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The Data Lab Calls on Scots Firms to Sign Up to its Data Programme

David Paul

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The Data Lab
Companies looking to “access the benefits of data” are being invited to join to its Industrial Placement Programme.

Scottish innovation centre The Data Lab has called on organisations in Scotland looking to “realise the benefits of data” to become a partner in its Industrial Placement Programme.

The programme, now in its seventh year, matches one of 155 MSc students with a suitable organisation. Each student works with a company for eight-twelve weeks on a data project that will benefit the company.

In addition to gaining insight into the power of data, organisations can also benefit from continuous support from The Data Lab throughout the whole process, from conception to project delivery.

Students involved in the programme come from varied and diverse backgrounds with a range of skills and experience, the Data Lab said, with some moving into postgraduate training directly from their undergraduate degrees.

Others already have a significant number of years in the industry and are looking to enhance skillsets or refocus careers. Their skills developed during and prior to their masters can be applied to a range of sectors including health, social science, engineering and tourism.

Each student will be hand-matched with a company based on their skills and the project requirements.

Commenting on the call-out, Heather Thomson, Head of Skills at The Data Lab, said: “We’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback with 350+ placements taking place since the programme launched in 2015.

“Just under 200 organisations have participated from across the private, public and third sectors, with many returning to the programme year on year. On average, 25% of placements lead to more permanent or extended employment for the student.

“We regularly hear that our students have been incredible assets to their teams and have provided immense value to their data projects, going above and beyond what’s expected of them – in some cases, helping companies see the benefit of having someone with data expertise on their staff full-time.”

Thomson continued: “Data is a valuable resource for every single company in Scotland. This year we are encouraging organisations outside the technology sector to apply, particularly those who may only just be starting to understand how data can help them.”


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During the summer 2021 term, a total of 83 businesses from all sectors across Scotland participated in the programme, including 60 SMEs and startups who received funding from the Scottish Government to participate through a Covid recovery fund.

From this, many students have continued working with the businesses they were partnered with or have now used their experience as a launchpad towards permanent employment.

Stephen Gerrard, Information Management Programme Manager for programme participant NatureScot, added: “When we approached The Data Lab to be part of the Industrial Placement Programme, we had a specific problem to address, and felt there had to be something within AI that we could use.

“At the time AI was still very new to us, but the student that was matched with us came to us with a deeper, more current understanding of AI methods. He came up with a software tool that saved us time, money and solved our problem. It far exceeded our expectations.”

The Data Lab will launch the summer 2022 Masters Placement Programme with an online informational event on 1st December 2021. Any organisations with a presence in Scotland who are interested in hosting a student next year are invited to attend.

To learn more or sign your business up to the Industrial Placement Programme, visit: https://thedatalab.com/support-to-innovate/short-data-science-projects/


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David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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