Apprenticeships, Data Analytics, News

Data Analytics learner case study - Jack Appleton

06 April 2021 by Katherine O'Halloran

Jack Appleton is an Account Manager at Corndel, working closely with clients such as UBS, Unilever and Johnson Matthey. Having joined Corndel as a 16 year-old school leaver in 2018, he has already been promoted, completed his Level 4 Data Analyst diploma and built up a deserving reputation across the business for his insight and data-driven approach.

Jack joined the company as a Business Analyst, with a noticeable flair for technology and data. He embarked on the Level 4 Data Analytics Diploma, learning sought-after skills including SQL, Time Series Analysis, Regression and Clustering. As he began to apply data analytics knowledge, skills and behaviours to his role, the wider business development and leadership teams were able to work more efficiently and use business data to better support customers.

During his apprenticeship, Jack worked on several work-based projects, each of which has had a significant impact on the business.

1. Using data to minimise customer attrition

As an apprenticeship provider, progressing our learners through the programme and through End Point Assessment is of critical importance to us, our regulators, Ofsted, and to our clients. Jack decided to build a regression model to predict the likelihood of learners leaving the programme early, based on their age. This model is to be used by the business on an ongoing basis as the business grows, and will enable the team to implement more support to learners who are at a higher risk of becoming a leaver, to lower the rate of attrition on our courses. Jack extended this model to assess the likelihood of people leaving early if they are part of a large cohort. The conclusion, that scaling apprenticeship programmes does not impact quality, contributed to the overall strategy of helping businesses deliver apprenticeships at scale.

2. Using data to forecast revenue

Jack created an annual sales forecast report based on sales to date to predict sales on a client by client basis. He converted the data to show value of leads as well as numbers on programme and presented this to the Business Development Directors and Corporate Development Director. His findings shaped Corndel’s account management, new customer acquisition and marketing strategies. Jack also built a time series analysis that forecast the expected participant volumes across Corndel’s courses over the following year. This included likely peaks in demand that went on to inform the business’s resourcing strategy. 

3. Using data visualisation to share business insights

Jack is now able to extract and manipulate business data and produce informative visualisations which make the information easy to view and read for decision-makers. His visual representations of data are used in company meetings, board meetings and in account management meetings with customers. Jack is an in-demand internal resource, bridging the gap between data scientists and senior stakeholders. He is able to speak the language of data, while translating findings into meaningful reports and recommendations.

4. Using data skills to provide valuable insights to customers

Jack produces ad hoc reports for Corndel clients to track trends, e.g., age, gender, length of time on our programmes. These reports have been used directly by clients, who use the analysis to improve parity of up-take in courses across gender, ethnicity and age. He also compiles data into monthly dashboards for clients, enabling them to easily identify areas of concern and introduce suitable interventions. This has been particularly beneficial during the pandemic when apprentices were working remotely, often with challenging and ever-changing circumstances that could have put their progression at risk.

What comes next?

Jack is excited for his future career, with many doors already being opened through these critical business skills. While he may not pursue pure data science as a career, he knows that data analysis will always be part of his approach to his work. He says, “I am now confident in making data-driven decisions, and helping colleagues do the same. I have a firm understanding of data quality, privacy and security, and am able to extract and analyse data. Through the programme and the exposure it’s given me within the business, I have developed the right skills to confidently communicate with data.

Jack’s capability is set to benefit those beyond Corndel and its clients. His data analytics qualification and experience at Corndel has led to a role in Army Reserves, a sought-after role that he was selected for based on his exceptional ability to solve problems and approach situations with an analytical mindset.

Josh Allerson, Jack’s manager, describes how the programme has shaped Jack’s approach to owning his personal development. "Jack is very proactive in seeking to further his development, identifying shadowing opportunities with our Data Analytics & Reporting Manager while she managed a change project into a more streamlined single database, as well as directly seeking further opportunities with our Corporate Development Director and CEO to get involved in forecasting projects so he can further apply his skills. The impact of this programme on both Jack personally and Corndel as a business cannot be underestimated.

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