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30 Jun 2020

New courses help to plug skills gaps in data science and artificial intelligence

The University of Wolverhampton has successfully secured funding to develop a new range of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science courses to address a national skills shortage.

The initiative, which was recently launched with up to £24 million funding, is part of the #JoinYourAIFuture national recruitment campaign programme funded by the Office for Students. The Office for Students (OfS) is the independent regulator for higher education in England.

The OfS’s aim is to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers.

The University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering has committed to equipping students with the training, education and managerial soft skills required to meet the industry standards and code of practice in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science through a new Master’s degree.

The programme of study will allow students to choose modules to top up their skills as well as offering them the opportunity to complete paid internships.

Local partners Transport for West Midlands, City of Wolverhampton Council and The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust will support the programme by providing students with case studies based on real events and businesses will provide a cloud training environment to be modelled from real-world scenarios as well as offering placement opportunities.

Successful students will have flexible access to study and course content so they can fit their studies around their daily lives. Students will undertake paid work placements to help maximise their employment opportunities at the end of their course which could see them land roles as machine learning engineers, data scientists, research scientists or AI architects.

Professor Amar Aggoun, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University, said:

“Statistics from a Tech Nation and Royal Society report reveal women make up only 19% of the tech workforce and people from a BAME background represent just 4% of the UK tech industry.

“This new Master’s degree is on offer to applicants who are returning to work after a career break and looking to retrain in a new profession, under-represented groups in the AI and digital workforce and there will be scholarships available which will specifically target the female, black and disabled demographics.

“As the University of Opportunity, we were delighted to receive funding for this new course and we hope to help address the skills gap currently affecting the industry.”

The lack of diversity was highlighted in the government's AI Sector Deal which acknowledges that increasing diversity in the AI workforce is vital to ensure that everyone with the potential to participate has the opportunity to do so. For example, women represent 49 per cent of the workforce, but hold less than 19 per cent of all available technology jobs.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the conversion courses can book onto a University Zoom event which is being held on Thursday 30th July 2020. Book a place through the website.

For more information contact the Corporate Communications Team 01902 322736/518647 or out of office hours on 07973 335112 or email: comms@wlv.ac.uk.

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