Emily Glassberg Sands, Director of Data Science at Coursera

As we move into the next decade, talent will underpin the UK’s efforts to maintain its position as a world-leader in innovation 

The UK’s AI industry is set to grow exponentially over the next few years, contributing £232 billion to the economy by 2030.

But even with the country poised to become the innovation centre of Europe, progress is hindered by the ongoing skills crisis.

In fact, the UK could be missing out on as much as £63 billion a year because companies are not finding workers with the necessary critical digital skills.

There is evidence that the tides may be turning.

Results from Coursera’s database of 1.3 million UK-based learners show that AI-related courses were the most popular studied in the UK this year, with Stanford University’s online Machine Learning course topping the charts, closely followed by courses such as AI for EveryoneIntroduction to TensorFlow, and Programming for Everybody.

Despite the promising trend of Brits studying technical subjects online, more must be done to ensure everyone — regardless of age, background, or occupation — has the opportunity to develop fundamental digital skills.

A widening gap

This year, the UK government announced investments of £1 billion in the AI sector, including funding for 1,000 PhDs and training for 8,000 secondary school teachers in computer science. This is a clear commitment to nurturing digital competencies from secondary school to university, but what about businesses desperate for digitally literate workers right now?

Estimates suggest that Europe will need 346,000 more people trained in data science by next year.

Thanks to digital transformation, demand for data specialists is being felt across every sector, not just technology companies.

As the amount of data in the world increases exponentially (IDC forecasts by 2025 the volume of data worldwide will increase by 61%), the demand for data specialists will continue to grow in tandem. In addition to dedicated data scientists, engineers and analysts, companies will also need employees across the business to think — at least a bit — like data scientists, translating data into actionable insights.

Talent to support innovation 

Coursera’s end of year findings indicate that people are keen to learn, willing to enroll in online courses on their own to learn new skills. Similarly, PwC found that 54% of UK adults say they’re ready to learn new skills or completely retain to improve their employability. To bridge the digital skills gap, companies must offer those employees who want to upskill or reskill the opportunity to do so.

Given the rapid rate of technological developments, learning can no longer be confined to the beginning of our working lives. The onus is on businesses to build a workplace culture where learning is celebrated and workers have the time and headspace for self-development.

As we move into the next decade, talent will underpin the UK’s efforts to maintain its position as a world-leader in innovation. Recognizing this, businesses will hold a major responsibility ensuring individuals at every career stage can gain valuable digital skills.

Emily Glassberg Sands, Director of Data Science at Coursera

Emily Glassberg Sands is the Senior Director of Data Science at Coursera, the world’s leading platform for higher education. More than 46 million learners come to Coursera to advance their skills in courses, Specializations, certificates, and degree programs offered by university and industry partners including Yale, Stanford, and Google.

Emily’s team builds the statistical models and machine learning algorithms that power content discovery and scale an engaging and personalized learning experience; leads the measurement, experimentation, and inference that informs Coursera’s product and business strategy; and develops the analytical products and direct data access for the company’s university partners and enterprise customers. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and a B.A. from Princeton.

Her academic research blends experimentation, econometrics, and machine learning to understand labour markets and consumer decision-making, and has been featured in the popular press including the New York Times and National Public Radio.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page