Swindon Amazon team members offer career tips

By Barrie Hudson - 16 May 2024


Two employees from the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swindon are sharing their career stories during Learning at Work Week 2024.

They are celebrating the career progress made thanks to the lifelong learning programmes at Amazon.   

Learning at Work Week is an annual programme run by the charity Campaign for Learning. The charity works with organisations around the UK to create activities and fun challenges in the workplace to help employees learn and grow.   

This year’s theme, Learning power, explores how lifelong and continual learning gives people power to change, grow and achieve individual, team and organisational goals.  

Bharat Arya and Cristina Oprea, who work at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swindon, have used Amazon’s development and training opportunities to shape their professional careers.   

One of the programmes Bharat and Cristina have taken part in at Amazon is Amazon Career Choice. The programme, which has been running at Amazon for the past decade, pre-pays up to 95% of tuition and fees for courses in high-demand fields, up to £8,000 over four years, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon.   

Courses available include accountancy, HGV driving and software development, and are designed to help employees build careers at Amazon or elsewhere. It means that eligible employees are given the opportunity to gain the skills and qualifications needed to follow their career aspirations.  

Bharat, who used the programme to help secure his role as a waste coordinator, and Cristina, who did the same for her role in HR, have shared their stories to encourage others to take their career to the next level using Amazon Career Choice.  

Bharat joined Amazon in 2018 in a temporary role before taking up a permanent position in 2019.   

He said: “Before joining Amazon, I worked in a fast-food restaurant in Coventry. I wanted a change, so in 2018 I joined Amazon in Coventry as a temporary employee. 

"I really enjoyed my job and was impressed with working there, so when I heard there was a new fulfilment centre opening in Bristol, I moved there in a permanent problem solver role.  

“I really like the flexibility of Amazon and how you’re always supported for whatever you need. You’re encouraged to take up a role and tasks that suit your skill set, and this was really helpful for me.”  

Bharat moved to the Swindon fulfilment centre when it opened in 2021 and was promoted to waste coordinator. Since then, he has completed the Natural Resources and Training Group (NRTG) Environmental Field Skills programme through Amazon Career Choice. 

The course provides participants with in-demand environmental monitoring field knowledge and skills. He’s currently taking part in his second Amazon Career Choice qualification, this time in environmental management. 

He said:  “I graduated from Coventry University with a degree in environmental law, so I was really interested when the NRTG course became available to me through Amazon Career Choice. It’s really helped me in my current role and has given me the confidence and opportunity to develop further within Amazon or move externally into a new role.  

“Amazon pays 95% of the course fees, which is amazing, and means you can complete a course that you might not have done otherwise. 

"I’m currently completing the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) Environmental Management Certificate, which is a globally recognised qualification that teaches me how to implement effective environmental management systems. 

"If I didn’t work at Amazon, I would have to fund this all myself.”  

Speaking about what’s next for him, Bharat said: “After I complete this course, I hope to keep developing and gaining more knowledge. I also hope to keep applying for more environmental development programmes to further my career.”  

Bharat has some advice for his colleagues looking to develop their careers:  “Definitely go for Amazon Career Choice. It helps boost your confidence, build your career and opens up more job opportunities. Amazon never restricts anyone and will always help you to pursue the career you want.”  

Cristina Oprea works in the HR department at the Amazon fulfilment centre. She initially joined the picking department at the Amazon Daventry fulfilment centre in 2016 after moving to the UK from Moldova.  

When Cristina joined the company, she was impressed with the employee benefits on offer. A particular opportunity that stuck out to her was Career Choice. 

She said:  “Before moving to the UK, I wanted to become a doctor but couldn’t afford the price of tuition. I applied instead to study English and French and spent some time as a teacher at the end of my degree. 

"When I moved and joined Amazon, I really liked the thought of working in HR, so I applied for Career Choice. Within that time, a job in HR came up in so I applied for that too. I was successful with both applications and went on to complete my HR CIPD Level 3 and Level 5 certifications while taking on a new position.  

“The programme is fantastic. It gives Amazon employees the opportunity to complete a course in something they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford or would never choose to do outside of work. 

"Amazon is so supportive and encourages those of us who complete Career Choice to take our new skills into new chapters of our careers. The course doesn’t have to be relevant to the job you’re already in. 

"You get to decide the terms and do something for yourself, investing in your own future, which I really like.”  

Cristina met husband Aleksandar working at Amazon, and the couple now have two children – four-year old Gabriel and two-year old Elena. Aleksandar is currently completing an RME Mechatronics Apprenticeship through the Amazon Apprenticeship programme. 

Cristina added:  “Working at Amazon has changed my family’s life. Both Aleksandar and I are currently developing in our careers, which wouldn’t have been possible without the opportunities we’ve been given through Amazon Career Choice and Amazon Apprenticeships.

“I would love to go on and do another course in the beauty industry or something similar. I have also always dreamed at having a pet hotel. I like that in Amazon I am encouraged to reach for my dreams, no matter how big or small they are.”  

Amazon also provides opportunities to improve existing skills or learn new ones through internal career progression opportunities such as apprenticeships, transferring to a different department and promotion to a managerial role.   

Amazon Swindon General Manager David Tindal said: “We are proud of Bharat and Cristina’s success through the Amazon Career Choice programme. Career development is at the core of our culture at Amazon, where lifelong learning is promoted at every turn. 

"Many of our team members have taken part in Career Choice and are now fulfilling their potential on Amazon teams all over the UK, Ireland and further afield. 

"Others have gone on to successful careers elsewhere, and we are proud to have supported them in their professional development by giving them extra tools for success in their new roles. We look forward to offering employees even more choices in the future as Amazon Career Choice evolves and grows.”  

Pay at Amazon starts at a minimum of £13 per hour in Swindon and employees are offered a comprehensive benefits package including private medical insurance, life assurance, income protection and an employee discount as well as a company pension plan.   

Amazon has been named as a ‘Top Employer UK 2024’ by the Top Employer Institute, one of the world’s most prestigious certifications in the field of human resources management. 

In 2023, Amazon ranked in second place on LinkedIn’s Top Companies list — an annual list that identifies the most sought-after places to work and grow your career in the UK. Using data from LinkedIn’s 900 million members, LinkedIn’s Top Companies list is designed to help professionals identify the best companies to grow their careers.  


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