Cabinet Office
Printable version

Apply now: New programme to improve digital and data skills

Applications are now open for a data and digital training pilot for GGP members from underrepresented backgrounds.

We are pleased to announce that the Geospatial Commision is now inviting applications  from members of the Government Geography Profession (GGP) to its new digital and data skills training pilot. The new training scheme is open to up to 20 members of the GGP. The deadline for applications is 11.59 pm on Sunday 19th February.

We are inviting participants from underrepresented backgrounds, who have no or little coding and data analysis skills or experience to apply to join the programme. It is an exciting opportunity for you to develop ‘real world’ digital and data skills to use back in your workplace.

What will GGP members learn?

Funding will be provided by the Geospatial Commission with learners undertaking a new tailored course provided through the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus.

This new course will provide you with a foundation in using Python to improve your capability to work with location data. Research has shown that the most in demand skills in the geospatial community are digital and data related skills, and these are increasingly needed to support geographic expertise when working with location data in GIS and other software.

The course is aimed at beginners, and will start with an introduction to data ethics and data quality, followed by three days of “Introduction to Python” designed by ONS. Further training will consist of a mixture of more advanced in person and virtual training, along with guided self learning exercises for you to practise your skills.

This introduces data enthusiasts to concepts, tools and best practices in visual analytics as they examine and uncover hidden opportunities with data. Participants will learn to create multi-dimensional exploratory views of data.

The aim is to equip learners to think like data visualisation developers and data analysts, equipped with the knowledge and understanding of visual analytics principles, creating effective dashboards and visual analytics solutions using Python.

Participants who complete the training programme will be able to:

  • understand the wider context of using data, including ethics, licensing and the data lifecycle
  • apply Python to work with data
  • apply the principles for managing data
  • process data to make it ready for analysis
  • undertake analytical tasks using code
  • visualise data effectively
  • apply the tools and techniques to geospatial data
  • apply data science techniques in a policy making setting

The course is a mixture of formal training, work based guided learning exercises as well as self directed learning. The programme will conclude with an interactive “hackathon” to ensure learners are able to apply their newly acquired skills in a practical hands-on final session. Learners will be supported through their learning journey by ONS tutors and will have access to mentors.

Why are we running this pilot?

The growth in data in everyday use is well established and the UK needs more people with data and digital skills to make the most of this opportunity. Diversity has also been highlighted as a challenge in many areas, including geospatial roles. This programme aims to increase the digital and data capability of participants in their current roles, allowing them to take on more responsibility and progress their careers. This will create a better skilled public sector workforce and improve diversity in the wider geospatial and digital data skills ecosystem.

The Geospatial Commission has decided to run this as a pilot, to ensure the participants gain the expected skills and assess all the elements of the programme work well together. They will gather evidence on the benefits of the pilot and if the pilot proves successful, they will consider how to develop this programme to encourage other organisations to participate and include this as a development opportunity for their staff.

Am I eligible to apply?

You must be a member of the GGP from an underrepresented background, including underrepresentation of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and social mobility.

Along with the personal eligibility, due to the technical aspect of the programme, you will also need to have access to, or be able to download, specific software such as Slack and Python. To gain the most from the programme, you will also need to identify a ‘real world’ work based challenge that you will be able to work on throughout the course.

You must be available to attend all aspects of the programme. We anticipate the total participant commitment will be approximately 20 days over a nine month period, starting from March 2023. 15 of these training days will be conducted in work time, the remaining five days will be either practising new skills in your workplace through guided exercises or self directed learning. You must also have approval from your line manager before you submit the application.

How do I apply?

Please complete the application form, there are several parts to it:

  • a general information section about yourself
  • an underrepresentation eligibility section
  • a personal statement section which gives you the opportunity to share why you want to join the programme

The application window is open until 11:59 pm on Sunday 19th February. The programme will begin in late March.

If you are unable to access the application form please contact so we can provide you with an alternative.

Applicants must be a member of the GGP. If you are not currently a member you can join on the GGP members site The only requirements are that you work in the public sector e.g. civil servant, crown servant or public servant. They welcome people who are involved in analytical, scientific, policy and operational delivery roles.

If you or your line manager have any questions, or for more information about the pilot, please contact

Please see the ONS technical requirement document to check you have (or can get access to) the required software for the course. If you do not think access is possible, please contact us at the above email address. You may also wish to see the types of courses available through the ONS Data Science Campus.

Channel website:

Original article link:

Share this article

Latest News from
Cabinet Office