Take a rare peek inside the Amazon fulfilment centre in Bristol as we find out how people, robots and complex algorithms help bring orders to your door.

I started working at Amazon in 2019 because I was seeking a new challenge. Before I joined, I worked as an electrician’s mate with the Ministry of Defence where I helped to refurbish homes for Armed Forces Personnel. Although I enjoyed travelling around Scotland and found the role fulfilling, I was ready for a change, so I was excited to start as an Amazon associate, because I knew there would be multiple opportunities for career progression.

Birds eye view of the fulfilment centre at BRS1
Inside the fulfilment centre in Bristol.

Working as part of a large-scale operational site was new to me but immediately I loved it. Amazon’s Bristol fulfilment centre (BRS1) is as big as eight football pitches, with around 2,000 employees, state-of-the-art robotics, and other high-tech machinery working to ensure packages are delivered to customers on time. During my four years at Bristol, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with many incredible and interesting people - it is undeniably my favourite part of the job.

Encouragement from senior leadership boosted my career.

Throughout my time at Amazon, I have been promoted four times within the Inbound and outbound teams, starting as a temporary associate and quickly becoming permanent in just four months. As a stow associate, I was responsible for managing incoming inventory with the help of Amazon robots, picking, scanning, and placing them in appropriate storage pods for easy retrieval when customers place orders.

State-of-the-art technology and a passionate workforce blend traditional bookmaking with the efficiency of modern printing techniques.

An employee moving products into the moving pods in the fulfilment centre
Debra stows inbound items into the moving pods.

In 2020, I was offered the opportunity to become a step-up Team Leader – a chance to take on additional responsibilities. A year later, I became a permanent Team Leader. The biggest leap came when I applied to become an Area Manager in 2022. Although the interview process was rigorous, I was supported by my manager, Operations Manager, and Senior Operations Manager who provided me with helpful tips, and went through my answers one-by-one to make sure I was well-prepared.

Peter Keay showing an employee what to do at his work station
Peter helps Jose scan items at his work station.

My manager once predicted that I would become an Area Manager in five years. With his and a few other managers guidance I achieved it in just three! I’ve been an Area Manager in P2R and ARSAW Pick, supervising between 60 and 150 employees since February 2022. I am grateful for the incredible career opportunities Amazon and the team at BRS1 have provided – you really won’t find progression like this anywhere else.

Supporting employees to reach their career goals is an integral and fulfilling part of my job.

Employees in fulfilment centres across the UK share what makes the UK such a special place to live.

In my role as an Area Manager, I am responsible for everything and everyone in my department and regularly collaborate with other shift managers to ensure we’re working towards the same goal. One of my favourite aspects of the job is coaching and supporting team members, whether it’s performance improvement or career development. I always make sure to remember that it’s all about people. You are dealing with human beings, and it is critical that they feel safe, secure, and valued in the workplace.

An area manager helping an employee with his tasks at the fulfilment centre
Peter shows Jose how to solve an issue at his work station.

Recently, I assisted a team member to progress from being a Process Guide to a proxy Team Lead as my team was unexpectedly short-staffed. Once he was fully trained, I supported him to become a step-up Team Leader. We worked closely on his interview technique and answers to ensure he passed his interview. And he did!

He was immediately slotted into my team as a Team Leader and we worked together through Peak, our busiest period. When the opportunity arose for a permanent Team Leader position, I once again helped him through the interview process, and he was successful.

The one advice I would give every new employee at Amazon

My advice for every entry-level associate at Amazon is to keep working hard and keep putting your hand up for different tasks to get your name out there. If at any time it feels like there are no new opportunities available, then try to carve out your own. Unfortunately, your dreams and goals won’t fall into your lap so don’t wait for them to happen - make them happen!

Learn more about Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Bristol.