enabling businesses to thrive, especially during these uncertain times. We look forward to helping AWS re/Start to attract even greater numbers of applicants in the coming months.”
Upon completion of the programme, collaborating organisations support graduates by connecting them directly with potential employers in their respective city. Organisations that have hired AWS re/Start graduates in the UK include: Sage, KPMG, Centrica Hive, Scape, Onfido, Financial Times, Cancer Research UK, BJSS, Infinity Works, Sony PlayStation, and Sainsbury’s.
Christopher Livermore, Head of Operations at Centrica Hive, explained the benefits: “The training received by AWS re/Start graduates saved me considerable time as a manager. They came into the job with the background knowledge and fundamental understanding required to take challenges specific to Hive and run with them.”
Michael Fordham, UK Platform Capability Lead at Manchester-based technology consultancy BJSS, has overseen the recruitment and development of ex-military graduates from AWS re/Start. “The alumni that we have recruited from the AWS re/Start programme are delivering solutions for our clients, and they contribute significantly to our organisation internally. It’s a testament to these recruits that we’re expanding the idea and looking at other ways to attract more diverse candidates, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Find out more about AWS re/Start
Since first launching in the UK in 2017, AWS re/Start has expanded globally, including the US, the Netherlands, France, Canada and Australia.