Amazon’s new scheme aims to shrink computer science skills gap
In an effort to close a widening skills gap in UK-based computer science skill, Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Future Engineer in the UK.
The programme, which it describes as a ‘childhood-to-career’ programme is designed to allow children and young adults to try computer science.
The programme includes support for the recruitment and training of 50 secondary school computer science teachers and over 200 ‘Careers Leaders’, the lauch of robotics workshops for 10,000 children and the free online computer science lessons over the next two years.
“Research shows the UK needs 21,000 more computer science graduates on average, every year, to meet the demands of the digital economy,” said Doug Gurr, UK country manager at Amazon.
“By making computer science skills more widely accessible from childhood to career, we hope Amazon Future Engineer will inspire and empower young people, regardless of their background, to take up careers in computer science.”
Through Amazon Future Engineer, ten thousand primary school pupils will have the opportunity to take part in free robotics workshops at Amazon fulfilment centres across the UK over the next two years, learning to program robots which use similar technology to what is used by Amazon to fulfil customer orders.
The workshops, created alongside Fire Tech, are designed to give children first-hand experience of how technology works in the real world and have been accredited by the British Science Association.
Amazon will also embark on a road trip across the UK, bringing the robotics workshops to primary schools around the country.
Additionally, the eCommerce giant has helped to create an interactive dance-themed online coding tutorial together with non-profit organisation Code.org, featuring songs from leading artists, with the aim of reaching a million children in the UK.
Its newly recruited computer science teachers will be placed in schools serving low-income communities from next year and will have the opportunity to embark on paid work experience at Amazon.
For students wishing to pursue computer sciences in higher education, Amazon is funding 120 apprenticeships in software development engineering, automation and advanced mechatronics, enabling a diverse range of applicants to enter the computer science field.
Participants will benefit from on-the-job work experience and classroom-based learning. Amazon is also funding 20 bursaries for students studying computer science at UK universities, enabling students from low-income backgrounds to pursue technology careers.