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£2.3m of additional funding to launch Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme

The Welsh Government has announced £2.3m of funding to launch Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme.

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.

A number of leading businesses in the Welsh finance sector have already partnered with the programme, including: Admiral, Atradius, Centrica, Hodge Bank, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Optimum Credit, Principality Building Society and MotoNovo Finance.

Pictured: Jason Stewart, Adam Crawshaw, Matthew Owen, Paul Greenhalgh, Tiannie J, Rhodri C, Katherine T, Niall B

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.

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.”

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%.

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.”