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Data Talent Scotland a Success

Tuesday, 29th March 2016
The Data Lab

The day came and went so quickly! After an intense 8 weeks of planning, we are glad to say it was all worth it and Data Talent Scotland was a success. Feedback form students, business, universities and data enthusiasts has been great and we are already looking forward to DTS 2017.

Hosted by The Data Lab, MBN Solutions and WeAreTheFuture, DTS was created to showcase Scotland’s data science potential. The event brought together over 450 data science enthusiasts, with more than half of attendees being MSc students in Data Science courses from around Scotland who were able to connect with employers and universities.

Highlighting Scotland’s exceptional data science ecosystem, the unique event gave the data scientists of the future the chance to hear from the UK’s leading data innovators, with speakers from organisations including Deloitte, RBS and TSB Bank as well as NHS Scotland, fast growing fashion start-up Mallzee, and health informatics pioneer Aridhia.

Workshops were also an attractive feature of the event, with a choice of six sessions, all very well attended, with topics ranging from soft skills and employability tips, to how data is being used to protect and improve the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s population.

Ahead of the event, The Data Lab carried out a student survey, which showed that lifestyle, job market and Scotland being their home country are the key factors contributing to why students wish to stay in Scotland after completing their studies. To help international students, representatives from Talent Scotland, part of Scottish Enterprise, were also on hand at Data Talent Scotland to provide international students with practical information about visas and immigration issues.

The study also showed that of the 91 students surveyed, only 7 per cent were motivated by salary, with the remainder attracted to roles that had an interesting data science challenge, a good work life balance, and support through training. Students also said they would like to have more contact with industry at technical events such as hackathons and collider events such as Data Talent Scotland to encourage integration between students and industry.

Data Talent Scotland was certainly a good first step for this, and we are already working on making DTS 2017 even better, and provide further opportunities for students and the data science community in general.

To continue with our efforts on creating awareness about the many and varied potential career routes in data science among school kids, DTS also hosted a group of secondary school pupils from Kinross High School.  Kevin Hodgson, the Mathematics teacher leading the group brought them hoping to motivate more of his students to study statistics by showing them the opportunities this can provide for their future.

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our young people to find out more about the vital role of statistics in the process of data management and analysis, and the diverse opportunities there are to develop skills and knowledge into an interesting long-term career path. I am hoping the event will help to bring mathematics and statistics to life and get our students enthused about studying these subjects to a higher level.”

After the event, Kevin mentioned the kids were chatting virtually all the way back to school on the bus about various aspects and it helped generate a greater realisation about what is out there. He also appreciated the opportunity to connect with a number of resources who are all keen either to host a visit or visit Kinross High School to help develop career and course choice advice for future year groups. In his words, attending DTS was “Very worthwhile, in fact the most worthwhile external school event I have attended”.

We also received very positive testimonials from some of the organisations exhibiting at the event:

“The Data Talent Scotland event was everything we were hoping it would be. A collider event where data science students, educational institutes and businesses could meet and discuss ways to collaborate. We met many potential partners in business and education as well as several strong candidates for roles at Eyecademy that will save us a considerable sum in recruitment fees. The Data Lab have become an essential partner in our long term strategy and we are really pleased to be part of what is fast becoming a unique centre of excellence here in Scotland.”Brian Rutherford, Director, Eyecademy

“Data Talent Scotland was a fantastic event and there was a great buzz and enthusiasm for all things data! As a public sector organisation this was a very valuable event for us as it we were able to speak to many graduates who are interested in working for us – far more than any other similar event we have attended in the past. Our workshop and discussions with future data scientists and graduates will help us transform how we use data to change patient healthcare for all of Scotland. Many thanks to Datalab for this event and we are really looking forward to next year!”Jonathan Cameron, Head of Service – Business Development, Public Health & Intelligence (PHI), NHS National Services Scotland

“We had a brilliant time at the event and met with many talented students and possible recruits. Finding new talent is really competitive in our sector so having the chance meet students and graduates face-to-face was incredibly valuable. The networking and presentations at the event showed just how close the data community in Scotland is and what it is capable of. Institutions like Data Lab and events like Data Talent Scotland are vital when trying to get the most out of data in Scotland. There is a great need for industry and academia to work together and events like Data Talent Scotland support that important step toward fostering more relationships and encouraging a wave of new talent into the industry.”Martina Pugliese, Data Scientist, Mallzee

To see more about what a great day Data Talent Scotland was, have a look at #DTS16 on Twitter

If you are interested in being part of Data Talent Scotland 2017, you can register your interest now by emailing skills@thedatalab.com

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