There are currently over 15,000 full-time job vacancies in the UK that require Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a core skill set, and the cloud giant is on a mission to fill them, according to Gavin Jackson, AWS' UK MD.
The cloud provider has launched a number of initiatives to attract diverse demographics to the tech industry, including programmes targeted at schoolchildren, mothers returning to the workforce and military leavers.
One such initiative is the re:Start programme, which is aimed at people from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who have left the military. The programme trains participants for entry-level roles in cloud computing.
Re:Start launched in January 2017 and has seen its first intake go onto career and grad schemes with AWS partners such as Rackspace, Deloitte and Splunk.
"It's not going to solve the country's skills gap, but it is certainly stimulating a set of people who otherwise wouldn't have made it into tech," Jackson said.
"If we can industrialise those two cohorts, we can think about other cohorts beyond that and then we are on the right track to getting more people involved - from early-stage careers to mature people."
Jackson warned that the industry cannot depend entirely on university graduates, stating that there are not enough computer science graduates coming through the ranks to make up for the digital skill shortage.
"It's not always going to be about degrees and the elite folks graduating from university - it can't be," he emphasised.
"We wanted other people to contribute and form a ‘coalition of the motivated', for example when service members leave the military, they are very motivated and often highly skilled and we want that extra training to get them into the workplace.
"The same is true for those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds; they might not have the educational background to get the job in ordinary terms, but they might have the imagination and aptitude to do it and our training might be enough to stimulate their interest to carry on."
The UK MD stressed that AWS is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to solving the skills shortage.
Jackson said that the company is becoming more involved with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) "where the skills conversation happens".
He sits on the DCMS' digital skills council, along with being a part of the Codeacademy, an interactive platform that offers free coding classes in different programming languages.
Get ‘em early
Another demographic that AWS is targeting are students, with initiatives aimed at primary school all the way through university level, Jackson explained.
It is partnered with the Microbit Foundation, which encourages schoolchildren to interact and engage with coding and play with technology.
It also has its own Academy programme for students of computer science which enables them to become AWS certified as part of their studies.
For those who prefer to study in their free time, the company offers the Educate programme, which is a set of online tutorials that people can use to teach themselves competency in AWS.
"We are looking at every stage of education and employment and we are always seeking out different ways to tap into new opportunities and new programmes," said Jackson.
"I don't think there is a panacea moment; these initiatives are steps towards bridging the skills gap."
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