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£2.3m Announced to Launch Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme

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This year’s FIFA World Cup could be the first decided by data science, as a new ruling allows data scientists with hand-held technology to sit on the bench and feed real time analysis to coaches – and now a new programme harnessing this trend is offering graduates the chance to build a career in a sector set to shape tomorrow’s economy. The new Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme will offer graduates paid placements with global employers, a fully funded MSc and expert learning from academic partner Office for National Statistics.

This October, 25 STEM graduates will start the programme, part funded by the European Social Fund, and developed by the Welsh Contact Centre Forum and employers to satisfy a growing demand in expert professionals who can work effectively and efficiently with handling sizeable data.

The scheme follows the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme, which has seen 105 graduates trained to be job-ready to start careers in that sector in Wales and boasts a 95% employment success rate.

Data science is now a tangible employment prospect for thousands of the world’s young graduates and Wales is making waves in securing its place in the data science boom. Some of the jobs readily available include Data Scientist, Analyst, Engineer and Researcher as well as Fraud Analyst. The data being mined can be as varied as audio, video and social media data to smart meters and other devices enabled for the Internet of Things, analysing trends and picking up on anomalies in data to create value.

IBM predicts that by 2020 the demand for data scientists will soar by 28%, while the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES)1, stated that 43% of vacancies in STEM roles were hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills, almost double the UK average of 24%.

Commenting on the extra £2.3m of EU funds being invested in the programme through the Welsh Government, Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford said:

“We are committed to helping people get the skills they need to pursue successful careers and drive forward high-growth sectors, which are vital to economic growth and employment.

“This is another example of how EU funds are supporting Wales’ growth ambitions. We are calling on the UK Government to replace this vital source of funding after the UK leaves the EU so we can continue to invest in programmes such as these.”

The businesses signed up to the programme are Admiral, Atradius, Centrica, Hodge Bank, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Optimum Credit, Principality Building Society and MotoNovo Finance.

The 25 need not be graduates in IT nor data science, any STEM subject is acceptable and the requirements are mainly having an aptitude towards problem solving, with a curious mind. The graduates are set to earn between £18,500 and £21,000 per year for the two year period and are virtually guaranteed a job at its end.

Sandra Busby, Managing Director of the Welsh Contact Centre Forum said of her aspirations for the programme and its graduates:

“The fact that FIFA are allowing the use of data analysis during live games is proof that everyone everywhere needs to be data ready.  We can’t leave the data science boom pass us by. We have global business here in Wales needing access to the best data scientists, which is why we established the Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme, to ensure that these industry leaders have a pool of talent to choose from.

“The candidates who are successful in securing a place on the programme will arguably benefit from exposure to all the best technology and systems, getting hands on experience from the best this country has to offer. They’ll come out of their two year placements well rounded and versatile, with an MSc to boot- exactly what every employer is looking for. We’ve got a 95% track record in securing employment for our graduates, and look forward to the same success with our inaugural class of 2018.”

Admiral, a global company often hailed as one of the UK’s best companies to work for, has an analytics departments of over 30 people, which includes Data Scientists, Fraud Analysts, Data Provisioning Managers and Business Analytics Managers. Rhodri Charles, Admiral’s Head of Business Analytics said of the experience the graduates should expect:

“Admiral is a big fan of developing pools of bright young talent to help take our business forward and deliver great outcomes for our customers. We’re also keenly aware that we need to play a significant role in supporting the burgeoning data science industry in Wales and beyond. Therefore being one of the businesses in this forward thinking consortium involved in the graduate programme is more than looking after number one, we want to support the next generation into our industries and make sure that there are no future skills gaps and that the brightest young problem solvers are living and working here in Wales.”

Another of the global businesses who’ll host the graduates through to 2020 is Centrica, the energy and services company, which relies on data knowledge and its management. Peter Sueref, Centrica’s Data Science Director – UK, said of what they have to offer the data science graduates:

“Cardiff is a great place to live and work, and it’s on the cusp of turning into a tech start-up and data science hub.  We have a well-established team based outside of Wales, but we feel that there are big opportunities for developing expertise in Cardiff too. Our data scientists will also use Wales as a base to develop products for our customers, our new programme graduates will play in important role in that growth and will be a part of something very exciting indeed.”

For further information, to enquire how your business can work with the Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme, please contact Programme Manager, Rowena O’Sullivan Rowena.O’[email protected]

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Chris is a digital marketing and publishing whizz by trade, having worked alongside the Automotive, Information Security and Software Asset Management sectors.

Specialising in data analysis and social media, he combines an analytical approach with a creative flair to achieve the best results. With a keen interest in Technology and Politics, Chris is constantly on the look-out for the latest stories around change and innovation.

As a lover of all things innovative, he has developed a keen eye for spotting the latest trends and hot topics. He sources and reads the latest news and thought-leadership articles from the world of recruitment before sharing them with the social media population.

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