The BRC has partnered with Cambridge Spark to deliver Data Science, Analytics & AI learning programmes to bridge the Data Science and AI skills gap in the retail sector.
The UK retail industry is undergoing unprecedented change as a result of the ongoing digital transformation that has been accelerated by coronavirus. The impact of the pandemic is compounding difficulties already faced by retailers, having shed approximately 72,000 jobs in 2019 according to BRC research. However, new innovation technologies are providing retailers with an opportunity to develop and improve their offering both online and in store, allowing them to adapt in line with changing consumer behaviours. From the supply chain to the head office, the use of technology and data can make the industry more efficient, and while this may mean fewer jobs in retail, those that remain will better paid and higher skilled. Roles within the industry are changing, with more than 100,000 people employed in retail jobs that did not exist 5 years ago - a figure that is certain to increase as retailers adapt to the new roles and skillsets needed for their businesses to succeed.
With increasing competition for the data science talent that does exist (with 81% of UK businesses citing shortage of skills as a hurdle to adopting AI), retailers need to look to their existing workforce and early talent. The World Economic Forum reports that more than half of all employees globally will require significant upskilling by 2022. This is not limited to roles in technology departments, but includes roles across entire organisations. Employees in departments including HR, Finance and Marketing can all benefit from using data science skills in their existing roles to gain greater insight and drive more value for the organisation, ranging from AI enhancing supply chain forecasting through to using reinforcement learning to optimise prices.
To support retailers in this transition, the BRC and Cambridge Spark are entering a partnership to help retail professionals upskill and help secure the future of the retail industry. The partnership aims to create a full learning pathway for technical Data Science and AI training in the retail industry, including Apprenticeships and executive training. The BRC and Cambridge Spark will be working directly with retailers to develop these programmes that empower their workforce to meet business objectives. The programmes consist of applied practical learning through live workshops, real world-simulated assignments and work-based projects. Learners are also supported by a personal coach and technical mentors.
Apprenticeships provide a well-defined route for internal talent development in England. They are open to new and existing employees in full-time roles working with data. Funded by the Apprenticeship Levy, apprenticeships are a cost-effective way to upskill employees in analytics, data science and AI.
14-month Data Analyst Apprenticeship (Level 4)
Learn how to extract, manipulate and visualise data to answer complex business questions and drive strategic value, using Python, data mining and big data.
15-month Data Science & Machine Learning Engineer Apprenticeships (Level 7)
Learn how to discover and devise new data-driven AI solutions, automate and optimise business processes, and support, augment and enhance human decision-making.
“There's incredible untapped operational and data opportunities available within retail organisations to increase competitiveness. Through our partnership with BRC we are looking to upskill retail professionals so they can be an integral part of the digital revolution."
Dr Raoul-Gabriel Urma
Read how data science training helped Argos with a training plan for analysts to determine variables impacting sales in a store: https://info.cambridgespark.com/latest/the-role-of-data-science-in-retail
Read how training a team at Carrefour helped enhance their customers' shopping experience by enabling greater personalisation of suggested products and communications: https://info.cambridgespark.com/latest/carrefour-case-study
“Retail is one of the most innovative and vibrant industries, continuously adapting to changing consumer behaviours. The ongoing transformation driven by new technologies has been accelerated by coronavirus. As a result it is likely there will be fewer retail jobs in the future. Nonetheless, these jobs will be higher skilled and better paid. From AI experts to social media analysts to data scientists, there are now hundreds of jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago. We hope that this new partnership will provide the next generation of retailers with the skills they need to succeed in these new roles and lead the success of this exciting and dynamic industry.”
Helen Dickinson, BRC Chief Executive
Cambridge Spark is our chosen delivery partner for analytics, data science and AI education.
Cambridge Spark is a leader in transformational data science and AI training. Their pioneering training programmes are built on their proprietary AI-powered learning and assessment platform, EDUKATE.AI®, to accelerate the tech capability of both individuals and organisations.
Expert designed curriculum
Apprenticeship and Degree Apprenticeship Programmes are designed by Data Scientists and Data Analysts working in industry, for industry
Instant feedback 24/7 with EDUKATE.AI®
Learners are given instant feedback that’s aligned with standards such as PEP8, Pylint, Cyclomatic Complexity and Unit Tests, as well as machine learning metrics such as accuracy, F1 score, MSE and the confusion matrix.
Work-based projects and portfolios
Learners gain applied practical experience through completing real-world data problems. Programmes are focused on enabling learners to apply new skills into their work right away, driving value for the business and ensuring ROI.
Innovative virtual learning solutions
Live, instructor-led virtual learning sessions have been specifically designed for group remote learning. Training takes place over high-quality video and audio, creating a virtual classroom. Learners also have access to break out rooms, supported by Slack, where they can come together to chat, socialise and discuss the training.
Teaching & coaching from professionals
The very fabric of Cambridge Spark is deeply-rooted in academia, with the teaching and coaching team consisting of PhD’s from the UK’s best universities, and professionals with backgrounds in world-renowned Machine Learning organisations, such as Google, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, Amazon, and Morgan Stanley.
Apprenticeships are a long-term training commitment which seek to upskill existing UK-based employees within an organisation, enabling employers to foster a workforce consisting of highly-skilled and highly-engaged talent.
They typically run over 12-24 months and include 20% off-the-job training, enabling a blended approach between theory and practical-learning.
Apprenticeships are open to anyone in full-time employment in England. They are open to current as well as new employees, people of any age, and even those with previous qualifications.
Apprenticeships can be for people early in their careers as well as experienced talent looking to advance their skill set or change careers, which is increasingly necessary as the world of work changes.
In England, if you are a large organisation with annual salaries over £3m you can have your apprenticeships 100% funded by the government through the apprenticeship levy. Employers who do not fall into this group can either have 95% funded by the government (and pay just 5%) or can have levy transferred from another levy-paying organisation to have them 100% funded.
Off-the-job training is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the day-to-day work duties and it must take place within the apprentice’s normal working hours.
It can be delivered on a flexible basis, for example, as part of each day, one day per week, one week out of five or as block release, and can be carried out at the apprentice’s place of work or from home.
The 20% off-the-job training provides learners with the time to focus and develop the required skills, knowledge and behaviours to achieve the apprenticeship