Amazon is investing £34m in its Europe-wide Career Choice programme to support current and future jobs in the business.

Amazon warehouse

A recent Amazon study revealed that 25% of UK workers can’t afford to pay for skills training

The initiative comes as the online powerhouse separately faced the beginning of a ballot that may result in it recognising a trade union for the first time in the UK.

The US retail giant is marking the 10-year anniversary of the training programme with the multimillion-pound jobs investment and adding more than 25 new programmes to its offerings.

Amazon has so far invested more than £55m in Career Choice training programmes in the UK, which provides 95% of pre-paid tuition worth up to £8,000 over four years for “nationally recognised courses” from over 20 UK training providers.

In a LinkedIn post, Amazon UK country manager John Boumphrey said the company is investing £23m in the UK this year to “provide funding for even more programmes, including information security analysis, software testing, and procurement and supply chain management”.

He added that the company offers “one of the broadest” ranges of skills and apprenticeships programmes in the UK, with opportunities across tech, sustainability, business administration and logistics.

The news of the investment comes as a recent Amazon study revealed that 86% of adults say career development training is essential in a new job or role.

It also found 25% of workers in the UK said they couldn’t afford to pay for training on their own.

A further 30% are worried they won’t have the training and skills to be “relevant” in their job in the coming years, and that 74% believe workers will need to retrain and update their skills to keep working in the future.

Boumphrey said: “The research reflects what we’re seeing in our workplace, and that is people in the UK want access to skills training programmes.

“Amazon is proud to have offered our upskilling Career Choice programme in the UK for the past 10 years and now to further expand on our courses options, so that thousands of employees across the UK can continue to advance their skills and take on new career opportunities at Amazon and beyond.”

The BBC separately reported that representatives of the GMB union are to go to Amazon’s Coventry warehouse today and meetings will be held with the 3,000 staff to win their support in a recognition vote – 40% would need to back the proposal.

Amazon said employees have always had the choice of joining a union. The company will invite employees to attend meetings to hear its rival views.

The result of the ballot will be announced on July 15.