Retail’s first data technician apprenticeship
15. December 2020 | News, Retail Technology, Young Professionals

M&S has launched a new level three data apprenticeship as it continues to invest in building the digital and data capabilities of its colleagues to help accelerate its transformation, in line with its Never the Same Again priorities.

With more customers shopping digitally than ever before, the new course is the latest step M&S is taking to support its plans to supercharge online growth and create a digitally and data enabled culture – having relaunched Sparks as a digital first loyalty programme in July and announced the formation of a new fully integrated online, digital and data division ‘MS2’ in November.

Upskilling colleagues through data is a vital part of the M&S transformation. So far, over 700 colleagues across the organisation have benefitted from specialist data training from M&S partner Decoded.

Open to everyone across the business, the Data Technician course empowers learners with the data skills they need – teaching them the fundamentals of how to manipulate and scrutinise data, and how to translate it into valuable insights that the business can then act upon. The first cohort start in December and the next will begin in January – with a target for over 70 learners to enrol in the first 12 months.

The Data Technician course will sit alongside the more advanced Data Analyst Fellowship course, which so far has trained over 200 colleagues across M&S – from our stores and support centres – in skills such as R, Python, SQL and machine learning. Colleagues are already putting their newly acquired skills into practice and are delivering value for the business – including supporting the M&S response to the pandemic.

Embedding a digital, data-driven culture is how M&S will achieve its ambition of becoming a digital first retailer. But alongside upskilling colleagues and creating an 800-strong data community at M&S, equipping teams with the right tools to find and access the data generated across the business is just as vital. Jeremy Pee, Chief Digital & Data Officer at M&S said: “M&S has a rich data set – from Sparks to M& to M&S Bank – and in order to thrive in a digital future, we need colleagues who can act upon this insight and put data at the heart of everything we do. With the […] continued investment in colleague data literacy programmes, we are building the foundations to deliver a step-change in customer experience, and we’re already seeing the benefits a more data literate workforce can bring.”

Source: Marks and Spencer

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