Data Science Campus smashes target to train 500 analysts in data science

Almost 700 analysts across the public sector have now been trained to use novel data science tools and techniques by the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) Data Science Campus, beating the target set out in the National Data Strategy.

The ONS's Data Science Campus, based in Newport, South Wales, celebrates its fourth anniversary this month.  The campus provides training through a whole range of learning options, from a full MSc in Data Analysis for Government alongside graduate and apprenticeship programmes to workshops and development schemes.

Developing data skills is an important pillar of the UK's National Data Strategy, which gave a target of training 500 analysts across the public sector to use novel data science skills by 2021. This strategy was published in September 2020 and sets out the government's ambition to make better use of data to improve communities, businesses, public sector organisations and create a sustainable future. 

Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician for Data Capability at the ONS, said:

"It's great news that we've been able to reach this key National Data Strategy target and go beyond. However, we're not stopping now. Sharing data science skills with the public sector allows us to go that step further to ensure we are harnessing the power of data, to help ensure decisions can improve the lives of those who need it.

"We are expanding our training opportunities and hope to be able to provide a variety of data science options in the future. If you work in the public sector and are wondering how learning new data skills can help you excel, our website contains the relevant material for you to explore which options would suit you best."

To date, the team have trained over 680 analysts to use data science techniques. The Data Science Campus is continuing to develop training options to further improve data literacy and skills across the public sector:

  • the Data Science Graduate Programme is being expanded in 2021, into new areas of government, and will incorporate some of the curriculum into the Civil Service Fast Stream programme

  • making courses available to the wider public sector including local authorities, the police and the NHS through the ONS's learning platforms

Data Masterclasses for senior leaders across government and the wider public sector will begin to roll out and become available in summer 2021. The Data Science Campus is also continuing to work with its strategic academic partners (including Cardiff University, Glasgow University, UCL, Southampton University and Oxford Brookes University) to deliver the Master's in Data Analytics for Government.

The Campus also works closely with the Government Analysis Function and the Government Digital Service, to build capacity in data science through our existing programmes and some exciting new initiatives.

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