NatWest opens academy to teach staff the power of data

Bank tools up its employees with the data skills required to offer customised products for customers

NatWest bank has launched a £1m data academy to train its staff in understanding and using data.

Training will be open to all the bank’s 70,000 employees and this year it will give 1,000 of them the opportunity to receive training and qualifications.

The aim of the academy is to give NatWest staff the knowledge and tools they need to be able to offer more tailored products to customers.

NatWest chief executive Ross McEwan and CFO Katie Murray will be among those to enrol for training.  

Courses will include data fundamentals, data science, data architecture and data engineering, decision science, data governance and ethics, and performance insight.

Last November, the bank opened a data innovation research unit at the Bayes Centre at Edinburgh University. The aim of the unit is to come up with ideas that will improve customer experience at the bank, and help establish a data-driven culture of innovation, said NatWest.

“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,” said Frank Meere, director of data at NatWest.

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.

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NatWest’s HR head, Helen Cook, said: “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 identified the importance of staff being data-savvy. Last year, Marks and Spencer partnered with Decoded to create an academy that will teach the retailer’s employees about retail data. It will teach more than 1,000 employees about technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as help them become more data-literate.

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