Tech giant Amazon has announced 1,500 new apprenticeships across the UK.
The 40 schemes range from engineering to health and safety and includes more than 200 apprenticeships which are degree level.
Amazon employs more than 70,000 staff in the UK and said the scheme would help more people get the skills in demand in the job market.
BT Group recently announced plans to recruit more than 600 apprentices and graduates for September 2022.
The group, one of the UK’s largest private sector apprenticeship employers, said it would recruit for posts in its engineering, customer service, applied research, and cyber-security areas.
The latest recruitment drive for both companies comes as firms in the UK and the US report growing problems filling skilled roles. Amazon has also previously offered a signing-on bonus of £1,000 to fill some roles.
Amazon’s apprenticeships programme covers a wide range of areas including publishing, retailing, marketing, and a programme focused on environmental, social and corporate governance.
The firm’s UK country manager John Boumphrey, said Amazon was “proud” to have created the 1,500 apprenticeships which would “help even more people get the skills that are in demand in today’s labour market.”
He added: “We want to be the employer that helps people take their careers to the next level, whether you’re just starting your first job or making a career change, in every community that we serve across the UK.”
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, said the announcement is “testament to the strength of the British economy, with GDP back at pre-pandemic levels, employee numbers at record highs and unemployment falling”.
He added: “With the vast majority of Amazon’s workforce located outside of London and the South East, these additional 25,000 jobs highlight the success of our Plan for Jobs in helping to ensure greater opportunities across the country.”
Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Institute of Student Employers, told the BBC the move “reflects what we hear from many employers, that apprentice training routes deliver an increasingly important source of talent.”
However, Mr Isherwood said the government needed to make “significant improvements” to the “patchy careers provision in schools so that students and their parents are more aware of the alternatives to university”.
Julian David, chief executive of industry group techUK said that increasing numbers of its members were now offering apprenticeships, but added that the plans the government had set out so far were “still leaving people behind as technology innovation is accelerating faster than the pipeline of people available to fill the gaps”.
The BBC has contacted the Department for Education for a response.
“While the pandemic and remote working have unfortunately slowed down apprenticeship adoption for some companies, it is clear that the sector is aware alternative routes to careers are an answer to today’s digital skills crisis,” Mr David added.
For employers who hire apprentices under 20 years old, Mr Isherwood said firms need to increase the “financial incentive to recruit”.
Another option, he said, would be for the government to allow employers “greater flexibility in how they spend their levy pot.”
Last year, business group the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said that UK employers had lost £2bn over the previous two years in apprenticeship levy funds that they were unable to spend.
Last September, Amazon announced it was looking to hire 55,000 staff globally for corporate jobs and roles in robotics, research and engineering.
About 40,000 jobs will be in the US, with 2,500 in the UK and the remainder mostly in India, Germany and Japan.(BBC)