May 26, 2022
The first school-based data capability has also been developed in collaboration with SQA. Photo: Neil Hanna Photography.

To address such issues, the Data Drive Innovation (DDI) Skills Gateway, part of DDI at the University of Edinburgh, brings together industry, universities, colleges, schools and others to provide data or digital career paths. does.

It covers basic and key data skills from school to university based data science courses. The Data Skills for Work program, led by The Data Lab, aims to make it easier for people from different backgrounds to acquire the knowledge and skills required for different roles, opening up new employment opportunities.

DDI The Edinburgh and Southeast Scotland City Region is a major part of the Deal, a UK and Scottish Government-led investment that seeks to accelerate productivity through a wide range of programs, including infrastructure, skills and innovation. And is designed to drive comprehensive development.

Alison McCursey, Director of the DDI Skills Gateway Program, says: “Our program is providing people with opportunities to acquire skills that would put them in a better position for new opportunities in the changing world of work. The aim is to promote data literacy at all levels and respond to the lack of skills.

The program’s effectiveness was recently recognized as it reached the last three of the Digital Leaders 100 Awards for Digital Skills Initiative of the Year out of hundreds of entries from across the UK.

Allison says her job is not primarily to develop advanced data scientists. Instead, it’s about incorporating a wide range of people to improve everyone’s understanding of data and its use. “We are talking about data citizens, data workers, data professionals and data leaders. We believe that everyone needs to better understand the data trail they create on a daily basis and their rights to it. And there are responsibilities. It’s also about how you as a citizen can use the data to raise your voice, for example to influence local decision making, “says Allison.

The DDI Skills Gateway also acknowledges the fact that the nature of the work is evolving and that people need to be confident in using technology for more roles. This includes the choice of caregivers who are working with sensors in nursing homes to collect data on things such as the movement of residents around the building and the air quality in the environment.

“Our program is about equalizing opportunities and paving the way for new skills for a wide group of learners,” Allison added.

One of the challenges the program is trying to address is gender imbalances and a lack of diversity in the role of technology. Statistics from Skills Development Scotland show that less than a quarter of Tech Rolls are held by women, and about three-quarters of the computing science students at the country’s universities are men.

“We’re trying to change that picture,” says Allison. “We have equality throughout our program, the materials and case studies we use, and in our work with third sector organizations.”

Her schooling activities are conducted outside the University of Edinburgh’s Murray House, focusing on how data literacy is taught. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) events are held for practitioners and trainee teachers, and a wide range of curriculum materials are being developed. The first school-based data capability has also been developed in collaboration with SQA. The team is also assisting teachers, providing innovative content linked to Scotland’s first-of-its-kind region-wide Internet of Things program.

The college part of the program also focuses on CPD to ensure that lecturers can teach data literacy with confidence. It covers four colleges in Feff, Borders, Edinburgh and West Lutheran.

Short courses have also been developed for specific groups of learners, such as targeting women returning to Fife College in association with Equate Scotland, who have experience working with women in STEM. Another example of third-party engagement is a course for neurodivers learners running at West Lutheran College with the Donaldson Trust.

Referring to higher education, the University of Edinburgh Napier received funding to develop and launch a BSc in Data Science. It has also included data modules in courses such as business and nursing.

Finally, the Data Skills for Work program has a range of offerings. Its Data Skills portal contains information on relevant education and training programs to improve the data literacy of the workforce, including courses that can be accessed free of charge with Data Skills Credit. Such credits fund risk-averse and low-paid employees in roles that are being replaced by automation, and those who are returning to work need to acquire higher skills and re-skills. Allow

Of DDI Skills Gateway has already worked with a large number of people in its target.

To give the audience a picture of their outreach, the program ha
s enrolled more than 103,000 schoolchildren, and has provided financial assistance to over 200 individuals through its Credit Grant Scheme, part of its ambitious CPD program. The source has worked with about 3080 lectures and has seen about 3,000 visits. Skills Portal – and more activities and contributions are in the pipeline.

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