Amazon bucks UK's grim labour market with 1,000 apprenticeships

The US retail giant’s people investment in the UK comes as 200,000 retail jobs are expected to be cut this year, following 177,000 job losses in 2020.
Amazon bucks UK's grim labour market with 1,000 apprenticeships

Amazon brought a little cheer to the UK’s pandemic-battered labour market on Friday, saying it will recruit more than 1,000 apprentices in 2021.

The UK’s unemployment rate hit 5% in November, its highest since mid-2016, according to official data.

The retail sector has been particularly badly hit by the coronavirus crisis. According to the Centre for Retail Research, the sector lost 177,000 jobs in 2020, with a further 200,000 expected to be shed this year.

Amazon said the apprenticeships will cover 25 different programmes ranging from IT, safety technician, and human resources through to robotics, software engineering, and creative digital design.

The US internet giant said it created 10,000 permanent UK jobs in 2020, taking the total to over 40,000.

Amazon says it has invested £23 billion ($31.5 billion) in the UK since 2010 but does not break down that figure between capital expenditure and operating costs.

On Tuesday, Amazon reported group quarterly sales above $100 billion for the first time and said founder Jeff Bezos was stepping down as CEO.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)