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Data Lab bolsters business execs data course in time with Data Summit

Course focuses on the leadership skills needed to design, resource and implement a data strategy that will enable organisational change

Scotland’s The Data Lab has announced an updating and expansion of a data leaders education programme that it piloted in 2021 to coincide with its Data Summit conference in Edinburgh.

The course is aimed at company executives rather than data scientists or analysts. The Data Lab is a one of seven Scottish-government-backed  innovation centres, with a focus on data and artificial intelligence (AI).

Heather Thomson, head of skills at the organisation, said: “At The Data Lab, we focus on ensuring Scotland’s workforce has the tools it needs to succeed and grow the economy. Launching the data leaders course comes at a time when those running organisations of all sizes and sectors are focused on upskilling to support growth.

“Following the pilot programme in 2021, we have seen a huge rise in demand for data upskilling for leaders and other non-technical roles, which is why we refreshed and relaunched the programme. We have taken the valuable feedback from last year’s cohort to better meet the demands of today’s business leaders.”

The course reportedly focuses on the leadership skills needed to design, resource and implement a data strategy that will enable organisational change.

In a statement, the lab cited the experience of the course of Jamie Boyd, growth programme manager for Social Bite, a charity supporting people facing homelessness or barriers to employment.

He said: “The course was essential for me to expand my knowledge and vocabulary, gain the confidence to assess projects, and develop a strong data strategy for Social Bite to facilitate future growth. I’m now able to bring new data-based ideas to the Social Bite strategy, and demonstrate the impact they will have.

“Studying alongside different business leaders from various sectors was a great way to learn. The programme showed me that analysing data doesn’t need to be done by a data scientist – it can be incorporated successfully into any role.”

The four-month course is open for applications until 30 November and runs in February 2023. It comprises a mix of in-person and online sessions.

Brian Hills, CEO of The Data Lab, said in an interview with Computer Weekly: “We do a lot of executive educational leadership education because we believe that to unlock the potential of data, leaders need to have an awareness of what the value of it is, or could be to their organisations. So far, we have put 4,000 leaders through our training, online and in person.”

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