Leveraging advanced data skills to upskill the workforce in Scotland
One of the main challenges in elaborating policy and programs to promote digital skills is to identify which specific contents will be more useful for a group. While some organizations decide to focus on basic skills such as using a computer and browsing the internet, others might select more advanced skills to update the workforce through innovative approaches that include additional alternative tools.
One of these organizations is the non-profit Data Lab, an innovation center from Scotland that launched a Continuing Professional Development training program to teach local professionals different data skills. Its courses include topics such as data visualization, machine learning and statistics, providing participants with access to different data science tools to use in the workplace.
According to Brian Hills, Head of Data at the Data Lab, “Skills Development Scotland estimates that there are over 90,000 people working in digital in Scotland, and to be successful in digital you really need to have an understanding of data. Data ranges on a spectrum, from how you communicate basic numbers all the way through to complex mathematics.”
However, the program does not only rely on technical knowledge. The Data Lab also shares leadership and soft skills in order to support workers to apply their knowledge to their businesses. According to the organization, the key to leveraging the potential of data is not just using the tools, but also being able to communicate the findings.
Additionally, the program focuses on talents from Scotland’s digital sector that are lacking preparation to adapt to the evolution of technology in their workplace. Given the fast pace of innovation in digital technologies, workers need to learn new skills to make up for those that are quickly becoming obsolete.