Amazon to fund 350 apprenticeships and traineeships across TV, film and books, as new data shows its creative industry investments support 16,000 jobs
Independent research shows Amazon has invested more than £4.2bn in UK creative industries since 2010, and has doubled its investment since 2018
Amazon funding 100 new apprenticeships across the UK creative sectors, and 250 new traineeships through Prime Video Pathway
Prime Video announces curated UK films and series will be collected by the BFI National Archive
London – 22 June, 2023 Amazon announced today new data which reveals that it is one of the leading contributors across the breadth of the UK creative industries. New analysis released today from independent macroeconomic consultancy Capital Economics shows that Amazon’s investments in the creative industries supported more than 16,000 jobs in 2022, ranging from directly employed in-house designers to indirectly employed external producers, and Amazon has invested more than £4.2 billion since 2010 across Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon Publishing, Prime Video, Audible, Amazon Fashion, Amazon Music, Amazon Games and more.
The new data shows that Amazon’s investments have contributed £4.8bn of gross value (GVA) to the UK economy since 2010. Amazon has doubled its investments in the creative sectors across the UK in the last five years, reflecting the support for more UK-based creatives, a record number of Amazon Originals filmed in the UK, and state-of-the-art studios and facilities for Amazon Music, Audible and Prime Video, including the new production facilities to open at Shepperton Studios.
Amazon supports creators in all regions of the UK, with 50% of the direct and indirect jobs in areas outside of London and the South East according to Capital Economics analysis. The top regions for these jobs include South West (1,400), The North West (840), East of England (930), Yorkshire (660) and Scotland (670).
To continue to develop the creative talent of the future, Amazon is announcing support for more than 100 new apprenticeships in organisations across the creative industries, doubling its creative industries apprenticeship levy funding to £2m. This funds apprenticeships across the sector including the BRIT Trust and the Association for Independent Music and Women in CTRL; a Screen Skills flexible apprenticeship pilot to support both Amazon Original productions such as The Devil’s Hour and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power as well as funding apprentices on non-Amazon productions including Channel 4’s Derry Girls.
Prime Video today also announced the second phase of Prime Video Pathway, an initiative designed to open up access to jobs in TV and film, which will support 250 additional trainees over the coming years. Developed in collaboration with the UK’s leading TV and film institutions, including the National Film & Television School (NFTS), Prime Video Pathway will be providing opportunities for a further 25 craft trainees, increasing its reach outside London, providing 50% of placements across Scotland and for the first time, Wales.
Prime Video is also being welcomed into the BFI (British Film Institute) National Archive. Popular films and series reflecting stories filmed across the UK including Good Omens and Clarkson’s Farm will be digitally preserved in the BFI National Archive for generations to come.
John Boumphrey, VP and UK country manager at Amazon said: “The UK has long been a creative powerhouse, brimming with some of the world’s most talented authors, musicians, actors, designers, technicians and more. Amazon is unique in the breadth of creative industries we support, from TV and music, to fashion and publishing, and new data shows that our investments in these industries have contributed more than £4.8bn to the UK economy since 2010. We are committed to supporting this vital sector, and we have more than doubled our investments in UK-based productions, skills programmes, production facilities, and more to power the UK’s creative sector today, and support the creators of tomorrow.”
Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer said: “Amazon has embraced the huge depth of creativity and technical expertise in the UK. Its continued investment is testament to what we offer in film, music, fashion, tech and publishing. Many of its ambitions align closely with our own plans for the creative sectors and we are going to build on Britain’s status as a world-class creative nation and maximise their potential to unleash economic growth and create jobs.”
Ben Roberts, Chief Executive BFI said: “Since the 1950s, one of our Royal Charter objectives has been to preserve television alongside film. It’s really important that the nation’s film, television and the moving image heritage is fully representative of the work being created today, so that we can tell the story of our screen culture to audiences in the future. Given their continued investment in UK storytelling across film and television, we are absolutely thrilled to welcome Prime Video to the BFI National Archive and recognise their considerable economic and cultural impact.”
Further Background and Quotes: Amazon’s support for the UK’s creative industries:
Last year, in a further commitment to the UK production industry, Prime Video announced a landmark multimillion-pound long-term contract with Shepperton Studios for exclusive use of new production facilities at the Surrey studios for future original TV series and movie productions. The new facilities will comprise nine sound stages, workshops and office accommodation, totalling approximately 450,000 square feet and forming part of the wider redevelopment and expansion of Shepperton Studios, which will deliver approximately 1.2 million square feet of new studio space.
Prime Video has commissioned home-grown Original Series such as The Rig staring Iain Glen, Emily Hampshire and Martin Compston filmed in Leith, Scotland and The Devil’s Hour staring Peter Capaldi and Jessica Raine in Surrey. Wherever these commissions are filmed in the UK, they have an economic and creative skills ripple effect in the local economy. Prime Video films global hits across the UK including The Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power in the southeast of England; Citadel with Priyanka Chopra and Richard Madden in Maidenhead; Good Omens S2 with David Tennant and Michael Sheen in Bathgate Edinburgh; My Policeman with Harry Styles and Emma Corin in Brighton; Catherine Called Birdy written by Lena Dunham at Stokesay Castle in Shropshire; and Mammals starring James Corden in Cornwall.
Producer Suzanne Reid started her career at Channel 4 before moving into high end TV, now owning her own production company based in Scotland. She works on a slate of projects including Prime Video’s The Rig which she is a producer on. Suzanne says: “The last few years have seen an increase in funding for incoming productions to Scotland and also funding for training so we can bring on the next generation of technicians and creative talent. I love what I do and I love the industry, so it’s great to see Amazon greenlighting more projects in the UK. It automatically supports the creative industries with jobs, and with productions come the opportunity for traineeships and opportunities for crew to step up to new positions.”
Iain Glen, lead actor from UK Original series The Rig, says: “Amazon’s investment in the creative industries in the UK has been transformative. We couldn't have made The Rig in my hometown of Edinburgh without it. A bold, original and challenging series imagined by a brilliant new Scottish writer, David MacPherson, needed real vision and finance behind it. The UK doesn't back itself enough. And we should. Because there’s a great depth of talent in the UK film and television. Always has been. Amazon are helping creatives realise and then share their stories worldwide. It feels like a really exciting time.”
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Amazon Publishing give best-selling authors like thriller writer Mark Dawson and acclaimed crime fiction author Dreda Say Mitchell, MBE, a way to bring their stories to millions of readers in the UK and beyond. Dreda is a crime fiction author from the East End of London and the first Black British author to be awarded the Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger for best debut crime novel. Dreda took her first plunge into writing with a creative writing class which led her to her first publisher, a small independent press.
Dreda Say Mitchell, MBE says, “For too many years I would be the only Black person at crime fiction events in the UK. I’m so pleased to see that this is no longer the case, but we’ve still got a long way to go and need to include more people from working class backgrounds. My financial fortunes as a writer took off when I leapt into publishing exclusively with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and later as an Amazon Publishing author. I suspect that Amazon’s creation of its KDP platform has been a revolution for many authors who remained at the mid-list stage in the traditional publishing world, while also supporting new authors!”
Amazon also directly supports non-profit literary organisations in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland via the Amazon Literary Partnership, which aims to support and champion writers of all ages and stages on their creative journey.
Amazon Music connects fans, artists, and creators through music, podcasts, and culture. This includes bringing fans closer to what they love like via bespoke opportunities with genre spanning emerging and established artists like CURVED performances from Mimi Webb; a collaboration with Stormzy featuring a free to attend immersive listening experience and Twitch show for his fans; curated and personalised playlists; artist livestreams like The 1975 and Central Cee that make gigs accessible to millions of fans for free; plus Amazon Exclusive podcasts.
In 2022 and 2023, Amazon Music collaborated with the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) on the FAC Step Up Fund, created to provide support for artists. Each year, alongside a broader package of benefits, Step Up provides up to ten awardees aged 18+ with financial support of up to £8,000 to help with activities such as recording, releasing and touring,
Janine Vukovi, FAC Step Up Fund Awardee, said: “Receiving this grant from the Featured Artists Coalition and Amazon Music has given us the opportunity to fulfil the creative expectations we have for ourselves. The funding helps us to reflect a true representation of who we are as artists and working with some of the best like-minded creatives in the industry is extremely exciting for us.”
Amazon Music has also worked with the Association for Independent Music (AIM) and Women in CTRL on the Amplify apprenticeship programme to help budding music professionals into the independent sector. The scheme benefits from a contribution from Amazon’s apprenticeship fund to support up to six independent labels in upskilling their workforce. Apprenticeships as Label Assistants, who provide both administrative and creative support, as well as working closely with A&R teams with a focus on identifying, championing and growing women and non-binary talent on rosters.
In 2021, Amazon Music announced it would help meet the investment cost of training the BRITs Apprentices, as part of the £2.5 million Amazon Apprentice Fund. The BRITs Apprentice Scheme aims to boost more young talent looking to forge a career in the music industry, recruiting ten apprentices to take up fifteen-month paid placements with independent record labels and music companies.
Amazon Fashion champions emerging designers and small or local brands. For example – Luxury Stores, where we are opening a new door for designers all over the world to have access to our customers. Amazon Fashion is dedicated to working with great industry partners and we are proud and long-standing patrons of The British Fashion Council.
Oskar Ringwelski is a Creative Design Apprentice within the Amazon Fashion team: “For me, working in the creative industry is a passion, and it doesn't feel like work at all. I am incredibly fortunate to be in a role where I can pursue my interests and develop further in the field. It's enriching to be able to work on projects that are not only challenging but also enjoyable and to be part of a community that shares my interests.”
In the UK, Audible supports and invests in training the creative communities through scholarships, sponsorships and funding of programmes dedicated to supporting the careers of under-represented groups into the audio and publishing industries. Examples include, The National Theatre New Views, the Women’s Prize for Fiction, The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), the Multi-Track fellowship and Identity School of Acting.
During lockdown, Audible took the opportunity to develop a significant, state-of-the-art performance space at its London office – collaborating with Dolby to build recording studios designed to create Dolby Atmos listening experiences for everything from single read audiobooks and podcasts to huge multi-cast performances. Audible continues to commission and publish audio content from a range of UK creatives, from household names like French and Saunders, Idris and Sabrina Elba and Graham Norton alongside releasing works from exciting new talent, highlighting diversity, representation, and inclusion across all aspects of productions.
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