The power of learning: Swansea HR assistant offers career tips during Learning at Work Week 2024

An HR assistant from Swansea is sharing his career story during Learning at Work Week 2024 (13th-19th May) to celebrate the career progress they’ve 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. 

Adrian Topala, who works at the Amazon fulfilment centre in Swansea, has used Amazon’s development and training opportunities to shape his professional career.  

One of the programmes Adrian has 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. 

Adrian, who used the programme to help secure his role as an HR assistant, has shared his story to encourage others to take their career to the next level using the Amazon Career Choice programme. 

Adrian has completed two Career Choice courses since joining the company in 2016.   

He first spent four years in operations, doing everything from picking to packing, and completing an Amazon Apprenticeship in business improvement during his third year at the company. He said:  

“Completing an apprenticeship gave me an insight into all the different processes at Amazon, from receiving goods to shipping. After four years in operations, I came across an HR role and just thought ‘why not?’” he said. “I had a degree in Business Management, but I didn’t have any experience in HR. I got the job and have now been in the position for two years.”  

Adrian likes to learn new skills, so when the opportunity to join the Amazon Career Choice came up, he decided to go for it. He completed two courses in IT Support and Office Skills through Peterborough-based Pitman Training. He added:  

“I like new challenges and I’m always open to new things. I now have much better IT skills and know how to work Excel, which has helped me in my current role. I feel much more confident in my role because of the opportunities I received through Amazon Career Choice.”  

“I am always looking to develop myself and work towards promotion, and there’s so much opportunity to do that in Amazon,” Adrian continued. “Some Career Choice courses aren’t even related to Amazon roles and equip people to pursue their dream job, even if that’s outside of Amazon, which I think is great.”  

Last year, Adrian also completed a master’s degree in operations through the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. He hopes to go on and complete a CIPD HR Level 5 qualification. He has some advice for anyone considering furthering their careers through learning and development programmes.   

 “Learn to be curious. If you want to develop yourself, it’s really important. Learning programmes are great because there are so many options out there, so go for it and start working on yourself.”  

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 Swansea Site Leader, Dan Boulger, added: “We are proud of Adrian’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.” 

Amazon employees receive competitive pay and comprehensive benefits. Pay starts at a minimum of £12.30 per hour in Swansea 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. This award recognises Amazon’s commitment to the development and well-being of its employees. In addition to the UK accolade, Amazon has also been certified as one of the Top Employers in Europe for a second consecutive year. 

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. 

To find out more about a career with Amazon, visit Amazon Jobs.