AN APPRENTICE is calling on young people to pursue their dream career after taking the first steps towards his own.

Worthing resident Oli Wheatley is in the first year of his four-year apprenticeship with Amazon.

The 18-year-old is working towards his dream of becoming a software development engineer with the shopping giant.

The firm is taking on more than 1,000 new apprentices after think tank Capital Economics estimated 38,000 new computer science experts are needed in the UK each year to meet labour demands.

“I was 13 when I started to code in school and developed a love for Python and building quizzes,” Oli said.

“I’ve lived in Worthing my whole life and have had an interest in computers and technology for as long as I can remember.

“I continued with computer science through GCSE and A-level and although I knew I didn’t want to go to university, I still wanted a degree.

“This is when I discovered apprenticeships.”

Oli now splits time studying at QA Training with working at Amazon’s UK head office in East London.

But getting to where he is now was not an easy ride. The next step was quite difficult initially,” he said.

“Applying for apprenticeships required preparing for a proper job interview.

“A lot of big companies require previous experience, so the bar was high.”

But after nabbing a spot in Amazon’s Future Engineer programme Oli is now on the way to getting his dream job.

“I love my apprenticeship,” he said.

“The people at Amazon are phenomenal and I felt at home very quickly. There is clear career progression and Amazon has already provided me with invaluable knowledge and experience.

“Amazon was really supportive from day one.”

Amazon’s UK manager Doug Gurr said the firm is looking to inspire aspiring computer scientists like Oli.

“We’re proud of everything that Oli has achieved since joining the apprenticeship programme,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming more apprentices to UK business over the coming years.

“We want to inspire a new generation of world-leading computer scientists by providing them with the skills needed in the digital age.

“Amazon Future Engineer is key to achieving this.”

The firm supports 120 computer science apprenticeships across the country.

But it is creating more than 1,000 apprentice roles this year in response to fears over future labour shortages.

“Amazon Future Engineer was launched in 2019 as independent research by Capital Economics revealed the UK needs an additional 38,000 workers with computer science-related skills to meet labour demands every year,” an Amazon spokesman said.

“Without addressing this issue, the UK economy faces losing out on an estimated £33 billion per year by 2030.

“Oli’s apprenticeship is part of Amazon Future Engineer, a comprehensive childhood-to-career programme designed to inspire, educate and enable children and young adults to try computer science,” an company spokesman said.

“Amazon apprenticeships run on average for three years, are funded by Amazon and offer a programme that mixes theory and work-based training.

“Amazon’s apprenticeship programme is designed to suit candidates with a range of experience.”