The group business intelligence team at Royal Mail has built a diverse, high-performing and passionate team through a combination of in-house training, apprenticeships and innovative recruitment methods. Academic outreach and commercial partners have been combined to support both early career opportunities and reskilling.
An example of the pioneering approach being used was the 2018 hackathon run with charity partner, Missing People. By involving candidates in a technical data challenge around alive problem, the GBI team was able to see how they worked with the team - eight new analysts were recruited as a consequence.
A data science foundations course provides training around advanced concepts, with fortnightly lectures, self learning and exercises. Through partnerships with a range of universities, a regular seminar programme allows external speakers to showcase the latest research and applications. The team has 10% of its time allocated to training to allow for ongoing learning and development in this way.
Working with QA, GBI is offering a Level 4 data analyst apprenticeship from which the first cohort will emerge later in 2019 with new hires already having been made. This includes one apprentice who is returning to work having been a stay-at-home parent. There is also a plan to extend this to a Level 6 data science (BSc) degree apprenticeship and Royal Mail is part of the trailblazer group defining the standard for a Level 7 AI data specialist (MSc) degree apprenticeship.
The impact of the programme is clearly expressed by one team member: “A year ago, I did not think I would be at the level I am at now, and it is in a large part thanks to the support given by my team.”