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The biggest myths on data apprenticeships…busted

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Research indicates that 53% of the working population do not have the digital skills needed for the workplace*. This is predicted to rise to 66% by 2030.

A broad set of data skills are vital to support organisations in gaining a strategic advantage.

Consumer data will be the biggest differentiator in the next two to three years. Whoever unlocks the reams of data and uses it strategically will win.

- Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of retail at Apple Inc

A data apprenticeship is one way to bridge that skills gap. But there are still some myths out there around the subject, so we’ve broken down five of the biggest.

Myth 1: Data skills are only for those who want a career in tech

False. Data is disrupting a wide range of industries. It’s time to think of data skills as a company-wide need, rather than a tech-only function. For many companies, poor data literacy is creating an internal roadblock. Gartner expects that 50% of organisations lack sufficient AI and data literacy skills to achieve business value**.

Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine.

- Peter Sondergaard, Gartner Research

So if you’re in finance, retail, education, health, media, manufacturing, hospitality or anywhere data is generated or processed, you need to raise your workforce’s data IQ.

Myth 2: I don’t have “Data Technician” in my job title so I can’t do the Apprenticeship

False. Employees don’t need to have “Data Technician” on their business cards to do a Data Technician Apprenticeship. It’s about the work being carried out, not the job title.

If the role calls for the ability to gather information, work with it, and communicate the results in the context of business priorities and outcomes, then data technician skills come into play.

In HR, for instance, data can be used to improve the recruitment process by helping to identify and select new talent. It can track time-to-hire and job acceptance rates. And it’s a key tool in the analysis of pay scales and benefits, in meeting diversity and inclusion targets, and in measuring employee performance.

On the sales side, data lets you drill down into business transactions and see what’s happening during interactions with customers. It helps you respond to market changes, competitor activity, and customer preferences.

Data helps marketing teams to understand their target audience and develop more effective communications and campaigns.

Product teams can draw on data in their design stage, looking at consumer behaviour to fine tune features and drive revenue. And accounting/finance staff can analyse information to identify trends and harness the data for commercial benefit.

Data skills are vital in any role that uses data to make better business decisions – no matter what the job title or level of seniority. According to research by Accenture and Qlik, despite nearly all employees (87 percent) recognizing data as an asset, few are using it to inform decision-making***. Only 25 percent of surveyed employees believe they’re fully prepared to use data effectively.

Myth 3: Apprenticeships are just for new hires or school leavers

False. It’s a great opportunity to upskill or retrain existing staff at any level. If employees are collecting and processing data, an apprenticeship allows them to add value to their role, their team and the company. Apprenticeships are available to anyone if they are in a suitable job – new hires and school leavers included, of course!

Myth 4: Training is expensive

False. Programmes can be as little as £600 for non or marginal Apprenticeship Levy payers, and £12,000 for Levy payers. Contrast that with figures released by the Open University which reveal that UK businesses have spent £1.23bn in additional recruitment costs to tackle the digital skills gap, and the value of apprenticeships is clear to see****.

Myth 5: It will take a long time to get started on a programme and see the impact

False. Applications for the Level 3 Data Technician Apprenticeship from Kaplan can be reviewed and processed within weeks and there is a programme starting towards the end of February. The apprenticeship will typically take 18 months, but the learning is on the job so you should see changes and impact after three months.

Get ahead of the competition

Companies with lower levels of data literacy in the workforce are at a competitive disadvantage. One place you can turn to upskill and reskill your workforce is here at Kaplan. We are a leading education provider trusted by more than 3 million individuals and businesses across the globe.

For more information about our Level 3 Data Technician Apprenticeship and our other digital apprenticeships, please get in touch, and someone from our team will be in contact.