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Growing our future data talent

Finally, it feels like Spring is not too far away and there is some respite from the rain. No respite from the busy calendar though! Following on from our cluster launch event at the end of January, we carried out a short survey to help understand some of the challenges faced by cluster companies. One of the areas that came back was around access to markets. I’m now starting to pull together plans for industry insight and adoption into specific sectors, and will work with other organisations to help develop these. If there are particular sectors you’re currently trying to get into, then do please drop me an email and I can make sure you’re engaged in this activity. Our first sector will be Financial Services; if you’re interested in supplying Financial Services, come along to our event –

I’ve been working with SQA to take a proposal to Scottish Government secure funding to help develop learning materials for the new Data Science National Progression Award. The good news is that we’ve now been successful in getting this funding. We are now working with the University of Edinburgh’s Data Driven Innovation Skills Gateway programme to pool resources and deliver guides for educators and learners which match the curriculum in time for the start of the next academic year. Appropriate supporting resources will make it easier for already stretched computing teachers and will help accelerate uptake. One of the great things about the NPA is the “project” element within this qualification. Students can focus in on a topic they are personally interested in and use at data from a range of different source, from sport, to travel, to environmental data. Hopefully that will also help stimulate a lifelong interest in the world of data….

I’m starting to work with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to help develop documented roles and career and educational pathways for jobs in data. I regularly hear feedback that developing and recruiting people into senior data roles is a real challenge, so the career pathways are of particular interest. This resource will be used by careers advisers across Scotland also help highlight the range of different types of roles and routes available – it’s very much not just data science and machine learning! From an inclusivity perspective, I’m keen to make sure that this reflects alternative pathways which supports eg. female returners. I’m also keen to make sure that this is really representative of the jobs that exist, so it would be great to get input from a few cluster companies with different profiles. Please, drop me an email if you’re interested in being involved.

And of course, Data Fest 2020 starts soon! I’m very excited about the huge range of activities taking place, and will be getting along to and involved in as many as possible. 

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