ONS takes on new group of data apprentices

Collaboration with Welsh Government adds further momentum to campaign to increase public sector apprenticeships in data and IT

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) is preparing to take on a second group of data analytics apprentices following a selection exercise run with the Welsh Government.

Apprentices at Data Science Campus - all on beanbagsTom Smith, managing director of the Data Science Campus at the ONS, told UKAuthority that 23 apprentices were taken on from about 150 applicants and are due to join the organisation in two groups, in July and September.

He said this points towards the potential of government bodies in using apprenticeships to build the skills capability in data analytics and science.

“This is a great area for vocational training,” he said. “We’ve had people who have started a maths degree, shown they are skilled, but dropped out after a year wanting to work in real world applications.

“The Data Science Campus, ONS and government departments have some great opportunities for that kind of thing.”

The first group of apprentices – eight from 130 applicants – were taken on in September of last year in a programme run by the ONS Learning Academy. Smith said they were the first group of data analytics apprentices in the UK and, after six months learning programming and techniques, are beginning to work on various projects.

“What we’re seeing is that it’s a great resource for the ONS,” he said. “Eight is not a great number in regard to the whole ONS, but it shows what is possible.”

Early in the year HM Revenue & Customs made a significant contribution to the cause of promoting IT and data apprenticeships in government, announcing that it planned to create 25 in cyber security.

Image from ONS