Amazon Web Services’ re:Start programme

Amazon Web Services' re:Start programme
In view of the way technology is revolutionising the way we live and work, the need for employers to provide training in digital skills has become an imperative to ensure the future workforce can remain relevant and employable. We frequently speak with our clients and associates to compare work-readiness initiatives and find out how they are addressing this crucial need.

We recently interviewed Gavin Jackson, Managing Director UK&I, Amazon Web Services about their newly launched re:Start programme and the opportunities available to other employers who would like to play a part in closing the digital skills gap.

Why is technological skills development of such significance to Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

Technological skills are now in greater demand from our customers than ever before, as cloud computing is at the heart of what it means to be a successful business, an effective government, and a thriving economy in the 21st century. Having the infrastructure that is fit for today is just one requirement to drive benefits out of cloud computing; the other requirement is skilled people.

The growing demand for more people to be trained in cloud technologies highlights a digital skills opportunity – to take those people who are currently being left behind by the digital economy and give them the skills they need to restart their careers. AWS re:Start was launched to bring more qualified candidates with cloud skills and software development into the UK’s workforce.

Please could you summarise what AWS re:Start is all about?

AWS re:Start is a training and job placement programme for the UK to educate young adults, as well as military veterans, and their spouses, on the latest software development and cloud computing technologies. In turn, organisations of all sizes will have access to more people with the fundamental knowledge needed to immediately start working in the industry.

It also provides participants with real-world experience in some of the largest businesses in the world. Working with Experis, QA Consulting, Sage, The Prince’s Trust, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), AWS re:Start brings the AWS Partner Network and customers together to offer work placements to 1,000 people as part of the programme.

Cloud computing technology is being used by more and more organisations across every sector, from startups to enterprises and public sector organisations. Those who sign up to AWS re:Start will get trained on the core cloud technologies which these companies are demanding. Participants will benefit from classroom-based training; have the opportunity to get work experience in some of the most innovative organisations in the UK; or may go on to build their own startup business.

What specific skills will participants learn as part of the programme?

AWS re:Start is designed to accommodate differing levels of experience – even those with no previous technical knowledge can sign up. Participants who join AWS re:Start will complete technical training classes, led by AWS certified instructors, and will complete work experience to gain on-the-job training.

They will learn about cloud computing and how to architect, design, and develop cloud-based applications. They will also learn how to set up new cloud environments using proven best practices in security and compliance, and how to build applications using software development toolkits for popular languages, such as Python.

In addition to the technical training, The Prince’s Trust, through their ‘Get into Technology’ programme, will support students with mentoring, soft work skills, and help in applying for jobs, including CV writing and interview skills.

What sort of response have you had from young adults who are interested in working in the technology sector?

We have received a positive response from the participants to date, with all of the graduates who completed the first training programme going on to complete work placements, and some going on to secure fixed positions.

Who are some of the customers/partners that are supporting this initiative?

To date, we have tens of customers and APN partners committed to offering participants of the AWS re:Start programme job placements. Organisations that have already pledged job placements include, Annalect, ARM, Claranet, Cloudreach, Direct Line Group, EDF Energy, Funding Circle, KCOM, Sage, Splunk, Tesco Bank and Zopa.

What opportunities are available to employers who would like to play a part in closing the digital skills gap?

Organisations that would like to support the programme can register their interest online. Once registered, participants who have graduated from the training programme will be available for a work placement for a minimum of two weeks. After the work experience has ended, organisations can decide whether they want to employ them.

Alternatively, organisations can take graduates on as Employed Consultants with Experis, which is ideal for those who don’t have the processes in place for managing placements.

For further information about Amazon Web Services’ re:Start programme or to register your organisation’s interest in participating, please visit:

This article first appeared in the seventh edition of The Human Age Newspaper.