School of Mathematical Sciences

Level 6 Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship

Students in a lesson

The Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship represents a true partnership between academia and business. The programme’s content and delivery is informed by industry to address real-world challenges and knowledge gaps – and prepares apprentices to confidently work with different types of data, formats and models from a variety of sources.

Thanks to our cross-sector collaboration with employers, we have designed a programme that will enable businesses to meet the large-scale data analysis opportunities and challenges in their workplaces – today, tomorrow and in the future.  

 
 
 
Fact file
Qualification BSc (Hons) Data Science
Duration 42 months including 6 months EPA period
Delivery

Blended learning; combines remote online learning and face to face block release workshops delivered in Nottingham.

Entry requirements

Grade 5 in GCSE Mathematics or equivalent, Grade 4 in GCSE English Language or equivalent (prior to admission)

with

BBB-BBC at A-Level, with B in Maths. We will not accept A-Levels Citizenship Skills, General Studies, and Critical Thinking.

or

Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeship at Merit or Distinction

Apprentices who do not provide a suitable Level 2 English certificate, and do not hold an appropriate English language equivalent qualification from this list, will also need to provide an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) result that is dated within the last two years. The minimum requirement for this programme is an overall score of 6.5, with no less than a 6.0 in each of the individual elements. The university’s policy around this can be found here

Other

Apprenticeship eligibility

Apprentices must:

  • be working in a job role that provides opportunities to apply and develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours from the programme, outlined in the Level 6 Data Scientist Apprenticeship Standard.
  • work a minimum of 50% of their time in England.
  • have access to a minimum of 20% off the job training.
  • be a UK/EU/EEA national or have lived and have had a right to work in the UK for 3 years or more.
Application deadline 18 July 2022
Start date September 2022
Cost £19,000
School Faculty of Science

 

Apprenticeship overview

The development of automated systems and data gathering has meant that ‘big data’ and data sets are now the norm in many areas of industry, including the sciences, finance, retail, the digital economy and social media.

Designed in partnership with employers, our Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship is a work-based programme that trains apprentices to understand and manage large data sets within their own organisations.

Apprentices will learn and apply specific data analysis techniques along with data science problem-solving skills, such as statistics, mathematical modelling, algorithm design and computer programming.  This is complemented by key business skills, such as presentation and communication skills, team working and organising workloads.

Throughout the programme, apprentices are encouraged to look for opportunities, data and business questions within their organisation to apply the techniques learned. It enables apprentices to bring their real working life into projects, which contextualises the learning and makes it even more meaningful. 

Who is the Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship for?

The programme caters for early career data scientists, from school or college leavers to existing employees stepping into a data science role for the first time. 

By working in partnership with industry, the programme will enable apprentices to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to succeed in Data Scientist roles.

Apprentices must be employed in a job role that provides opportunities to learn and apply the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the Level 6 Data Scientist Apprenticeship Standard.

Programme details

Programme breakdown

The programme – with its separate teaching and assessment blocks – is designed to give apprentices the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the learning and demonstrate their knowledge, skills and behavioural competence in their workplace. 

Year one - build foundations for the data scientist role

Teaching blocks

Foundations in Maths for Data Science

This block provides apprentices with the mathematical skills, confidence and competence in a range of fundamental elementary mathematical techniques. It also provides a basis for the advanced mathematical methods used to study and analyse data science problems.

Candidates who can evidence an A in A-level Maths may be exempt from this module.

Foundations in Software Development

This teaching block will introduce the basics of software development to learners with little or no previous experience. It covers basic principles of coding and will give apprentices the technical skills to break down simple problems and produce solutions using software.

The focus will be on software that processes data and applies mathematical and data science techniques.

Candidates who evidence strong previous work experience in software development may be exempt from this module.

Introduction to Probability and Statistics

This block introduces apprentices to probability, probabilistic reasoning and statistical inference. It will provide a good grounding in practical data analysis, and enable apprentices to use a computer package to apply the learned principles and methods.

Apprentices will gain the knowledge and skills of relevance to a professional statistician.

Further Maths Methods for Data Science

The skills learnt in this module will be applied throughout the rest of the programme in order to model data science problems within an organisation.

Apprentices will consolidate core mathematical topics in the differential and integral calculus of a function of single variable. The module will extend basic theory to more advanced topics in the calculus of several variables to model real world scenarios that are multi-dimensional.

Introduction to Software Development for Data Science

This learning builds on the basic principles of programming and algorithms and addresses some of the key concepts the apprentice will need to successfully manage and analyse data.

Using real-world datasets, standard software packages and data visualisation techniques, apprentices will learn how to organise and analyse data to answer questions about the world, as well as develop an appreciation of user needs surrounding data systems. 

Assessment blocks

Software Portfolio Assessment

This assessment covers a progressive series of data science problems that require learners to implement software solutions. It gives apprentices the opportunity to draw on the teaching and formative activities to demonstrate their knowledge and develop their data science solutions skills.

Fundamental Skills Assessment

This assessment addresses all KSBs across the curriculum to identify evidence of apprentices’ learning from their first year on programme. It will assess their ability to analyse and reflect on their learning, to recognise and evaluate their own progress, and to present evidence of their achievement relevant to their employer demands.

Data Analysis Portfolio

This assessment will develop the apprentices’ probabilistic reasoning and skills in collecting, analysing and organising data and information using relative statistical techniques.

The portfolio assessments across this programme provide an opportunity for apprentices to understand how to start structuring a portfolio of evidence to demonstrates the acquisition and application of knowledge, skills and behaviours in line with the apprenticeship standard. 

Synoptic Data Science Assessment 1

This assessment will help learners remember consolidated knowledge from their first year of learning.

Questions for this assessment may require learners to draw from their on-the-job experience as well as the academic programme.

The assessment will include a reflective piece on the learner’s progress towards the KSBs to demonstrate their approach to their own professional development, and to foster an ongoing positive attitude to their development beyond their apprenticeship journey.
 
Year two - increase depth by learning and applying more advanced techniques

Teaching blocks

Statistical Models and Methods

Apprentices will be introduced to a wide range of statistical concepts and methods fundamental to applying statistics in data science. The module will also cover key concepts and theory of linear models, illustrating their application via practical examples drawn from real-life situations.

Apprentices will acquire the knowledge and skills relevant to a data scientist.

Probability Models and Time Series

The ideas of probability introduced in the first year are extended in this teaching block to include continuous random variables.

Apprentices will learn stochastic processes, and time series analysis, and there will be a particular focus on discrete-time Markov chains and forecasting methods that are fundamental to the wider study of techniques required to analyse probabilistic and statistical models to understand business processes. 

Databases

This block gives apprentices a broad overview of the concepts, practical skills and applications of databases, including core ideas of what a database is, how to design a high-quality data model, and how to insert, modify, process and extract information. Apprentices will be introduced to SQL, as well as alternative models such as NoSQL  databases. 

Responsible Decision Making

This block will introduce apprentices to the principles of ethical data-driven development of decision-making tools. It will cover topics such as data security and governance, privacy and data protection, ethics of AI, creating trustworthy algorithms based on fairness and diversity, as well as legal frameworks, codes of ethics and professional responsibility.

Apprentices will need to investigate and understand specific legal and governance issues relevant to their role, pulling from, working with and enhancing their on-the-job knowledge and experience.

Visualisation Techniques

This block provides apprentices with an understanding of data visualisation concepts, terminology, methods, and its importance in data processing. It enhances human perception and cognition to make sense of data in a way that effectively communicates conclusions drawn from the data to a wider audience.

The learning will cover the challenges associated with visualising large, ambiguous or time-based datasets, to the psychological theories that help explain how humans process information and the relevance to the design of effective visualisations.

Apprentices will be encouraged to use visualisation tools used within their organisation to present findings in their role.

AI and Machine Learning

This block introduces a range of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques.  The module will cover the history of AI and topics such as local search techniques, evolutionary algorithms, neural networks and deep learning.

It will prepare learners for further independent work on selecting appropriate techniques and developing their understanding and application of AI and ML to solve practical problems in data science

Team Working Skills

The aim of this block is to enable apprentices to understand the basics of running an agile software development team, and how to apply this knowledge and skills in their academic software projects and in the workplace. This will be delivered alongside the second year group project, and includes 121 support via the apprentice’s Personal Tutor.

Assessment blocks

Data Science Group Project

This project enables apprentices to tackle a significant data science problem/s and follow the full data science pipeline.

Apprentices will work in groups of 3-6 people over the course of the module, supported by an academic supervisor. They will be required to identify and develop a computer application that relates to the work context and involves the use of programming and AI for a data science application.  At the end of the project, they will deliver a written report, and demonstrate the software as part of a face-to-face project presentation/wrap-up session. 

Statistics and Probability Modelling

In this assessment, apprentices will demonstrate their knowledge and skills associated with probabilistic and statistical modelling by conducting applied statistical research and forecasting methods.

Apprentices will be encouraged to relate their outputs to areas of data science applicable to their current jobs.

Applied Machine Learning

This assessment block provides apprentices with the opportunity to apply AI and Machine learning to data science problems. It includes three coursework elements of increasing complexity.

Apprentices will be encouraged to look for opportunities, data or business questions within their organisation to apply the techniques learned.

Synoptic Data Science Assessment 2

This assessment is intended to help learners remember consolidated knowledge from their second year of learning. It will be delivered in two parts through a multiple-choice knowledge test and an open paper which poses higher level questions to data science learners.

The paper will include a reflective piece on the learner’s progress towards the KSBs, enable them to demonstrate their approach to their own professional development, and to foster an ongoing positive attitude to their development beyond their apprenticeship journey.
 
Year three - become a professional data scientist through consolidation and scaling up of learning

Teaching blocks

Scaling Up Data Science

This block aims to introduce apprentices to the concepts needed to deliver data science projects at scale, tackling problems which cannot be solved on a single computer. Apprentices will understand how to do this from a practical point of view as well as understanding the limitations of such approaches.

It will introduce Big Data and the main principles behind distributed/parallel systems with data intensive applications, as well as how to identify the key challenges to capture, store, search, analyse and visualise the data.

The learning will cover Big Data frameworks and how to deal with big data using a range of models and technologies, such as the MapReduce programming model, Hadoop ecosystem, and Apache Spark. Apprentices will also dive into data mining and machine learning, including data preprocessing approaches (to obtain quality data), distributed machine learning algorithms and data stream algorithms.

Project Support Module

This teaching block provides apprentices with an opportunity to develop independent planning and research abilities. It enables them to synthesise and further develop their project planning and writing skills gained in the programme.

Content will be supported through online workshops and individual supervision tutorials. Group online sessions will provide opportunities to assess progress and share ideas in a team environment.

Becoming a Professional Data Scientist

This teaching block is designed to help apprentices prepare for work as a professional data scientist.

By introducing apprentices to relevant literature and professional networks, the aim is to enable them to prepare for further study, research and lifelong learning opportunities as they progress their career. They will build a portfolio of projects representing the development of their individual knowledge, skills and behaviours as well as reflecting and adapting their current CV to identify gaps and plan personal development targets for successful ongoing achievement. 

This portfolio will be necessary for learners to proceed through the Gateway and will be used as a basis for the professional discussion part of the end-point assessment.

Big Data and Cloud Project

This assessment will allow apprentices to learn how to build distributed big-data solutions. Over the module, apprentices will face progressively more difficult assessments, enabling them to consolidate their learning, build their skills and demonstrate their creativity in implementing solutions.

Where possible, apprentices are encouraged to use relevant projects from their workplace that require the use of high performance computing and techniques to address Big Data problems.

Assessment block

Work based project

The final year project must be completed before the Gateway Review.  The project must be based on a significant workplace data science problem which will be scoped out and agreed between the employer and the University. 

Final six months       

End-Point Assessment (EPA) period

Gateway

To pass the Gateway Review and progress to the end point assessment, the apprentice must meet the following criteria:

  • Meet all the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprenticeship standard
  • Pass all the preceding degree/apprenticeship modules (300 credits)
  • Complete a work-based project to inform their report
  • Complete a portfolio as specified within the end-point assessment plan.

Employers must also be satisfied that the apprentice is consistently working at or above the level set out in the occupational standard. All criteria will need to be demonstrated to the end-point assessment organisation.

End Point Assessment

The end point assessment (EPA) must be completed with a 6-month period after the Gateway. It is made up of a multiple-choice knowledge test, a report on a work-based project, and a professional discussion based on the Apprentice’s portfolio of evidence.
 


Features of the Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship

Initial needs assessment

As part of the application and enrolment process, we will carry out an initial needs assessment with the apprentice and their employer. This will enable us to determine existing levels of skill and knowledge and build a personal plan for each apprentice that will set out all the learning, tutorial support, and resources provided by the University.

Candidates who can evidence an A in A-level maths may be exempt from the Foundations in Maths for Data Science module. While those who evidence strong previous work experience in software development may be exempt from the Foundations in Software Development module.

 

Off-the-job training 

During the degree apprenticeship programme, apprentices need to spend a minimum of 20% of their contracted hours on off-the-job activities that directly relate to their learning. Employers need to support their apprentices in accessing this time and to ensure that it is not captured as part of their usual work.

Off-the-job learning comprises development and learning activities, including face-to-face teaching, workshops, self-directed study and assessment preparation. As part of this off-the-job training, apprentices can undertake projects within the organisation which aren’t part of their normal role but deliver real-time benefits back into the organisation.

To find out more about off-the-job training and how to factor it into the working week, please speak to our employer engagement team.

 
On-the-job learning

On-the-job learning encourages apprentices to apply learned techniques to opportunities, data and business questions within their organisation. 

Employers can actively work with the University to identify work-based projects through:

  • Involvement in the candidate’s initial needs assessment
  • Employer induction
  • On programme tripartite reviews

Examples of on-the-job hours include using taught tools and techniques to progress work-based projects. This is a requirement for individual assessments.

 
Assessment

The programme is evaluated by a range of methods such as individual assignments, work-based projects, coursework, formal exams and group work. We also carry out synoptic assessments to allow a holistic view of the off-the-job training and how this is applied in the workplace.

Where applicable, apprentices are encouraged to work on real problems from their place of work.

The apprentice will undertake an end-point assessment (EPA) to complete the apprenticeship and degree awards.

 

Tripartite reviews

To support each apprentice and the apprenticeship programme, we carry out termly tripartite reviews between the employer, apprentice and the University. The aim is to formally assess progress in the academic programme and support the apprentices’ work-based projects and learning. 

 
Support team

Each of our degree apprenticeship programmes include full support for the apprentice and the employer. We provide:

  • an account manager to look after the employer relationship
  • a degree apprenticeship officer to support each apprentice throughout the end-to-end programme
  • an assigned academic tutor for the apprentice
 


Why choose a degree apprenticeship?

We have worked closely with industry to ensure the Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship enables employers to directly tackle industry and business skills gaps.

The route offers a strong recruitment and retention incentive. By investing in your people’s skills, you demonstrate a real commitment to their development, which boosts morale, nurtures talent and, in turn, reduces the churn rate in data science roles.

The programme will enable your organisation to:

  • Use data to inform strategic and operational decision-making
  • Identify and address data biases, and handle private data ethically and appropriately
  • Use insights to inform and achieve organisational goals
  • Find significant and valuable patterns in data and transform this into information for your organisation
  • Implement robust and valuable data solutions.

For the apprentice, there are many benefits to choosing this route:

  • There are no tuition fees
  • You can earn while you learn
  • You will be developing practical skills and formalising your knowledge and qualifications in a rapidly expanding specialism. 

Why choose the University of Nottingham?

The University of Nottingham is a pioneering university providing an exceptional research-led education and an outstanding student experience for its 45,000 students.

Built on the ethos that education can unlock potential and transform lives, our graduates are among the most sought-after in the UK, consistently targeted by leading graduate employers.

By working in partnership with us, we can equip your apprentices with the core knowledge, skills and behaviours your industry needs to compete and succeed at the highest level.

Support your strategic priorities

We work with local, regional and national businesses to understand strategic priorities and challenges. We develop specialist programmes that address industry skills gaps in a cost-effective way.

Increase productivity

Develop knowledge, skills and professional behaviours in your workplace with programmes that are backed by world-leading research. We are ranked eighth in the UK for research power with 97% of our research recognised internationally (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Attract and retain talent

Ranked 103 in the world (18 in the UK) out of more than 1,000 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2022 and part of the Russell Group, we give you the opportunity to attract, develop and retain exceptional talent, whether new recruits or your existing workforce. Our apprenticeships offer exceptional early and mid-career employees the prospect of a world-class degree without the debt.

Build networks

Give apprentices the opportunity to develop their networks by studying alongside apprentices from other leading UK businesses, and by joining the University of Nottingham alumni network.

We have over 270,000 alumni in 190 countries, many of whom hold positions of influence all over the world. Our staff and students benefit from continuous investment in a world-class environment, which includes award-winning campuses and unrivalled facilities in both the UK and Asia.

Faculty of Science

The Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship has been developed by the School of Mathematical Sciences and School of Computer Science, within the Faculty of Science.

The Faculty of Science has 1,500 postgraduate students and 88% of our research was graded as world-leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.

The Schools were ranked in the top 10 in the UK by research power in the latest Research Excellence Framework 2014 and have relationships with industry partners including IBM, Microsoft, Google, BT, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Unilever and Public Health England.

Careers and professional development

After successfully completing the degree apprenticeship programme, the apprentice will have developed the knowledge, skills and behaviours to work in industry as a Data Scientist. Their role within their specialist discipline could be:

  • Data Architect
  • Data Engineer
  • Analyst
  • Technology Professional
  • Data Scientist
  • Data Engineer

Once qualified, the apprentice can work in a wide range of organisations that produce and analyse large amounts of data, including finance, healthcare, retail, and manufacturing.

Information for employers 

Cost

The cost for the Apprenticeship for 2022 entry is £19,000.

Apprentices do not pay programme fees. The programme fees are paid for by the employer and there are funding options available. 

Are you eligible for funding?

Funding eligibility depends on the number of people you employ, your company’s annual payroll and the age of the learner. 

If you have a wage bill above £3 million, you can use your Apprenticeship Levy contributions to pay for the cost of the tuition fees. If you do not have sufficient levy payments to cover the full cost of tuition fees, you may be eligible for 95% government funding to cover the shortfall.

If you have a wage bill under £3 million, you can still access this programme for your employees. You may be eligible for 95% government co-investment. 

To find out more about the funding options available, and your eligibility, please get in touch with our Employer Engagement Team. 

Apprentice wages

As an employee, apprentices are entitled to a wage and paid time off to study. You will not have to pay Class 1 National Insurance for apprentices under the age of 25.

Find out more

For more information about this programme, please contact our dedicated Employer Engagement Team.

School of Mathematical Sciences

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

For all enquiries please visit:
www.nottingham.ac.uk/enquire