Amazon Future Engineer helps school students from low income backgrounds to pursue careers in computer science

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Amazon Future Engineer Programme supports UK children

 October 01, 2019

Amazon Future Engineer has launched in the UK. It's a comprehensive childhood-to-career programme with a goal to help children and young adults from low-income backgrounds build careers in computer science.

"Research shows the UK needs 21,000 more computer science graduates on average, every year, to meet the demands of the digital economy. 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," says Doug Gurr, Amazon UK Country Manager. 

Engaging children in robotics and coding

Thanks to Amazon's programme, ten thousand primary school pupils have the opportunity to take part in free robotics workshops at Amazon's fulfilment centres across the UK over the next two years, learning to program robots which use similar technology to what Amazon uses to fulfill 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 is also embarking on a road trip across the UK to bring the robotics workshops to primary schools around the country.

Alongside this, Amazon is working with non-profit organisation to help create an interactive dance-themed online coding tutorial featuring songs from leading artists, with the aim of reaching a million children in the UK. Globally, tens of millions of children and young people have already participated in Hour of Code tutorials since 2013. According to Amazon, one hour of learning through Hour of Code is proven to have a positive impact on students, with a significant increase in the number of students saying they like computer science and perform better in computer science tasks.

Recruiting and training computer science teachers

Amazon is also working with education charity Teach First to support the recruitment and training of 50 secondary school computer science teachers and over 200 Teach First ‘Careers Leaders’ - a programme run by the charity that helps leaders in schools develop a long-term school-wide careers strategy.

The computer science teachers are being placed in schools serving low-income communities and have opportunity to do paid work experience at Amazon. Careers Leaders and computer science students also have the chance to visit Amazon on work insight days. Teach First’s approach of training teachers and placing them in schools in low-income areas is proven to boost the GCSE performance of pupils. After two years of running Amazon Future Engineer in the UK, this investment in teachers is expected to benefit 50,000 secondary school students.

“Having better access to computer science skills and the chance to be taught by highly trained teachers who have experience in a digital environment can be a transformative opportunity for young people – especially those from poorer backgrounds who might not otherwise have access to these opportunities," says Russell Hobby, CEO of Teach First.

Bursaries and apprenticeships to unlock tech careers

Amazon is also 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 paid work experience and classroom-based learning. As well as this, Amazon is funding 20 bursaries for students studying computer science at UK universities, enabling students from low-income backgrounds to pursue technology careers.

Amazon Future Engineer is part of the Amazon in the Community programme which aims to ensure more children and young adults have the resources and skills they need to build their best and brightest futures, especially those from low-income communities in the areas where Amazon has a physical presence.

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