Data Science and Data Visualisation Accelerator

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Updated: 22 July 2022

Call for mentors

There is still time to express your interest to be a mentor on the next cohorts of the data science, data visualisation and international Accelerator programmes.

If you want to be included as a mentor in the next cohorts starting in September 2022, please email data.science.mentoring@ons.gov.uk before 27 July 2022 for UK programmes and 19 August 2022 for the international programme.

Information on becoming a mentor can be found on the GOV.UK website and on our blog post where mentors and mentees have provided testimonials on their experiences as part of the programme


What is the Accelerator?

The Data Science Accelerator is a capability-building programme that gives analysts from across the public sector the opportunity to develop their data science or data visualisation skills.

Since 2015, the programme has supported more than 300 public sector analysts from over 100 organisations to build data science skills through a wide range of projects.

The Data Visualisation Accelerator programme runs alongside the Data Science Accelerator. It launched in June 2021 after an increasing demand for data visualisation mentoring.

Both programmes are delivered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus on behalf of the Government Data Science Partnership (GDSP).

Who can apply?

We accept applications from all UK public sector staff, including central and local government, currently in analytical roles, with an interest in developing data science and data visualisation skills.

You will work on a data science or data visualisation project of your choice for one day a week over a 12-week period. You will be supported by an experienced data science or data visualisation mentor, and you will have the opportunity to experiment with different data science techniques, visualisation techniques and open-source software.

How is the programme delivered?

The Accelerator is being delivered as a remote mentoring programme.

You will:

  • work on a data science or data visualisation project, chosen by you, over three months
  • commit to spending one day a week on your project, which forms your protected time (an important benefit of the programme)
  • be assigned a mentor with experience in data science or data visualisation for the duration of your project. You will agree your project schedule with them and benefit from peer support from other participants in your cohort
  • have the opportunity to experiment with different data science and data visualisation techniques and open-source software

We will provide help and guidance for effective remote mentoring and we will facilitate virtual networking across the Accelerator community.

Why should I apply?

As part of the Accelerator programmes you will

  • learn new skills
  • connect with peers
  • gain new career prospects
  • embed data science skills in your organisation

Kenneth Quan, a previous mentee from NHS Digital said:

“My project was to develop an API to provide journey information for patients who are likely to miss their hospital appointments. The programme helped me to learn new skills in R and web scraping whilst supporting my organisation’s business needs, and I am now using these skills for other projects at NHS Digital. I also had opportunities to talk to colleagues across the civil service and arm’s length bodies, and understand how they work with projects and technologies. The knowledge has given me new opportunities in the field of data science in the public sector.”

Anthony Foster from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said:

“I found the Accelerator hugely beneficial. I had a highly skilled mentor who helped me work through the project in logical steps, and suggested resources to explore when I needed to learn underpinning concepts. I enjoyed the protected on-time learning and applying that knowledge directly to the problem, rather than lecture style training. The accelerator is a highly practical approach to learning new skills, and the more effort I put in, the more benefit I got out. I’d highly recommend the programme to anyone that is passionate about analytics and is looking for a first step into understanding data science.”

Other participants have shared their Accelerator experiences on a previous blog post.

Successful applicants will have access to the ONS Learning Hub provided by the Analysis Function and the ONS Data Science Campus. They will be able to complete analytical and data science courses to support them with their project work.

How can I apply?

Visit the Data Science Accelerator programme page and complete either the Data Science Accelerator programme application form or the Data Visualisation Accelerator programme application form and send it to Data.Science.Accelerator@ons.gov.uk.

You’ll need:

  • a project proposal
  • an explanation of what you hope to gain from taking part in the Accelerator
  • a statement of support from your line manager, Head of Profession or equivalent

For more information, or to enquire about being a mentor for the programme, please contact Data.Science.Mentoring@ons.gov.uk.

Requirements

Your line manager and a senior manager (usually a Head of Profession or equivalent) must agree that:

  • your project tackles a current issue in your business area
  • you have access to the data you’ll need for your project
  • you can spend one day per week for three months working on your project

Some coding experience would be beneficial, however successful applicants will receive access to analytical and data science courses provided by the Analysis Function and the ONS Data Science Campus to support them with their project work.