Amazon opens new UK head office and reveals plans to double R&D roles in London

Amazon today (Tuesday July 25) opened the doors to its new UK head office and Development Centre at Principal Place in London.

The building in Shoreditch is part of a mixed-use scheme with half an acre of public piazza and events space and 20,000sq ft of retail.

In 2014, Amazon announced plans to take residence in 431,000sq ft of the building’s office space. But today it announced that it will take all 15 storeys and 600,000sq ft.

This means it can double the capacity of its Development Centre ((which primarily focuses on R&D for Amazon’s global Prime Video service) from 450 to 900 staff, as well as house other corporate roles from across the company.

By the end of the year, Amazon will have over 5,000 corporate and R&D roles in London across its three offices in Shoreditch, Holborn and Barbican.

The opening of Principal Place is part of Amazon’s investment in the UK. The company has invested £6.4 billion in the UK since 2010 and pledged to this year create 5,000 new permanent jobs across the country, bringing its total workforce to 24,000 across its head office and three development centres, as well as its fulfilment and customer service centres.

The launch coincided with an announcement by Amazon of plans to help young people succeed in the digital world. These include funding one million schoolchildren’s healthy breakfasts in the upcoming school year through the charity Magic Breakfast, and doubling the intake of its Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary programme.

Magic Breakfast is a charity that aims to end hunger as a barrier to education in UK schools through the provision of healthy breakfasts. Amazon’s pledge will benefit over 5,000 children in 77 schools located close to Amazon’s offices and buildings across the country, including the cities of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Amazon said this increased funding will ensure more schoolchildren than ever before will receive a nutritious breakfast at school, including bagels, cereals, juice and porridge, to help improve their performance.

The Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary programme is an initiative which provides financial support to female students from low income households studying technical subjects.

The extra support means Amazon will fund up to 24 students annually at Cambridge, Edinburgh and Kings College London universities. The students benefit from financial support, mentoring and development opportunities at the development centres across the three locations.

Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr said: “London is one of the world’s truly great cities and home to some of the most talented, creative people on the planet, and we are delighted to provide our teams of innovators with a new, purpose-built workplace.

“While we open a new Development Centre to house today’s innovators, we also want to help foster the next generation of inventors, by funding a million healthy breakfasts to give schoolchildren the fuel to learn, and expanding our bursary programme to help more women get university educations for high tech roles.”

The company also announced earlier this year an apprenticeship programme offering hundreds of opportunities in engineering, logistics and warehousing roles in fulfilment centres across the country.

It also introduced the Amazon Web Services re:Start initiative. This is a free training and job placement programme for the UK to educate 1,000 young adults as well as military veterans, reservists, and their spouses, on the latest software development and cloud computing technologies.


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