After inviting employees to apply for the Data Academy, around 80 people are now on the programme, funded largely through the Apprenticeship Levy, which allows large businesses to upskill existing employees or recruit and train. RS is working in partnership with DECODED – a pioneer of transformative digital learning - to deliver monthly sessions to participants, teaching them new skills in data analytics which they can then apply in their job role. These skills include Python coding, visualisation and storytelling, and data ethics.
Simon Gibson, Learning & Development for RS EMEA, explains: “The world is going through a data revolution, and we know that to remain competitive it is critical to harness our ever-expanding data in innovative ways. We felt our data was hugely under-exploited, but by transforming the ways we utilise it we can make what’s impossible today, possible tomorrow.
“As an innovative, forward-thinking business, we were already on a journey to bring our data to life, but by giving our employees the exciting opportunity to get involved and become ‘Data Pioneers’ for our business, through the RS Data Academy, they can access a new learning experience and become qualified in today’s most critical skill. This investment is in both our people and to the future skills agenda. By democratising data we can make better, more informed decision-making across the business and facilitate better communication, which makes perfect commercial sense,” he adds.
Tim Beasley, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at RS, is on the Data Academy programme. He says: “Understanding and interpreting data really simplifies my work life. Gone are the days of making ‘gut decisions’ - now we can make truly data-based decisions. The uses for this are not limited to one department and I can see value for this everywhere, from looking at our customer sales data to our existing people data. The Data Academy is guiding me through the process and empowering me to find the right solutions”.
RS joins other companies such as M&S and NatWest Bank, which have also launched Data Academy initiatives, in the quest to arm employees with skills to enable them to understand and harness data, in an increasingly connected world.