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Apprenticeships must be a vehicle for developing digital skills

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This National Apprenticeship Week, Andy Cotgreave, Senior Director at Tableau Software and co-author of The Big Book of Dashboards, argues that an important theme of this week should be how we make it easier for young people and other individuals in work to gain digital skills.

Tableau partners with digital transformation and leadership training specialist AVADO, and are developing a new range of interactive courses designed to help organisations and individuals upskill and become more data literate.

Currently being piloted by several UK companies, the Data Analytics apprenticeship, via AVADO’s apprenticeship business, Arch, is the first course to launch in the UK, in partnership with Tableau.

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“Apprenticeship Week is another valuable opportunity to celebrate how important workplace training is for the country. But, it is a serious concern that the government and businesses are spending funds on training that may not prepare our young people and workers for the present day of digital working, let alone the future.

“Last week’s City and Guild’s freedom of information report highlighted how too much of the levy is unspent or spent on legacy training. The digital skills shortage is so acute that we need imaginative ways to ensure more people coming into, or who are already in work, have the data skills that are increasingly needed by our commercial and public sector bodies. Fortunately, there are initiatives by Tableau and training organisations like AVADO to partner with businesses to ensure apprenticeships can be a successful vehicle for developing a digital skills base that’s productive, creative and more than fit for purpose.

“Of course, not all apprenticeships should be about data skills, but an important theme of this week should be how we make it easier for young people and other individuals in work to gain digital skills, especially as the scope of work is being disrupted by greater automation and machine intelligence. We must show how data skills are important in non-technical fields, break down any barriers between arts and technical disciplines, and enable democratisation of data analytics at work through ensuring that technology is accessible, intuitive and rewarding to use.”

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