How the GSK Data Analyst apprenticeship hackathon is turning new skills into opportunities

The GSK data hackathon, delivered as part of the L4 Data Analyst Academy, accelerates learning and ensures ROI by allowing apprentices to work on a real-world data problem in the context of their business.

GSK is leading the way in transforming its organisation to benefit from Data Analytics and AI. As part of its digital transformation, GSK has developed digital upskilling programmes for its workforce across all departments. One of its most recent and successful upskilling initiatives is the L4 Data Analyst Academy, delivered by Cambridge Spark which is funded by the UK government Apprenticeship levy. The current cohort of apprentices across departments including Supply Chain, R&D and HR has recently completed a Data hackathon, working on an internal real-world data problem.

The hackathon is a unique component of the Data Analyst apprenticeship programme delivered by Cambridge Spark. It is designed around a dataset that an organisation wishes to harness. The hackathon enables apprentices to show how they can analyse a new dataset to drive business opportunities such as cost savings or revenue growth. Last month, the GSK data hackathon centered on a Supply Chain dataset to investigate the yield of different manufacturing lines over time. During the two-day event, learners applied the technical skills and knowledge acquired throughout their apprenticeship so far. In addition, they practiced their soft skills such as collaboration, communication and presentation to stakeholders.

On day one, the groups used Python, Pandas and Bokeh to analyse the supply chain data and then looked at the NetworkX library to visualise graph dependencies. One apprentice stated that “it was really fun and a good way of putting into practice all the skills we have learned over the first half of the year and applying them to a potential business case”. The apprentices already had experience working on real-world datasets having worked on assignments on EDUKATE.AI, the proprietary data science learning platform developed by Cambridge Spark.

On day two, the groups presented their findings to GSK management, including Jane Smith, Director of Data Products. The presentations included an overview of their analysis and recommendations for the business. She stated that “The apprentices had clearly learned to work with a wide range of tools and develop a breadth of data skills and appeared to have really enjoyed the opportunities".

The skills displayed by apprentices throughout the hackathon demonstrated that organisation’s can empower their employees with the skills for tomorrow by upskilling them today.

If you have any interest in learning more about the L4 Data Analyst or L7 AI Apprenticeships programmes run by Cambridge Spark please contact

Data Analyst Apprenticeship L4

Learn advanced data analysis skills
with a government-funded apprenticeship
Jan 2021 start

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