We’ve long believed in the power of skills training to positively impact people’s lives. AWS re/Start is one of many programs we offer that removes barriers to learning. The full-time, 12-week program is free and prepares unemployed or underemployed individuals for careers in cloud computing. It also connects more than 90% of graduates with job interviews.
Last year, as part of our commitment to provide free cloud computing training to 29 million people by 2025, we pledged to double the reach of AWS re/Start from 25 cities globally in 2020 to more than 50 cities in 2021. I’m pleased to announce that as of today, we’ve exceeded this goal—six months ahead of schedule—after hitting that milestone last month.
AWS re/Start is a powerful program that provides organizations with a pipeline of entry-level cloud computing talent. We have been actively expanding the program around the world since it launched in the UK in 2017. As of July 1, 2021, the program has expanded to 27 new cities and 13 new countries, including Kenya, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Denmark, Egypt, and Finland, to name a few.
The program is now in 52 cities across 25 countries—and counting. This is incredibly exciting news. I’m regularly reminded of the positive impact AWS re/Start is having on individuals, organizations, and communities around the world.
Take, for example, Charlotte Wilkins. She had been working in the fast food industry for 10 years before being furloughed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As she considered her next steps, Wilkins found herself considering a career pivot into technology and found the AWS re/Start program.
“I’ve always been interested in tech products and liked the idea of being part of an exciting new industry,” said Wilkins. “I applied for The Prince’s Trust and Generation AWS re/Start program. The program covered a wide range of skills, including multiple programming languages. We also did employability sessions about confidence, practiced interviewing, and learned how to set up a LinkedIn account. Those were just as valuable as the tech skills. I changed my mindset in addition to learning technical skills. I didn’t think I’d find a job so quickly after the completing program, but I found a high demand for skilled workers in the tech industry. I’m pleased to have started my career in tech, and I hope to continue to learn and gain more certifications in the future.”

Expanding access to free training

AWS re/Start is one of several initiatives AWS offers to help people become proficient in cloud computing technology. The program is part of our global commitment to help 29 million people grow their technical skills for free.
Removing the cost barrier is just one element; AWS re/Start does not require previous experience in technology. Additionally, the program is intentional about recruiting learners from diverse and underrepresented groups. We have seen individuals with a range of backgrounds, from retail and hospitality to the military and stay-at-home parents, successfully graduate from the program and land entry-level information technology (IT) jobs.
According to the World Economic Forum, 84% of employers are set to rapidly digitalize working processes, including a significant expansion of remote work. The Geneva-based organization also estimates that 50% of all employees will need reskilling in the next five years.
AWS customers and partners around the world say that there are not enough qualified applicants to meet the growing demand for trained cloud talent. While scarcity of highly experienced cloud talent is a major concern for many organizations, AWS sees this need as an opportunity to reinvent how talent is cultivated, trained, and retained.
“As an AWS consultancy, it can be incredibly difficult to continually find skilled engineers with suitable knowledge and experience in the technologies we work with,” said Rob Greenwood, chief technical officer at Steamhaus in Manchester, England. “Therefore, being able to rely on the re/Start program to provide us with enthusiastic, capable people who are eager to learn and progress in their careers has been absolutely invaluable to us as a business.”
Amazon sees AWS re/Start as more than a training program. It’s truly a change-your-life program. It has been inspiring for me to see how individuals like Wilkins have come through the program, enthused about the future they can build with the cloud. We look forward to growing the program to continue supporting a pipeline of cloud talent around the world.