Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Decoded to create the world’s first Data Academy in retail

  • Over 1,000 M&S colleagues to be upskilled as part of the data skills initiative
  • Employees to enrol in ‘The Data Fellowship’ – a programme fully funded by the Government’s Apprenticeship Levy
  • Collaboration with a world class digital partner is part of M&S’ ambition to become a Digital First retailer

LONDON, 01-Aug-2018 — /EuropaWire/ — Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Decoded have partnered to create the world’s first Data Academy in retail. The launch of the new academy bolsters the ongoing transformation of M&S, which is seeking to place digital at the heart of its business.

The M&S Data Academy will take colleagues from every function of retail – from store managers and visual merchandisers to finance and buying – and create a new raft of data skilled leaders to lead digital transformation across the business.

The leadership team will embark on a Data Leadership programme, enabling them to get hands-on with technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to become the most data-literate leadership team in retail.

M&S colleagues will have the opportunity to enrol on The Data Fellowship, an 18 month in-work data science skills programme. Participants will learn to harness the most cutting-edge data analytics tools such as “R” and “Python” and adopt technologies such as machine learning. Learners will finish the programme with a Data Analytics qualification accredited by the British Computing Society.

The Data Fellowship is fully funded by the Apprenticeship Levy, the billion pound fund created by the Government to help upskill the UK workforce to be ready for the Future of Work.

Steve Rowe, Chief Executive said: “This is our biggest digital investment in our people to date and the creation of the M&S Data Academy will upskill colleagues and provide them with an in-depth level of digital literacy as well as a Data Analytics qualification. Transformation of our business is key to survival and a huge part of this lies with our colleagues. We need to change their digital behaviours, mindsets and our culture to make the business fit for the digital age and our partnership with Decoded will enable us to do this.”

Kathryn Parsons, Founder of Decoded: “We are proud to be working with one of the UK’s most iconic brands in retail and excited to be putting data literacy and skills in the hands of over 1,000 people. This is a pioneering and inspiring commitment to lifelong learning and future-facing skills. Every leader in business today should take note. Education is the answer to The Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

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For further information, please contact:

M&S Corporate Press Office: +44 (0)20 8718 1919

Notes to editors:

Making M&S Special 

In November 2017 Marks & Spencer set out a five year transformation programme for the business concentrating on Restoring the Basics, Shaping the Future and Making M&S Special.

Under this transformation programme, Making M&S Special, M&S has to date announced:

SOURCE: Marks and Spencer plc.


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