NatWest is bolstering its commitment to tackling the data skills shortage by launching its own data academy to train staff in understanding and using data so they can offer more tailored products to customers.
The scheme will be open to all the bank’s 70,000 employees, with plans to train up to 1,000 in the first year and give them the opportunity to receive qualifications.
Courses will include data fundamentals, data science, data architecture and data engineering, decision science, data governance and ethics, and performance insight.
NatWest chief executive Ross McEwan and chief financial officer Katie Murray have already signed up for training.
Last November, the bank opened a data innovation research unit at the Bayes Centre at Edinburgh University, with the aim of coming up with ideas that will improve customer experience at the bank, and help establish a data-driven culture of innovation.
NatWest director of data Frank Meere said: “This is another important step towards building a bank that gives our staff the tools to innovate and create services and products that our customers really value.”
The bank said the academy is part of its efforts to give staff new skills in a sector that is being transformed by the use of digital technologies.
NatWest HR head Helen Cook added: “Establishing a data academy is a core part of our wider commitment to build and invest in colleague capability. As the bank’s digital transformation continues, it is important that we give colleagues the technical and behavioural skills they need to grow their careers, and better serve our customers.”
The retail sector has also recognised the importance of staff being data-literate. Last year, Marks & Spencer created its own academy, in partnership with Decoded, designed to teach the retailer’s employees about retail data.
It will encourage more than 1,000 staff to enrol on an 18-month in-house data science skills programme, during which they will learn about machine learning and artificial intelligence.
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