The 18-month course will cover IT and digital skills ranging from data visualisation to machine learning. The programme also covers data science, including the Python programming language.
The Data Academy programme has been developed for Laing O’Rourke by Multiverse, a private equity-backed training company set up by Euan Blair, son of former prime minister Tony Blair. Multiverse was previously called White Hat. It calls itself "a tech startup building an alternative to university".
The engineering and construction sector is awash with big data, Multiverse says, yet 96% of this data goes unused in the industry and 90% of data generated is unstructured.
Laing O’Rourke chief data officer Amy Lindsay said: “The amount of data that will be flowing through our construction sites in years to come will be ever growing with new technologies and sensors; drones, IoT, computer vision, etc.; with greater connectivity between actors – design partners, supply chain, local communities. The untapped potential is huge and the horizon for data analytics limitless. Investing in our people to diversify our skill sets and nurture new talent streams ahead of the curve is the best decision that we can make.”
Euan Blair, chief executive and founder of Multiverse, said: “The fastest growing apprenticeships are in data, tech, and the jobs of the future. We're incredibly excited to partner with Laing O'Rourke to deliver a Data Academy to their team based on intensive coaching and an applied learning experience. Data is at the heart of their operation and a vital part of the modern construction industry – this data academy will help the company embed these skills across their workforce and provide incredible opportunities for those looking to reskill.”
One of Laing O’Rourke’s data apprentice is Janina Akiva, lead business analyst. She said: “While on maternity leave, I was offered the opportunity to apply for the Data Academy programme upon my return and I felt privileged to be considered. I am an engineer by trade, and over the years my professional career has gravitated towards data driven projects, developing systems and generating dashboards. While I had hands-on experience I had never had any formal training in the data / business analyst world and the opportunity that Multiverse presented was something I did not want to miss out on. The programme has already given me a far superior understanding into the foundations of data which I am now able to apply to my projects and I am looking forward to learning more technical skills later in the course.”
She added: “Considering we are in a pandemic, there are so many sessions easily and readily available and I have attended more events virtually than I would have been able to previously, due to work demands. I have already learnt so much, and I look forward to further development as the programme continues.”