M&S announces retail’s first data technician apprenticeship

Marks & Spencer will this week launch a new Data Technician course, aiming to make data training more accessible to staff.

Teaming up with Babington, the retailer will offer 70 colleagues the opportunity to enrol on the technician programme in the next 12 months of the programme.

The 18-month-long scheme will be open to everyone across the business, with apprentices taught how manipulate and scrutinise data, and how to translate it into valuable insights that the business can act upon.

READ MORE: M&S expands cashierless shopping to all 573 stores as it continues digital push

Against the backdrop of a surge in online retailing innovations due to lockdowns taking place across the world, M&S’s new course looks to support its plans to supercharge online growth and create a digitally and data enabled culture in its workforce.

So far over 700 colleagues across M&S have benefitted from specialist data training with Decoded, with the Data Technician course continuing alongside the more advanced Data Analyst Fellowship course.

To date, the Fellowship course has trained over 200 colleagues across M&S from their stores and support centres, in skills such as R, Python, SQL and machine learning.

“M&S has a rich data set – from Sparks to M&S.com to M&S Bank – and in order to thrive in a digital future, we need colleagues who can act upon this insight and put data at the heart of everything we do,” M&S chief digital and data officer Jeremy Pee said.

“With the relaunch of Sparks, the creation of our new data hub BEAM and the continued investment in colleague data literacy programmes, we are building the foundations to deliver a step-change in customer experience, and we’re already seeing the benefits a more data literate workforce can bring,” Pee added.

“This new apprenticeship will give us a new platform to go even bigger and engage even more colleagues through the power of data and we’re really excited about the difference it will make.”

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