#MBNSkills initiative places 70 Scottish university data students with employers

A Glasgow-based consultancy firm has completed the second year of an innovative placement scheme which links up data science students with employers.
Picture: GettyPicture: Getty
Picture: Getty

The #MBNSkills initiative, run by MBN Solutions, has successfully delivered The Data Lab’s keynote MSc. Placement Programme for 2018 having placed 70 MSc students from Scottish Universities in to Scottish Companies.

Working with a variety of organisations across Scotland to ensure the nation’s emerging Data Talent have the best possible start to their careers, Rob Huggins of MBN and his team spent the early part of 2018 on the road. From Aberdeen in the north, to Ayrshire in the south, Rob’s message focused on the importance of ‘Growing Your Own’ Data Talent. For leading public and private sector organisations this has resulted in the creation of more than 70 summer Industrial Placements for students studying data focused post-graduate courses at Scottish Universities.

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Joshua Ryan-Saha, Skills Manager for The Data Lab added “The Data Lab is delighted that by working with MBN Solutions over 70 Data Science Masters students have found paid-three-month placements with Scottish-based organisations. This is an invaluable experience for these students’ careers allowing them to apply their rare data skills to help solve real-world business problems in Scotland. This placements programme is making Scotland the go-to destination for data talent”

Roger Halliday, Chief Statistician and Data Officer at Scottish Government said ensuring ensuring a flow of high quality data talent was key to Scotland's future economy.

“We’re delighted to be taking on 5 people as part of their data science MSc this year. My ambition is to systematically improve Outcomes for people in Scotland with data: saving time, money and lives. Data Lab and MBN Solutions play an impressive role in ensuring we get high quality data scientists”.

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Prior to working with industry to identify and shape placement projects focusing on areas ranging from Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing, through to Predictive Analytics and Behavior Profiling, the MBN Academy team visited Universities to deliver a series of ‘employability sessions’ designed to equip students with the soft skills required to ensure and facilitate their effective transition into full-time employment.

Kieran Kyle an MSc. Student from the University of Strathclyde said “The information provided at the session was extremely helpful, not only for helping me find my placement, but also for carrying over into further job interviews. I managed to secure a placement with Standard Life, an incredible opportunity that I cannot thank Rob and the MBN team enough for, it is certainly something I would have imagined just a few years ago”.

This year’s Programme saw an increase in the number of students placed with industry. Up 63% from the programme’s first year, its success has seen organisations such as Scottish Government, Chevron, Aberdeen Standard, Clydesdale Bank, Sainsbury’s Bank, Scottish Enterprise and Wood MacKenzie work with MBN to offer students an opportunity to learn commercial data skills prior to their graduation later this year.

Mark Hunter, Chief Data Officer at Sainsbury’s Bank commented “Sainsbury’s Bank is delighted to be participating in this year’s MSc placement project. It is really important for the future of Scotland’s data industry that our students get exposure to ‘real-world’ data projects and hopefully this experience fuels their desire to bring their skills to bear in Scotland after graduating. MBN have expertly managed the process of marrying our projects with the students who’ll benefit the most from the experience”.

It is clear that the #MBNSkills initiative delivers promised results and meets the needs of students, academia and industry in a fashion hugely supportive of Scotland continuing its dominance and leadership of the data science sector.

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Robin Huggins, Director of the MBN Academy said “One of the most important aspects of the work we do within the Academy is ensuring that the amazing Data Talent our Universities produce is equipped to handle the kind of challenges that they will face when they transition into industry. By working in partnership with The Data Lab, we ensure that this emerging Scottish Data Talent has the necessary domain expertise required to deliver the continued growth of the industry. Without initiatives of this nature, and in an uncertain economic climate, we run the risk of our organisations not being able to recruit the high quality, in demand data expertise they need”.