How apprentices are helping to drive statistics in the pandemic

Many of the challenges caused by the pandemic are only answerable with robust and timely data. The Office for National Statistics has supported those taking on apprenticeships in areas like data science, analytics and economics throughout the pandemic to help equip the UK with these much-needed skills. As we celebrate National Apprenticeship Week Alex Lardner explains why apprenticeships are so valuable to the ONS and the country as a whole.

In 2020 we supported 67 people undertaking apprenticeships at the Office for National Statistics and saw 56 of our apprentices complete their training despite the challenges of the pandemic. We currently have 132 people undertaking an apprenticeship, with the most popular programmes being in Data Analytics, CIPD and Data Science.

We have continued to invest in apprenticeships not only because we recognise the support apprentices offer our teams, but because we know that these opportunities are incredibly valued by those looking to get a foot on the jobs ladder or looking for a new career direction.

Marking Apprenticeship Week

Throughout this week we will be sharing some of our current apprentices’ stories and hearing from members of staff about all the good apprentices do at the ONS.

These apprentices are working in areas including business support, data science, data analytics and economics. Chloe, an apprentice economist, told us her highlights included weekly Python coding puzzles and seeing her work contribute directly to statistical bulletins in her first few weeks.

Joel, currently in our data analytics stream, told us that studying for an accredited qualification while working was the most important thing to him and Hugh, a business administration apprentice, told us that being respected and supported in his personal development were key benefits of working for the ONS.

While most assume those taking on apprenticeships come directly from school or college, they can also be amazing development opportunities.

We have colleagues who are studying to consolidate their experience with a formal qualification and some simply studying to push their knowledge to the next level.

We wholeheartedly support all our staff taking on apprenticeships, as the increased knowledge and confidence they secure will only be an asset to the organisation as a whole.

Building a truly diverse workforce

As well as nurturing talent within the ONS we also directly recruit apprentices from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are school leavers at 16, others are using apprenticeships to take a new professional direction.

Their unique personal experiences and perspectives are helping us to build a diverse workforce that better understands data and the impact our work has on the nations that we serve.

We currently offer apprenticeship opportunities from Level 3 (A-level equivalent) as an entry route into our business for those who feel they have limited experience, all the way through to Level 6 (Degree level) in specialist areas, with a huge variety in between.

We look for people with great attitudes and a drive to do their best and develop. If reading this has made you think about taking on an apprenticeship at ONS, get in touch, you never know where it might take you!

Alex Lardner is Head of Early Talent at the ONS.