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Learning to survive and thrive in the age of big data

Published: 09 September 2019

Data Science combines mathematical modelling, statistics, computer science and communication.

York St John University has become the first English University to offer a Degree Apprenticeship in Data Science. The course, which aims to future-proof business, has launched in York and London. Data Science has boundless potential for business, with applications across almost every industry; be it forecasting the spread of disease, designing user-friendly websites or preventing insurance fraud.

“We are very excited to be launching the nation’s first Degree Apprenticeship in Data Science this week, from both our York and London campuses,” said Dr Pierre-Philippe Dechant, Head of Data Science at York St John. “We are passionate about making our degrees fit for the 21st century and relevant to the working world. This applies particularly strongly to the degree apprenticeships, which are developed in close partnership with industry. We look forward to welcoming our degree apprentices from dozens of employers from all over the country as they embark on their data science programme with us."

Data Science combines mathematical modelling, statistics, computer science and communication, and industry is taking note.

Laura Tolley, Head of Government Statistical Service Apprenticeships at the ONS, said: “We’re delighted to be working with York St John University to help prepare the UK’s next generation of analysts, data scientists and policy-makers. By combining the expertise of staff from York St John and Data Scientists from across the Civil Service we will be training analysts ready to help the UK make better decisions and improve lives.” 

“The 19 apprentices starting this month will work towards a new degree-level qualification that is in demand across government and industry, providing the necessary skills to mobilise the power of data. These skills will open opportunities to work with large new datasets helping to fuel innovative assessments of society, the economy and our modern lives.”

The subject may not yet be widely known, but we all know we’re living in the age of big data, with companies dealing with ever-increasing volumes of information. As countless headlines about data breaches illustrate, correct management and analysis of it is key. And with Data Scientist being called the sexiest job of the 21st century by the Harvard Business Review, clearly they’re hugely in demand. Major employers like Unilever, Nestlé, Aviva, E.ON, Ladbrokes Coral and Newcastle Building Society are among those already signed up with York St John.

It’s been four years since degree apprenticeships were launched as part of the Government’s ambition to reform the apprenticeship system in England. “York St John has an innovative spirit and we have navigated unknown waters to create Degree Apprenticeship programmes which will enable employers and organisations to transform their companies and communities,” says Jo Burgess, Head of Apprenticeships at the University. “Skills and productivity challenges have plagued the UK economy for the last few decades, but with flexible and forward- thinking approaches like these, higher education and business can work together as never before.”

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