Master’s in Data Analytics for Government guidance for managers

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Guidance for managers of the Master’s (MSc) in Data Analytics for Government (MDataGov) students
Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus
Advanced Collaborative Programmes

Created on 12 September 2023
Updated on 12 September 2023



This document is for managers of staff who are either prospective or current students of the Master’s (MSc) in Data Analytics for Government (MDataGov) and its variations. It also applies to managers of staff who have recently completed one of these courses.

Additionally, it includes a skills and knowledge log that we recommend using to plan how to apply what you learn and get the most out of the MDataGov programme.

If you can’t find the information you need here, please email the Advanced Collaborative Programmes team in the ONS Data Science Campus.

We wish you the very best in supporting and benefiting from your team member’s studies!

Why invest in the MDataGov for your staff?

The MDataGov is a postgraduate programme tailored for the public sector. We work closely with our university partners to regularly update the course content and the programme to meet sector needs.

Your staff can participate in the MDataGov programme in various ways, allowing them to study alongside their work and other commitments. The programme’s flexibility allows for tailored learning based on individual roles.

Our partner universities offer the MDataGov at a reduced cost for public sector employees, providing excellent value for money. This programme offers accredited learning from reputable UK universities at highly competitive rates.

Previous students and their managers have recognised the positive impact of the MDataGov study on building skills and confidence, which can benefit their wider organisation. In our student surveys, a supportive line manager is consistently identified as an important factor in completing the course and applying learning into the work.

Managing a prospective MDataGov student

Applying for an MDataGov course involves many considerations, such as balancing work and studies, finding funding and understanding the career benefits. Your staff will greatly benefit from your active support during this decision-making process.

These are some practical steps you can take to help support a prospective MDataGov student:

1. Match course with role

Work with the individual early on to ensure their chosen course aligns with their job responsibilities. Ask them to link the course learning outcomes with specific aspects of their current or upcoming work.

2. Identify learning needs

Check their personal development plan (PDP) for learning needs or skills gaps that the chosen course can address. Link the course learning outcomes to specific development to formalise their learning in the PDP.

3. Explore wider applications

Collaborate with the individual to consider how the skills and knowledge from MDataGov study could benefit the wider team and organisation. Ensure they commit to implementing and sharing their learning through activities like projects, mentoring, coaching, presentations and workshops.

Students should use these opportunities to show how they can use what they have learned in their work. The MDataGov learning materials remain the property of the university provider.

4. Establish funding and timescales

Help your member of staff find information on applying for funding to study. Establish contacts for this purpose, as internal processes can be difficult and time-consuming.

5. Support development of a business case

Offer support, when asked, if your staff member needs to submit a business case. This could mean involving you directly or guiding them to colleagues who can provide help, for example with templates or proofreading.

6. Allocate time for study

Set aside dedicated learning and development (L&D) time for their study. Agree on the amount of time and when it can be used. Encourage them to block this time in their calendar before the course starts.

Managing a current MDataGov student

1. Reinforce dedicated development time

Make sure you have already agreed with your staff member how much L&D time they have and when they will use it. They should have it blocked in their calendar before the course starts.

Sometimes work demands can interfere with these plans, so you may need to step in to ensure they get the full benefit of their allotted development time, which is essential for maximising the value of this course.

2. Identify opportunities to apply new skills

Encourage your staff member to apply their new skills at work to reinforce their learning. By reviewing the course timetable in advance, they can anticipate when they will be ready to use these new skills. If possible, identify workplace opportunities for them to apply these skills during the course, where they can refer any questions and seek guidance from their tutor, if needed.

Managing previous MDataGov students

When your staff member completes an MDataGov course, managers are encouraged to focus on enabling them to use their skills in their roles and share knowledge with the team. You can help them overcome obstacles, like finding projects and time, to keep benefiting your organisation from their MDataGov experience.

1. Encourage ongoing opportunities to apply new skills

Your staff member will benefit from continuing to apply their new skills in their role for an extended period. This also offers an opportunity for the wider team to learn by observing or collaborating, either through shadowing opportunities or collaborative work across departments in your organisation.

2. Foster continuous knowledge-sharing

Keep working with the individual to identify any new opportunities for applying their MDataGov skills and knowledge to benefit the wider team. Refer to any initial agreements about how they would share their learning, including through projects, mentoring, coaching, presentations or workshops.

Students should use these opportunities to show how they can use what they have learned in their work. The MDataGov learning materials remain the property of the university provider.

3. Help overcoming challenges

Based on our MDataGov student feedback, the main obstacles to implementing and sharing learning are a lack of suitable projects and time constraints.

This information can help you to support your staff to overcome these challenges and get the best return from their investment in this programme.

Any questions?

If you or your staff member can’t find information about a specific MDataGov course, reach out to the relevant university contact or the Advanced Collaborative Programmes team at the ONS Data Science Campus. We welcome enquiries and can provide guidance.

MDataGov skills and knowledge log

MDataGov skill or knowledgeCorresponding development needRelevance to job role: how will it be used?Benefit to wider team: how will it be shared?