Sergey Nivens -

AWS sets out plans to expand re/Start cloud skills programme across more of the UK and Ireland

Hot on the heels of Amazon’s pledge to create 10,000 jobs across the UK in 2021, its cloud division is planning to expand the geographical coverage of its long-standing skills builder programme

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has set its sights on increasing the number of people across the UK with the skills needed to take on entry-level roles in cloud computing through the geographical expansion of its long-running re/Start programme.

Originally launched in January 2017 with a focus specifically on equipping young people and ex-military personnel with cloud skills, re/Start has since expanded its focus to include people who have been made redundant from non-tech careers too.

At launch, the company said it hoped that up to 1,000 individuals would be given the opportunity to participate in work placements through the UK version of the scheme, and several years later AWS is now preparing to launch new cohorts for the programme in Belfast and Cardiff.

This expansion will mark the first time the AWS re/Start programme has been accessible to individuals within Northern Ireland and Wales, respectively, with the company also setting out plans to expand the programme’s coverage to many more cities across the UK.

To this end, the company confirmed it will be launching further re/Start cohorts in Birmingham, Blackpool, Dublin, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle, meaning the programme will soon be available in 12 cities across the UK and Ireland.

“At the end of 2020, AWS re/Start operated in 25 cities across 12 countries, and we expect to double the number of cities globally in 2021,” said AWS in a statement.

The programme is geared towards giving participants the skills needed to secure entry-level roles in cloud operations, site reliability and infrastructure support, for example.

These skills are accrued over the course of a full-time, 12-week training programme, with those who complete the course connected with potential employers in the hope of finding work.

Tejas Vashi, global leader for AWS re/Start, said the programme has proven to be “life-changing” for many of the individuals who have participated in it to date.

“AWS re/Start is more than a training programme – it’s also a ‘change your life’ programme,” said Vashi. “We work with populations who are unemployed, or underemployed, reskilling them and connecting them to real job opportunities. Our aim is to reach different groups who wouldn’t otherwise have a pathway to technology careers.”

“AWS re/Start is more than a training programme – it’s also a ‘change your life’ programme. We work with populations who are unemployed, or underemployed, reskilling them and connecting them to real job opportunities”
Tejas Vashi, AWS re/Start

Michael Fordham, UK platform capability lead at Manchester-based technology consultancy BJSS, said his firm had made use of the programme to fill the cloud skills gaps within its organisation with ex-military personnel.

“The alumni we have recruited from the AWS re/Start programme are delivering solutions for our clients, and they contribute significantly to our organisation internally,” said Fordham. “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.”

The programme is one of a number of skills initiatives AWS has embarked on in recent years, as part of its push to ensure the take-up of cloud technologies within the countries it operates is not hampered by skills shortages.

“Cloud computing is one of the most significant technological advances of our time, and it has become vital for businesses in the UK and Ireland,” the company said, in its statement. “If the UK and Ireland are to realise the true potential of cloud computing, greater investment in people and skills is absolutely vital.”

News of the expanded re/Start programmes comes hot on the heels of AWS’s parent company’s pledge to create 10,000 new jobs in the UK over the course of 2021 in its online retail and cloud computing divisions.

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