Marks and Spencer unveils major digital transformation push for its workers

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Marks and Spencer employees will soon have the opportunity to study data science with the launch of the world's first data academy in retail.

The retailer has partnered with Decoded to create the M&S Data Academy which will allow employees from every department to learn new skills that promote digital transformation across the organisation.

Employees will be able to enrol in an 18-month data science skills programme that will teach them how to adopt emerging technologies like machine learning and how to harness cutting-edge data analytics tools such as “R” and “Python”.

Those who complete the programme will receive a Data Analytics qualification accredited by the British Computing Society. M&S views its data academy as a way for it to survive on the high street while competing against tech giants such as Amazon and Ocado.

Marks and Spencer Chief Executive Steve Rowe explained why the retailer decided to create its own data science programme for its employees in a statement, saying:

“This is our biggest digital investment in our people to date and the creation of the M&S Data Academy will upskill colleagues and provide them with an in-depth level of digital literacy as well as a Data Analytics qualification. Transformation of our business is key to survival and a huge part of this lies with our colleagues. We need to change their digital behaviours, mindsets and our culture to make the business fit for the digital age and our partnership with Decoded will enable us to do this.” 

If the retailers data academy is successful we may likely see other businesses follow suit by offering their own digital skills training programmes in the future.

Image Credit: Marks & Spencer