Digital HRDigital TransformationExploit the apprenticeship levy to thrive in a data-driven world

Exploit the apprenticeship levy to thrive in a data-driven world

Organisations need to evolve their culture to truly tackle data skills shortages. A new Data Academy from digital learning specialist AVADO offers an opportunity to do just that – with many programs funded by the apprenticeship levy*.

More data has been produced in the last two years than in the entire history of the human race. The European Commission has warned that 346,000 more data scientists are needed by 2020. In a world of fast-moving start-ups and ruthless competition, understanding and acting upon insights from data is no longer a ‘nice to have’ – it’s a necessity. But hiring more data scientists is only part of the solution. Instead, what’s really needed is a transformation of data culture – at all levels of organisations.

In an increasingly complex world, businesses who fail to truly harness the power of data will fall behind. Of course, the opportunity is huge – according to Forrester, for a typical Fortune 1000 company, just a 10% increase in data accessibility will result in more than $65 million additional net income. As Kate Newhouse, CEO of UK’s leading digital venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, states: “Transforming how we analyse the wealth of data that we now have to hand and make decisions as a result is the key to continually unlocking innovative solutions that revolutionise and disrupt industries”

Revolutionising data culture
Lack of data confidence is a common theme across companies. Most employees are not able to properly make the most of their data, feeling daunted not empowered. At the top level, business leaders often don’t know how to act on the data analysis shared with them. They need to be better informed on how to apply data to their decisions.

For data scientists, a cultural shift is also needed: as they become increasingly integral to all decision-making, they need to better understand how to operate within a business context and become more commercially savvy.

Transforming your data scientists’ impact
There is a way to upskill data practitioners for future roles, by deeply integrating commercial and entrepreneurial capability alongside coding and technical skills – and using your levy to cover the costs. Recognising this market need, digital learning disruptor AVADO has launched a new Data Academy, that aims to transform the way entire organizations approach data. This is a multi-faceted offering, at the heart of which are two flexible apprenticeship programs, a Masters in Commercial Data Science and an innovative Commercial Data Analyst program which trains data employees to become more commercially-minded, helping them to crack real business problems and demonstrate impact.  These programs are open to all employees, both new and current and are fully government funded for levy payers and 90% funded for all other organisations.

Changing culture company-wide
The Data Academy also has offerings that tackle data confidence across the broader organisation. These programs are designed to help people focus more on the power of data, building their data-confidence and transforming the way their teams operate, so that decisions are underpinned by robust data analysis. They range from 20-minute online modules to a two-week Data Champion certificate.

AVADO’s Data Academy promises to deliver rapid commercial benefit because it has been designed to change culture across entire organisations, rather than siloed pockets.

Mark O’Donoghue, CEO of Avado, said: “We are extremely excited about the prospects of our Data Academy. I believe that by adding the real hands-on commercial and entrepreneurial skills, alongside deep data-science expertise, we will be developing genuine future business leaders.”

Building the next generation of data disruptors
Blenheim Chalcot, the UK’s leading digital venture builder, is one example of a company that is putting data first and building data capability across their organisation.

More than 25 graduates from the UK’s top universities will enroll in an 18-month AVADO Data Academy program at Blenheim Chalcot this year to develop their skills and put them into practice in the real business context of one of the group’s ventures. “The Data Science Graduate Programme is a significant element in our strategy to capitalise on the opportunities that are out there for our ventures,” says Kate Newhouse, Blenheim Chalcot CEO, “and we have big ambitions for expanding this in future.”

In addition to their graduate strategy, Blenheim Chalcot will also be rolling out a Data Foundations program for 100 of their existing employees. This initiative is designed to build confidence in data-driven decision making and strengthen relationships between data science and commercial teams.

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Kate Newhouse said: “At a time when the business world is deeply concerned about the talent pipeline, Blenheim Chalcot is committed to playing its part in nurturing the next generation of innovators and disruptors.

*The Apprenticeship Levy is an additional payroll tax, set at 0.5% of an employer’s annual pay bill above £3M, collected through PAYE. Employers can only spend this money on approved apprenticeship programs and the government will subsidise any overspend beyond the levy by 90%. This means employers can purchase a £20,000 training programme for £2,000.

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