NatWest has become the first UK bank to establish its own data academy, with plans to train up to 1,000 staff in its first year alone in how best to understand and harness data.
Open to all of the bank's 70,000 employees, the NatWest Data Academy will offer a wide range of training, courses and qualifications that will cover all levels of proficiency.
The company claims the move is central to both the bank's digital transformation and realising the full potential of a wide range of cutting edge technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The aim is to give staff the tools and training to serve customers better by offering more tailored, personalised products and services that best fit people's financial needs.
The bank's senior executive team, which includes chief executive Ross McEwan and chief financial officer Katie Murray, will also enrol in the academy and receive specialist data training.
Those enrolling in the academy will gain experience points and badges to chart their progress, whilst more advanced courses will be professionally accredited. Specific courses will cover data fundamentals, data science, data architecture & data engineering, decision science and data governance & ethics as well as performance insight.
The academy complements the data innovation research unit opened in November at the Bayes Centre in Edinburgh University which aims to stimulate ideas that will improve customer experience at the bank; and help establish a data-driven culture of innovation at NatWest.
NatWest director of data Frank Meere said: "This is another important step towards building a bank that gives our staff the tools to innovate and create services and products that our customers really value."
NatWest chief HR officer Helen Cook added: "Establishing a Data Academy is a core part of our wider commitment to build and invest in colleague capability. As the bank's digital transformation continues, it's important we give colleagues the technical and behavioural skills they need to grow their careers, and better serve our customers."