From the Ground Up: Harnessing the Potential of Upskilling your Employees in Data Skills

The UK’s huge data skills gap is well-publicised, with the government’s National Data Strategy only one example of the drive for improved data and digital skills across the country. AND Digital found that 81% of UK managing directors say a lack of digital skills is negatively affecting their company. This is further supported by research from Microsoft where 78% of leaders say that the digital talent pool is critical to driving UK competitiveness globally. Your organisation needs digital and data skills to grow and compete in the modern world, with McKinsey research showing that companies with strong data analytics capabilities are 2.6 times more likely to be in the top quartile of financial performance within their industry. Undervaluing the power of data skills will quickly put your organisation at a disadvantage but how can you embed data literacy and competence within your organisation? Through equipping employees with the right data skills – from the ground up.

Upskilling Employees in Data Skills for Business Transformation

Building a business-wide data strategy has to be a priority for any organisation that wants to remain competitive and relevant. Data skills cannot be siloed and kept in a separate and dedicated data team, data democratisation is a must for organisations today. As Thomas Reuters put it well, all organisations need to ‘to embrace the fact that data is a key strategic asset and from there, build a business-wide approach’.

Every department of your organisation can benefit from and grow with advanced data skills. We explore this in depth in The Data Skills Digital Roadmap which explores the route to success with data and shows exactly how each department can benefit from data skills training in a specific way:


HR departments can thrive with trained data professionals within the team. Data skills can be used to optimise and streamline recruitment processes, boost employee engagement as you can use insights to make better decisions, which in turn positively impacts employee retention.

Marketing and sales

Know your customer better than ever before with employees who can effectively analyse and utilise customer data for enhanced insights. Your marketing and sales teams can use data to improve customer experience, identify new, better qualified leads and better measure Return on Investment and Return on Advertising Spend. Better insights from your data will allow for more targeted campaigns and improved budgeting for future strategies.


Ensuring your ops team is well-skilled in data allows for improvements in many areas. Data can help your people manage and predict stock and inventory more effectively, improve working models and increasing the accuracy of your budgets, as data allows you to make more precise forecasts.


Like your ops department, good understanding and analysis in your finance team will lead to improved forecasting for revenue and also better accuracy in risk analysis. Combining quality data analysis with the right software can also improve your fraud detection and prevention.


IT departments may be considered the natural home of data but as it becomes further spread across your organisation, your IT departments can focus on more high-level and advanced processes. IT departments can utilise data effectively to build an efficient tech stack, assess and analyse the integrity and security of your data and making data more accessible and digestible for other departments too.

Using Data Apprenticeships to Upskill Employees Across All Teams

Data apprenticeships are a powerful tool for upskilling your existing talent pool in the most useful and valuable data skills for their role. High-quality data apprenticeships equip your people and therefore your organisation with the data and technical proficiency to grow and transform as a business. The key benefits of data apprenticeships include:

Increased efficiency

Data skills training can help employees learn how to use data to automate processes and make them more efficient. This can help businesses reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.

Enhanced customer insights

By analysing customer data, employees can gain insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and needs. This can help businesses develop better products and services and improve customer engagement and loyalty.

Boosted innovation

Data skills training can help employees come up with new ideas for products and services. By using data to identify market trends and customer needs, employees can develop innovative solutions that can help businesses stay ahead of the competition.

Improved decision making

Employees who have a high level of data training and experience can use their skills to inform business decisions. Your employees can make better, business-focused decisions backed by evidence.

Driving collaboration

Upskilling people across different departments with data skills makes it much easier for teams to work together, everybody is on the same page and can contribute. When employees understand how to use data, they can collaborate with their colleagues across departments more effectively.

Retaining your top talent

Talented employees are always looking for their next career step and if your company doesn’t offer it, they may look elsewhere. Targeted, high-level training is a strong incentive for your people to stay put. Developing the essential technical and data skills needed to move forward effectively is something many employees will look at favourably and be motivated by.

Faster, company-driven results

Training existing employees in data skills can ensure they have a better understanding of the company’s culture, values, and goals. Your people are already well-versed in how your organisation functions and can quickly put their new skills to good use. Similarly, in-house training is a faster solution to your skills gaps as it removes the need for a potentially long and expensive recruitment drive.

Funded by your Apprenticeship Levy

Data apprenticeships allow you to upskill your employees without a significant additional cost. Our data apprenticeships programmes are covered by your Apprenticeship Levy funding, allowing you to upskill and reskill early talent within your organisation in a cost-effective way.

Many organisations find themselves in a state of significant change, with the digital-first nature of society and business meaning companies need be technically up to speed. Your company’s data is fast-becoming one of its most valuable assets and your people need the skills to confidently use and analyse it. The most effective and valuable way of driving data literacy within your organisation is via a tailored data apprenticeship scheme, explore our data programmes to find out more.

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