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Upskilling and development in 2021

Upskilling ensures employees' skillsets won't become obsolete, and shows your people you care about their careers and their futures and boosts morale. Employees who have training and development opportunities are happier in their roles and have a brighter outlook on their future with the company.

Furthermore on an individual note, personal and professional development helps individuals continue to not only be competent in their profession, but also excel in it. It should be an ongoing process that continues throughout an individual's career. Actively pursuing professional development ensures that knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date.

The Bayes Centre itself is committed to supporting the development and delivery of data-related training to a wide range of learners as part of the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) Programme within the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.  Working with other DDI Hubs and other partners such as Heriot-Watt to offer a variety of personal and professional development and upskilling opportunities; with a key focus being on Data. This article highlights just some of these opportunities with insights from individuals who have already taken the plunge to both personally and professionally develop themselves.

Bayes Workforce Development

The Bayes Centre provides a portfolio of short courses aimed to upskill the workforce, those seeking a return to work and those interested in new career options.

Courses are currently offered online through the hybrid learning platforms provided by the University of Edinburgh with additional support being offered to students through the course leads and collaborative working platforms.

The aim of this provision of online and blended delivery is to make learning as accessible as possible to the broadest range of students, to those who are distanced from learning and/or the labour market. The ‘byte’ size offering enables a stepped approach which could ultimately lead to learners accessing advanced courses and further education.

Course opportunities include:

  • Introduction to Practical Data Science –a 10-point online course suitable for learners in diverse employment settings; this provides a broad introduction to all elements of working with data, including technical skills, with a very practical focus.
  • Data Carpentry – a non-credit bearing 2-day intensive course offered at a very moderate fee rate for those who will work with data using digital tools, especially for those who have some elementary programming skills. 
  • Data Visualisation – an entry-level 10-credit online course for learners interested in acquiring data visualisation skills, without need for mathematical or coding prerequisites, and relevant for a wide variety of sectors.
  • Leading Technology and Innovation in Organisations – a 10-credit online course for those in management and leadership roles that provides an introduction to tech-driven change and innovation. 
  • Health Data Science – a 10-credit online course offering an integrated overview of core data science content relevant for those working in the health sector.

The first course for 2021 begins early January and there is still time to apply for the “Leading Technology and Innovation in Organisations” course, with funded places available for those eligible for Scottish Funding Council funding. Additional courses are in the pipeline and will be added to the website from January 2021.

To find out more about Bayes Workforce Development and keep up to date on new course additions, visit: https://www.ed.ac.uk/bayes/about-us/our-work/education/workforce-development.

Heriot-Watt Graduate Apprenticeship Programme

As global leaders in robotics and autonomous systems, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh are delivering Data-Driven Innovation as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

With a strong focus on entrepreneurship and job creation, the National Robotarium will offer an ecosystem for industry collaboration where humans and robots work in partnership and the Heriot-Watt Graduate Apprenticeship Programme offers an opportunity for both employer and apprentice to benefit.

We heard from, Rayane Sefiane, a MA (Hons) Business Management GA candidate at the National Robotarium.

What were the benefits of Graduate Apprenticeship programme that attracted you the most?

The benefits of a graduate apprenticeship mean I am gaining real-life work experience that can be used to increase my employability and my performance as an employee. The flexibility of my position as a project support also allows me to target skills that I would need such as presentation, formal writing or working in a cross disciplinary environment. I am gaining perspective on different aspects of the workplace and how they operate so that I can make a more informed decision on where I want to work.

What is your proudest achievement to date in your role and can you explain how this impacted on your working environment and or helped deliver results on behalf of your organisation:

I was tasked to think and detail a list of requirements for an AI receptionist for the National Robotarium. I presented the requirements to the academics who designed the AI.

I received positive feedback in my presentation and material and was told that it was clear, informative, and concise. Being a part of the process of developing the AI was rewarding, as well as the prospect of seeing the reception fully built in person knowing I was involved.

What are your future career hopes and goals on completion of the Graduate Apprenticeship?

I plan on pursuing in a career in project management. I am unsure of what specific sector I will work in so my goal by the end of the graduate apprenticeship scheme is to develop and raise my profile so that I have as many options as possible. I hope to have a clearer idea on an industry that I want to work in as I continue to develop my skills and meet more people.

Had I continued an undergraduate programme I would have probably been unsure and uninformed on which career I should pursue which could lead to working a job that I dislike and is not what would have expected.

The graduate apprenticeship scheme has opened the opportunity to a wide variety of career opportunities and has given me the perspective to choose where to go.

The Graduate Apprenticeship Programme also clearly benefits the Employer, with Rayane’s line manager, noting:

I was attracted by the opportunity to develop a graduate apprentice who could add value to the project team where they can apply the skills they were learning from a high-quality education.  This creates a mutual benefit where the work-based experience informs their studies and vice-versa, which continues to grow over time. The programme has really work worked for us.

Bayes Data Science, Technology and Innovation Programme

Data Science, Technology and Innovation (DSTI) is a University of Edinburgh-wide online learning postgraduate programme. With demand rapidly growing for high value data specialists with high level skills to turn stockpiles of information into knowledge for better decision making, DSTI offers a flexible, modular, online programme designed to fully equip tomorrow's data professionals.

Offering different entry points into the world of data science – with courses available across the University of Edinburgh in the sciences, medicine, arts and humanities; it caters for a wide variety of learners which can adapt the programme to meet their needs.

Previous students praise DSTI for allowing them to develop their Data skills in a online, flexible manner:

DSTI infographic

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this module and felt that it really helped my own understanding of what makes a visualisation effective and how I can improve upon the visuals I make in my own workplace. Since finishing the module, I have completed two very interesting MOOCs on interactive visualisations in Python, using the Ploty and Dash libraries and this has been inspired by the module you created.

I was so pleased to get the news of my successful completion of the degree program. It has been a long, challenging, but all-together rewarding experience from start to finish. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each of you for all of your advice, assistance, and efforts on my behalf throughout my postgraduate education. Any time I had a question, issue, or needed to get something accomplished, the DSTI team was there for me. You were reliable, prompt, personable, professional, informative, and always did your best to make all the administrative aspects of the program go smoothly. I am incredibly appreciative of all the time, effort, and energy you contributed. It truly made a difference and helped me on my education journey. Thank you all so much for all of your support and help, I am incredibly grateful.

You can also read an inspiring blog post from past DSTI student, Adalberto Guerra Cabrera. In this post, the MSc student at The University of Edinburgh and a Senior R&D consultant at Integrated Environmental Solutions, reveals how undertaking an online Masters in Data Science Technology helped his work on developing energy-efficient buildings.

Adalberto Guerra Cabrera - Undertaking an online data science degree to design better environmental solutions

 

Find out more

The following websites provide further information regarding the opportunities and programmes mentioned in this article:

Bayes Workforce Development

Heriot-Watt Graduate Apprenticeship Programme

Bayes Data Science, Technology and Innovation Programme

The National Robotarium

Data Driven Innovation