Axa opens UK data academy to boost in-house expertise

axa2Axa UK is aiming to steel a march on insurance industry rivals by putting data at the heart of its operations with the launch of its first data academy to span all business divisions, as part of a strategy to upskill its workforce, support decision-making, and improve customer experience.

Funded by the Apprenticeship Levy, the new data analytics apprenticeship, delivered by professional learning academy Avado, is designed to give those staff who have yet to receive formal data analytics training the skills to transform the way they perform their role.

Although many companies talk a good game about being data-driven businesses, the rise of the in-house data academy is seen by many as a key factor in expanding the use of analytics to the entire workforce. Even so, take up has been relatively slow, with only a handful of companies setting up training programmes, including Marks & Spencer, NatWest, Zurich and Burberry.

The Axa programme combines virtual sessions, online study, and individual work-based projects and takes up 20% of the participants’ working time. It gives students real-life data sets to manipulate and real-life challenges to solve, aimed at building their confidence to use new skills in their current and future roles.

The training’s core topics include data landscape, data preparation and essentials, data analysis programming and visualisation, advanced analysis and key concepts, data life cycle and big data, customer centricity, innovation and ways of working, business strategy and planning, and communication and influence.

Axa UK & Ireland chief operating officer Shali Vasudeva said: “As an insurer, we have been leveraging data for a while, from underwriting to claims analytics. We know how crucial these skills are, and we are thrilled to be expanding them throughout the business so colleagues in various functions will be able to use data insights to support our customer relationships.

Upon completing this Level 4 apprenticeship in spring 2022, the students will obtain a British Computer Society (BCS) Diploma in Data Analysis Concepts and Certificate in Data Analyst Tools.

Avado chairman Rob Devey added: “Having led a number of large financial services businesses, I appreciate [not only] the challenges of becoming a data-driven organisation but also the massive opportunities presented to those bold enough to take that step.”

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