British clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Decoded has established a new retail data academy, M&S Data Academy.
The new initiative will upskill its employees and strengthen its ongoing digital transformation efforts across the business.
Under its Data Leadership programme, the company will provide training for its leadership team to help familiarise them with technology such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Employees from various domains, including store managers, visual merchandisers, finance and buying executives will undergo training.
The Data Fellowship in-work data science skills programme will also provide an opportunity to learn data analytics tools such as R and Python, as well as adopt technologies such as machine learning.
After completion of the programme, participants will receive a data analytics qualification accredited by the British Computing Society.
M&S chief executive Steve Rowe said: “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.”
The Data Fellowship is funded by Apprenticeship Levy, a government organisation established to help the UK workforce to increase their skills.