Amazon UK has launched a £130,000 annual bursary scheme aimed at boosting the number of women working in the tech industry.
Under a new programme, dubbed Amazon Amplify, the e-commerce giant will support 24 women entering the sector every year.
The British wing of the American tech giant is also offering a degree apprenticeship to support women to train as engineers and business leaders.
“Diversity fosters greater innovation and helps raise the bar for customers, and having a diverse workforce is also just the right thing to do,” said Fiona McDonnell, director of consumer retail at Amazon. “Our new Amazon Amplify plan aims to attract and retain the best and brightest talent in Britain, ensuring a positive environment in which they can thrive.”
The move comes after Amazon partnered with the campaign group WISE to carry out research which found that a 10 per cent increase in women working in science, technology, engineering, and maths careers would lead to a £3bn boost for the economy.
The research also revealed that nine in 10 women experience barriers to taking up a career in innovation. Just 20 per cent of women surveyed said that had received support from their employers. A lack of confidence, male dominated environments and a lack of recognition were all identified as hurdles for women entering the industry.
Last month, the company unveiled plans to hire more than 1,000 apprentices in the UK over the next two years as part of a drive to bolster its expertise in advanced technologies.
The new recruits will be hired into one of nine programmes, covering software engineering, robotics, IT and leadership, among other divisions of the retail giant’s business.
Around 200 of the roles will be open exclusively to existing Amazon employees, including those working in the company’s warehouses. A further 90 bachelors and masters degree-level apprenticeships will also be available. Apprentices will earn between £9.50 an hour and £30,000 a year.
After qualifying from the apprenticeships, which vary in length from 13 months to four years, employees will work in either Amazon’s UK head office or one of its three development centres in Edinburgh, Cambridge and London.