Amazon has announced a package of new measures to help small and medium-sized business (SMEs) upskill their workforce in retail and digital skills.

A new £1m SME Apprenticeship Fund will enable the creation of over 150 Digital Marketing, Business Administrator and Customer Services roles, who will work full time for small and medium-sized businesses that sell on Amazon. The new apprenticeships will help to boost their productivity, sales and experts in the digital age.

Lasting between 12-18 months, new apprentices working for SMEs will receive a mix of in-work, online and classroom training. The fund is open to any brand-owning small or medium-sized business registered in England that currently sells on Amazon and has a turnover of less than £2 million.

Apprentices working for SMEs will also receive specialist training on how to build a successful e-commerce business, how participating SMEs can market and advertise their products to customers and how to sell their products to a global customer base.

In addition to the Apprenticeship Fund, we launched our Amazon Academy 2019 programme this week – a series of free events across the UK to provide hands-on, practical training to help small businesses succeed in the digital economy, in particular by boosting export sales and reaching customers around the world.

For the first time ever, Amazon Academy attendees will also get the chance to see behind the scenes in our Fulfilment Centres, where they will see what happens to their stock when a buyer makes a purchase.

“We want to help British small businesses build the skills needed to boost their productivity, revenue and exports so they can succeed in the digital age,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “Through our new £1m fund, over 150 apprentices specialised in retail and digital skills will be created, enabling SMEs to up skill their existing staff whilst also offering employees formal qualifications that set them up for positive long-term careers.”

Tens of thousands of British SMEs sell products on Amazon’s global sites every year, helping to support 80,000 jobs and achieving more than £2.5bn in export sales in 2018.