Data Skills Workforce Development

Around six years ago, I started collaborating with folks at The Data Lab (TDL). One of the many things we did together is the now well-established MSc Placement Programme. At the time I started working on it, it wasn’t a thing. Universities had always done placements, sure – but something as large and complex as what we had planned – nope, that was new. That was big and scary and different!

One of the things that (I think!) made it successful was collaboration. I learned so much from the folks at TDL, Universities, public sector orgs, etc – folks I normally wouldn’t interface with in my “day to day”. Another thing that helped was the fact that me, a career recruiter, was propagating a message that suggested that there was more to a Talent Acquisition Strategy than picking up the phone to folks like me. We all had a part to play – #growyourown became our message – and I became used to signposting a wide variety of methods of nurturing future talent.

My logic was always simple – you don’t know what you don’t know. My job is to connect people. I will try to connect you with as many possible solutions to your Talent challenge as I can – and if none of them solve your problem then come back to me and we can have a commercial conversation. Give to get. Simple networking rules.

During this time, one of The Data Lab folks I collaborated with was Dan Montgomery. We did some events together, we were cool. Then, Dan moved on. He got a new gig at the recently established Bayes Centre and was doing some big-brain stuff.

Dan popped up on my radar again recently and we got to chatting and, as I realised what he did for a living these days, it brought me right back to where I was, all those years ago.

So, if you’ve read this far – the next bit’s where it gets exciting. You may have heard me talking in the past about the importance of cross-training and upskilling. If it’s difficult to hire the niche talent that your organisation requires (and, trust me, it’s difficult for everyone these days!) then make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure that anyone within your existing workforce with a propensity to learn “niche” skills (like Data Science) is given every opportunity to do so!

This is where Dan comes in, I'll let him take it from here.

“Maintaining an up-to-date skillset is a challenge faced by many. From individuals to organisations, the need to have relevant expertise is crucial for progress and growth - particularly in rapidly evolving areas like Data Science, Machine Learning and A.I.

“Upskilling and Continuous Professional Development (CPD) are great ways to develop a career further, to switch sectors and to realise new interests or passions. It can be a key to unlocking a more satisfying profession and a deeper understanding of new subjects. These types of courses can make an immediate difference to a career as the short courses focus on specific learnings & skills.

“The Data Skills Workforce Development programme, launched in 2020 by The Bayes Centre, was designed to help people build on their existing skills, by offering a suite of data centric courses. These courses have helped hundreds of people in Scotland and around the world to realise their potential through distance learning.

“Working with The Scottish Funding Council, The Bayes Centre is able provide fully funded places on these courses for people based in Scotland that meet funding criteria to help address the national skills gaps identified in reports such as the Logan Report. Additionally, there has been a concerted focus to help support the industries heavily impacted by Covid and people either at risk of redundancy or unemployed.

Professional Development can create real impacts in a short time frame both for individuals and businesses. The Bayes Centre has been working alongside several industry partners to ensure that the programme is addressing the needs of employers in Scotland and will continue to do so. The importance of communication between academic institutions and industry is highlighted by Upskilling and CPD.”

So, there it is. A world-renowned place of learning, based in the heart of what many are referring to as “the Data Capital of Europe”, is offering free training in Data-related topics for organisations with a presence in Scotland.

You would need to be some kind of crazy person to not investigate this further. What’s even better is that Dan is a good guy and he’ll help you navigate whatever channels you need to explore to access this. Drop him a line if you are interested in learning more: Email Dan.

Author Bio


As Director of Client Services for MBN Solutions, Rob has spent over two decades at the sharp end of Talent Acquisition practice for the Data sector. During this time, he has partnered with some of the UK’s leading data-driven businesses to deliver best-in-class talent solutions. In addition, working in an advisory capacity, Rob designed, built, and delivered the Data Lab’s MSc Placement Programme, has contributed to forums including Scotland’s AI Strategy and DMA Council and sits on University of Glasgow’s School of Maths & Stats Industrial Advisory Board. A regular data industry blogger and event host, Rob also now hosts a data leadership focussed podcast called Boss’n’Data and has been recognised by Data IQ as one of their 100 most influential Data and Analytics practitioners in UK organisations for two years running