M&S unveils new digital data course for staff

Marks and Spencer has launched a new data apprenticeship as it continues to invest in building the digital and data capabilities of its staff.

It is the latest step M&S is taking to support its plans to “supercharge” online growth and create a digitally- and data-enabled culture, having relaunched Sparks as a digital-first loyalty programme in July, and announcing the formation of its new fully-integrated online, digital and data division MS2 in November.

So far, over 700 M&S staff across the organisation have benefited from specialist data training from M&S partner Decoded.

Open to everyone across the business, the new Data Technician course teaches the fundamentals of how to manipulate and scrutinise data, and how to translate it into valuable insights that the business can then act upon.

The first cohort started earlier this month and the next lot will begin in January, with a target for over 70 learners to enrol in the first 12 months.

The Data Technician course will sit alongside the more advanced Data Analyst Fellowship course, which so far has trained over 200 employees across the company, in skills such as R, Python, SQL and machine learning.

To house its data pathways, M&S has launched a platform called BEAM, which houses all the required programmes and tools its data practitioners require.

Jeremy Pee, chief digital and data officer at M&S, said: “We have 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.”

He 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.

“This new apprenticeship will give us a platform to go even bigger and engage even more colleagues through the power of data.”

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