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ONS supporting education and skills in Wales

Two important initiatives have highlighted the commitment of Office for National Statistics (ONS) to support education and develop skills in Wales.

Yesterday (Monday 19 November) ONS held its first graduation ceremony for its Data Analyst Apprentices, the first within the public sector in Wales. Also, last week ONS launched a brand-new guide aimed at helping Welsh Baccalaureate students and teachers to better understand statistics and research.

The graduation ceremony held at ONS headquarters in Newport saw eight Data Analyst Apprentices graduate in a ceremony attended by Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, and UK National Statistician John Pullinger. Each of the eight graduates have gained permanent positions within the Civil Service and have already achieved promotions.

Apprenticeships are a priority for ONS – in the last year, 55 apprentices started work at ONS in Wales. Also, ONS was recently recognised for its apprenticeship programme at the new Data Science Campus in Newport by being named as a finalist in the 2018 Welsh Government Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

The ONS Data Science Campus has been designed to work on some of the most exciting analytical and policy questions facing decision-makers and wider society, and to harness and mobilise the power of data.

UK National Statistician John Pullinger said: “Apprenticeships provide a real opportunity to shape how we hire, develop and retain our high-performing people. This graduation, the first Data Analyst Apprentices to graduate in Wales, is a fantastic way to celebrate the success of these pioneering apprenticeships at ONS, and I look forward to many more.”

Gareth Jones, aged 35 years, from Newport is one of yesterday’s graduates. After completing his A-levels, he started a degree in Financial Management, but found he was not suited to the university style of learning. He quit and joined the workforce, working as a manager in a national law firm. However, with a love of working with data, he was delighted to take up the two-year apprenticeship opportunity with ONS.

Gareth said: “When the Data Analytics Apprenticeship at ONS came up, I saw this as a real chance to change the direction of my career towards the type of work I enjoy and have a drive and passion to learn more in. I am delighted to graduate today and look forward to continuing my work at ONS as part of the Statistical Design and Research Division.”

Meanwhile, the ONS Guide to Social and Economic Research is a brand-new resource that has been produced to support the teaching of Advanced Level Welsh Baccalaureate, specifically the Advanced Independent Research Module. The guide has been designed to help teachers to support their students to complete the statistical and research elements contained within this module and has been produced in collaboration with local teachers and examination board WJEC. The resource contains comprehensive guidance on data collection, data analysis and data presentations.

Last week ONS hosted the first group of Welsh Baccalaureate teachers at an interactive training session in Newport. The session was based on the new guide. ONS hopes to run more of these sessions in the future, as well as in schools, to support students directly. Through this work, ONS hopes to raise its profile amongst the younger generation, as both an accessible resource and potential employer for the future.

Darren Morgan, Director of Economic Statistics Transformation at ONS said:

“We are very proud to be working with teachers and students across Wales to improve social and economic research as part of the Welsh Baccalaureate.

We look forward to providing additional support to both teachers and students to enable them to develop their analytical techniques that are so familiar to us at ONS.”


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