Amazon to create 10,000 new jobs in Britain

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An employee prepares a package for shipment at the Amazon logistics centre in Suelzetal, eastern Germany, on Mai 12, 2021. - The US online sales giant opened the new warehouse in Saxony-Anhalt in August 2020. (Photo by Ronny Hartmann / AFP) (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
The news, announced in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) on Friday, will take the company's UK workforce to over 55,000 by the end of 2021. Photo: Ronny Hartmann / AFP via Getty Images

Amazon (AMZN) has announced plans to create thousands of new jobs in Britain, after the coronavirus pandemic prompted a boom in online retail. 

The US tech giant said on Friday it will hire 10,000 UK workers as it opens more warehouses in the North and South of England. The hiring spree will include new corporate roles in London, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Manchester.

The news, announced in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), will take the company's UK workforce to over 55,000 by the end of 2021. 

UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng called the announcement a "huge vote of confidence in the British economy." He said Amazon was making a "prime investment in our retail sector", which will provide a "wide range of opportunities" for workers.

Amazon plans to open new warehouses in Doncaster, Dartford, Gateshead, Hinckley and Swindon.

Roles at these locations will pay £9.70 ($14) per hour, or £10.80 in London, for operations jobs and will include benefits such as private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection and employee discount, the company said. 

John Boumphrey, Amazon's UK country manager, said the company was "proud of the front-line roles we offer across Amazon."

"We also know that they will be a stepping stone for some in their career journey," he said.

Other jobs include roles in digital marketing, engineering, fashion, video production, software development, cloud computing, AI and machine learning. Amazon will also recruit for its Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing business and its operations network.

Alongside new jobs, Amazon said it would invest £10m over three years into training staff. 5,000 employees will gain training in areas including HGV (heavy goods vehicle) driving, accountancy and software development. 

Amazon will pay 95% of tuition and associated fees for adult education courses, up to a maximum of £8,000 over four years. It will work alongside the BCC to identify regional skills gaps. 

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"Providing staff with training to plug the skills gaps that exist within the local business community is going to be a key driver to increasing productivity and boosting the economy as the UK recovers from the pandemic," said Shevaun Haviland, director general of the BCC.

Amazon's expansion comes after a boom in online shopping that has delivered a windfall for the e-commerce giant.

Online shopping surged from around a fifth of all UK sales to more than a third during the COVID-19 pandemic. The sector grew by by 46.1% last year — the fastest annual growth since 2008, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

The rise in online sales has boosted Amazon's profits, which tripled in the first quarter of this year to $8.1bn (£5.7bn), compared to $2.5bn a year ago.

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