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Amazon programmes to upskill 29 million in cloud computing by 2025

SOURCE: Philippe LOPEZ / AFP
Amazon's latest programme will include free training support for those looking to prepare for entry-level support positions. It will also be a good opportunity for tech professionals looking to upskill in cloud computing.


By U2B Staff 

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Amazon recently announced that they will be investing hundreds of millions of dollars to provide free cloud computing training programmes to people from all walks of life and all levels of knowledge, in more than 200 countries and territories. 

At re:Invent 2020, Teresa Carlson, the vice president of Amazon Web Services’ Worldwide Public Sector, made the announcement, telling attendees: “For many years, I have been talking with business and government leaders about how we can work together to bridge the technical skills gap. In these conversations, we all agree about the importance of democratising knowledge and giving all individuals—regardless of their background, education, or social status—the opportunity to build technical skills.”

“That’s why today at re:Invent 2020, I announced that by 2025 Amazon Web Services (AWS) will help 29 million people globally grow their technical skills with free cloud computing skills training,” she added.

To discuss the future workforce and the effects of COVID-19 on in-demand skills, Carlson was joined by Professor Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. The two heavyweights strongly agreed that there was a need to bridge the skills gap, and that to achieve this there must be intentional, sustained efforts by private and public sectors.

Upskilling and reskilling have always been a top priority for the online behemoth. Just last year, the Jeff Bezos-led company committed US$700 million to reskilling 100,000 of its own workers in the US. This new initiative is set to build on its existing programmes, including new ones that were designed in partnership with nonprofits and schools, among others. 

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The new and revamped Amazon programmes will focus more on benefiting those who are not already employed at the company. The main idea is to equip people with the education they will need to excel in a cloud computing career and stand out to employers seeking to fill high-tech positions.

While it is expected that some of the program participants may eventually secure jobs with Amazon, it is more likely they will be able to gain employment at other companies — including many that are using Amazon Web Services, the online retailer’s cloud division. 

Amazon currently employs 1.1 million full- and part-time employees globally, making it the second-largest employer in the US. Just recently, the tech titan announced 100,000 new seasonal jobs, 35,000 employee promotions, and 30,000 Career Choice success stories. 

These free programmes can be taken remotely and will include a variety of content that they say will help millions of workers potentially navigate career changes without racking up steep debt. “Amazon focuses on building innovative programs that have a lasting, positive impact for the communities in which we operate, and designing STEM and skills training programs are central to this approach”, Carlson says.

According to Amazon’s official announcement, here are just a few of the ways they are planning to execute their goals through its brand new training programmes:

By building its library 

Individuals looking to learn about cloud technology at their own pace have two robust resources in AWS Training and Certification and AWS Educate

Designed for those that are looking for foundational cloud computing skills, all the way to seasoned IT professionals looking to stay up to date on the latest technologies, these programmes offer over more than 500 free, on-demand online courses, interactive labs, and virtual day-long training sessions as well as job-based learning paths and numerous free instructor-led webinars, in multiple languages. 

In 2020, AWS Training and Certification has launched 50 new digital courses in addition to the hundreds of free courses already available and will continue adding more content and new ways to learn.   

By continuing to invest

Amazon will continue to invest in free digital training and exam preparation courses to help people prepare for AWS Certifications. These official certifications show technical expertise in working with AWS. 

Training includes content like the new Twitch-livestreamed AWS Power Hour: Cloud Practitioner series, covering cloud computing fundamentals and preparing individuals to take the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam.

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By expanding the AWS re/Start programme

This programme is a full-time, 12-week, high-impact course that prepares unemployed or underemployed individuals for careers in cloud computing and connects more than 90 percent of graduates with job interview opportunities. 

AWS re/Start operates in 25 cities across 12 countries. Amazon expects to double the number of cities they have operations in by 2021, as the programme continues to grow. AWS re/Start is building a diverse pipeline of entry-level trained talent by collaborating with organisations like Indigenous-owned Goanna Solutions in Australia, Generation in the UK, TechGrounds in the Netherlands, Youth Employment Services in Canada, and Per Scholas, Year Up, and New College Institute in the US. 

By piloting new Amazon programmes 

Amazon is piloting training initiatives such as the two-day AWS Fiber Optic Fusion Splicing Certificate programme. Fiber optic cables are the backbone of the modern world, carrying internet, TV, and telephone data—they’re made up of tiny glass tubes, which makes repairing and testing them specialised work. 

Students accepted into this free programme will learn how to install and repair fiber optics and can also take part in a career networking session, allowing them to meet local employers. Another programme—Amazon’s Machine Learning University, is an accelerated, free course designed to give people the opportunity to jump into learning and applying machine learning concepts to solve business problems.