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Institute of Continuing Education (ICE)


New Career Accelerators co-designed by ICE, education company FourthRev and industry partners, will help adults meet the skills shortage for in-demand high-tech roles.

New Career Accelerators co-designed by ICE, education company FourthRev and industry partners, will help adults meet the skills shortage for in-demand high-tech roles.

Bridging a growing skills gap

As machine learning and artificial intelligence promise to revolutionise working practices, the UK is already experiencing a growing data skills crisis: 63% of companies investing in AI technology claim there’s a shortage of the skills they need. This problem will only grow as AI becomes more widely adopted and more powerful.

Working with leading industry and technology companies, such as the Bank of England and SAS, the first Career Accelerator aims to help bridge the skills gap by equipping learners with a sound understanding of data science principles and applications. It will also provide valuable commercial knowledge, project experience and interpersonal skills directly relevant to this fast-growing field.

The new programme will enable adults to develop their careers in data science and benefit from recent advances in technology. By emphasising a business-oriented mindset, the Career Accelerator ensures that taught skills build career resilience by matching them with real-world needs.

Dr James Gazzard, Director of Continuing Education at ICE, believes this cooperative approach is vital for employees and businesses to achieve their goals in a rapidly changing workplace: “We’re committed to helping adult learners from all backgrounds gain access to the digital economy. Our collaboration with FourthRev to develop Career Accelerators will play a key role in delivering on that mission.

“The current shortage of data skills calls for novel solutions to address industry’s challenges. Through this new programme, we aim to ensure that graduates are reflective and responsible thinkers, able to fully understand the challenges and opportunities that new technologies present with respect to ethics, security and society.”

Mark Lester, Chief Partnerships Officer at FourthRev, agrees there’s a need to find innovative ways of addressing the skills gap: “The world needs a new model of education for the digital age that harnesses the knowledge and critical thinking nurtured by leading universities and applies it to the messy business and human challenges encountered in industry. Many other programmes are either too theoretical or too skills-orientated, leaving employers short of talent to solve their challenges efficiently"

A supportive, future-ready programme

And Roderick Crawford, Senior VP for SAS Northern Europe – one of the businesses that co-developed the inaugural programme – believes the Career Accelerators could enable people to enjoy successful careers in an exciting, emerging field: “At SAS, we find this collaborative model a powerful way to help universities develop the next generation of professionals suited to the challenges faced by modern business.

“It’s vital that even best-in-class AI technology has some human oversight, so we will continue to need people with the skills to understand how it works and how to monitor and adapt its use.”

The Career Accelerator in Data Science will offer taught modules in critical, technical and business skills, all applied across applied projects co-designed with employers. Throughout the programme, learners will also access live masterclasses delivered by leading practitioners from both the University of Cambridge and industry, and create a portfolio of project work demonstrating their data science skills. They’ll also get support from a dedicated professional Career Coach and Success Manager to help them achieve their learning and career goals.

The first programme is due to launch in the first half of 2024.


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