Aberdeen apprentice starts new learning journey with Amazon

Amazon apprentice in data analysis, Irisa Galascapova

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AN apprentice from Aberdeen who works at Amazon’s Head Office in Shoreditch is taking the first step on the path to higher education and new experiences after joining the Amazon Apprenticeship programme.

Amazon is creating 1,000 full-time apprenticeships in the UK this year, covering 25 programmes ranging from IT, safety technician and HR, through to software engineering and creative digital design. Roles include 100 degree-level apprenticeships and more than 500 apprenticeships for Amazon employees, providing an opportunity to retrain and gain new skills.

After completing the fully funded apprenticeship in Data Analysis, Irisa Galascapova (25) will use her new skills and knowledge in a Data Analyst role at Amazon’s Head Office in Shoreditch, helping her continue her career progression within the company. 

Speaking about the Amazon Apprenticeship programme, Irisa said:

“It’s been an interesting journey that’s taken me to my apprenticeship with Amazon. Originally, I studied law and business management at the University of Aberdeen. After I graduated, I started a job at an oil company as a global supply chain graduate. It was here I developed an interest in data, and I started to take coding workshops and bootcamps in my spare time.” 

“However, like many others, the oil industry was severely affected by the pandemic, so I decided to join Amazon. I started working at the Amazon delivery station in Aberdeen in September 2020 as an operations supervisor. After about six months in that position, the opportunity came along for me to apply for an apprenticeship in data analysis. Because of my interest in data and coding, I just knew I had to apply.”

“The only issue was the new role was based in London and I still had another month to complete at my role in Aberdeen, so I was concerned about the transition. I didn’t need to be concerned; I was able to officially start the apprenticeship in May this year and start my studies remotely while finishing up my contract in Aberdeen.”

“I moved from Scotland to London in June and the move has been really smooth. I’m enjoying the apprenticeship with Amazon, and I feel I’m learning something new every day, from coding to improving my Excel skills.”

“I would really encourage anyone thinking of applying for an apprenticeship with Amazon to go for it. No matter what your background is, where you’re from or what your age is, Amazon is very good at accommodating everyone.”

Nicola Drury, UK Apprenticeship Manager at Amazon, added: “The Amazon Apprenticeship programme is a great way to develop new skills and embrace new opportunities. We’re passionate about helping our people develop through a wide range of training programmes and it’s fantastic that hundreds of our 1,000 apprenticeships have been taken by existing Amazon employees and that we are also welcoming new people to the company. We’re proud that Irisa has joined the programme and everyone at Amazon in Shoreditch is looking forward to supporting her career progression.”  

The 1,000 new apprentices will join current apprentices already working at Amazon. The recent Amazon apprenticeship programmes have attracted recruits from a range of different backgrounds including a former barista, footballer and photographer, to former military veterans and nurses. Throughout the last year, people have also joined Amazon from construction, customer services, health care, hospitality and sales industries.

The apprenticeship programmes are designed to suit candidates with a range of experience, from those with life skills to school leavers who are 18+ with GCSEs or A-levels. The roles pay a minimum of £10.00 or £11.10 per hour depending on location, up to £32,000 a year for degree-level apprenticeships.

Apprentice programmes last between 14 months and four years and a typical apprenticeship combines theoretical learning with hands-on training, enabling participants to obtain qualifications and degrees and earn money in the process.

Once qualified, apprentices will have the potential to work across Amazon’s UK sites including fulfilment centres, delivery stations, sortation centres and the company’s UK head offices in London and Manchester and the three development centres in Edinburgh, Cambridge and London.

Amazon provides competitive pay, excellent benefits and a modern, safe and engaging work environment for its employees. The comprehensive benefits package includes private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection, and an employee discount – which combined are worth more than £700 annually – as well as a company pension plan. 

Earlier this year, Amazon announced plans to create more than 10,000 new permanent jobs in 2021, taking its total UK workforce to more than 55,000 people by the end of the year. It will also invest £10 million over three years to train up to 5,000 employees in new skills and support the Government’s investment programme. This training will be offered through Amazon’s Career Choice programme, where the company pays course fees for its employees who have expressed an interest in pursuing a career outside of Amazon – something that will boost the skills and employability of British workers. 

Amazon employees also have great opportunities to progress their careers at the company, whether that be through improving existing skills or promotion into a managerial role. For those who see their future outside of Amazon, the Career Choice programme provides funding for adult education, offering to pre-pay 95% of tuition and associated fees for nationally recognised courses, up to £8,000 over four years. Courses available range from accountancy to HGV drivers and software developers, and are designed to help employees pursue careers outside of Amazon if they choose to do that.

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