M&S launches world-first data science & AI apprenticeship scheme

M&S has launched an industry and world-first level seven data science and AI apprenticeship scheme.

The new program is the latest move by the popular retailer to digitally upskill its workforce to help put data at the heart of its decision making.

“Since 2018 we’ve been on an all-encompassing journey to transform our business and make M&S special again,” M&S head of enterprise data Suzanne Howse said in a blog post.

“Having moved on from the ‘fixing the basics’ stage of our transformation, we’re now shaping the future of M&S, which is what our exciting new level seven apprenticeship is all about.”

“In our quest to become a digital first retailer, we’ve been working hard to develop a digitally enabled culture where decisions are made based on data rather than just gut feel.

READ MORE: M&S to hire more tech employees as it seeks to gain more digital recognition

“We’ve already made great strides in this area – our investment in data literacy programmes has already helped upskill 280 colleagues and 500 of our senior leaders – but we’re not done yet.”

“Unlocking this additional and previously untapped value is what will catapult us to the next level and stay ahead of our competitors. To put this in perspective, most businesses would feel privileged to have one level seven graduate in their workforce; we will have 10 – which underlines just how serious we are about data here at M&S.”

“We’re acutely aware of the opportunity that lies within data science at M&S. If you look at the typical ‘Plan’, ‘Buy’, ‘Move’, ‘Sell’ retail value chain, the potential for data science spans from the beginning of the design process for products, through to improved buying and allocation and finally into how we operate our stores and interact with our customers, which includes our Sparks loyalty programme.”

“There is this idea within the tech community that we’re now at the cusp of a new technological revolution, and that in order to survive in this post-digital economy, businesses must ensure they invest in their ABCs: Artificial intelligence (AI), Big data, and the Cloud.”

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