Data Science Graduate Programme


Updated on 27 February 2024

We will be updating the website with more information on the 2024-2026 cohort in very near future.

We recently celebrated with our graduates at a games day out at the Amazon AWS building in London


Our Data Science Graduate Programme offers a unique opportunity to develop sought-after data science skills. It is aimed at talented individuals with a passion for data and enables individuals and organisations to build their skills and help shape the future of data science in the public sector.

If you are a potential candidate looking to apply or if you are an organisation participating in the programme, please navigate to the relevant section on this page to find out more information for candidates and information for organisations, including how to applyimportant dates for organisations and requirements for participation in the programme.

For current candidates in the programme, there’s more information available in the Graduate Programme handbook, including a training sessions calendar, curriculum overview and IT requirements.

Information for candidates

Why choose the Data Science Graduate Programme?

The Data Science Graduate Programme is an exciting opportunity to get highly valuable work experience and develop your data science skills through a two-year learning pathway. You will do this while working at the heart of data science in the public sector and contributing towards projects with real-world impact.

How to apply

If you work in a UK government or public sector organisation, your senior manager can bid for a place for you to take part in the Graduate Programme while in your current role. If you do not currently work in the UK public sector, we advertise available vacancies on Civil Service Jobs.

What will I do?

During the programme you will:

  • be trained in much-valued data science skills and techniques.
  • undertake project-based learning, with the opportunity to practice your newly developed skills
  • collaborate and network across government and the public sector.
  • receive professional development support
  • attend data science seminars and events, aligning your learning with the Data Science Competency Framework.
  • build a secure foundation for an exciting and rewarding career in public sector data science, where you can use your skills for the public good.

Testimonials from graduate data scientists

Hear from some of our graduate data scientists talking about their experiences as part of the Data Science Graduate Programme. We also have some case studies about our graduates’ experiences during the programme.

Programme structure

The first year of the programme consists of monthly training modules. The usual time commitment for a training module is three full working days, which may include attending online lectures and tutorials, working through independent learning or reading material. Between these learning sessions, you will be working on projects in your home organisation, where you will apply your learning within a project context.

During the second year of the programme, you will work on specific projects that utilise your learning from the first year. You will attend a series of seminars and events, such as hackathons, that encourage your data science skill development in line with the Data Science Competency Framework. The average time commitment at this stage is one day per month.

At the end of the programme, you will have acquired new, highly sought-after data science skills, forming a secure foundation for a future career in public sector data science.

Curriculum overview

The Graduate Programme curriculum provides a robust and exciting framework of learning materials designed to consolidate existing analytical skills. Our experienced lecturers work closely with graduate data scientists to continuously review and improve the content of our curriculum, ensuring our training materials are engaging, relevant and effective.

The aim is to provide you with a range of tools and experience in applying them, ensuring that you can make impartial, pragmatic analysis, using the most appropriate software or technique in working towards the given success criteria.

A full outline of the training modules is available in the Data Science Graduate Programme curriculum page.


We look for candidates who have a passion to work in data science, and who have some programming ability in R, Python or another data analysis relevant language.

You must have, or be expected to get, at least one of the following:

  • a 2:1 degree, or postgraduate qualification, in a discipline with numerical or statistical elements
  • equivalent wider experience

Information for organisations

Note: Please read and review the Information for candidates section for details about the Graduate Programme structure, curriculum, what we look for in a potential graduate and to see testimonials from previous graduates.

The Graduate Programme is available for UK government and public sector organisations. If you are interested in bringing the Graduate Programme to your organisation, you will need to bid for places.

Bidding for places for existing staff in your organisation is free of charge.

The ONS does not charge for the delivery of the programme and ongoing support to all participants.

Deadlines for bids for the 2023-2025 cohort

Bids for the 2023-2025 cohort are now closed.

31 March 2023Final deadline to bid for new graduate data scientists recruited via the cross-public sector recruitment campaign
31 May 2023Final deadline to bid for places to put forward existing staff for the programme

Cross-public sector recruitment campaign

If you have vacancies to be filled at HEO grade or similar, you can choose to join the cross-public sector recruitment campaign, led by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The benefits of this approach for your organisation are:

  • you won’t need to lead a recruitment campaign for your vacancies
  • you will have access to a much bigger pool of applicants
  • you will be part of a programme to build data science skills in the public sector
  • you will help to develop connections and grow the data science community

This joint recruitment campaign has been very successful in the past, attracting large numbers of high-calibre candidates. The administration for recruitment is handled by a centralised recruitment team and your organisation will only be asked to support sifting and interview panels.

Recruitment costs

For bringing new staff into your organisation via the Graduate Programme centralised recruitment campaign, the cost for the 2023-2025 cohort is £2000+VAT per place successfully allocated. Delivery of the programme and ongoing support to graduates throughout the two-year programme are free of charge. Costs are subject to change for subsequent cohorts.

How to bid for places

To bid for places, please email the Graduate Programme team including the following information:

  • how many places you want for existing staff
  • how many places you want for new graduates

For dates and deadlines, please refer to the deadlines for bids section.

Requirements for participation in the programme

Any organisation or department taking part in the Data Science Graduate Programme, will need to meet the IT capability requirements and have sufficient data science maturity to be able to support graduates as they progress through the curriculum.

Please contact the Graduate Programme team for details on these requirements and advice on how to select suitable staff to put forward for the programme.

Contact us

If you have any questions, our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page is a good place to start. You can also contact the Graduate Programme team, who will he happy to help with any issues or queries you may have.