A new £50,000 funding pot has been announced to support training providers to deliver data skills courses to people across the Tay Cities region.

The scheme – administered by The Data Lab, Scotland’s innovation agency for data and artificial intelligence and the University of Edinburgh – seeks to help close the digital skills gap for people across the region.

The funding will help ‘workers adapt to the demands of increasingly digitalised, automated and data-driven workplaces’, and follows the upskilling of more than 500 learners in Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

Funded by the Scottish Government, the partnership between The Data Lab and the Tay Cities Digital Skills Project aims to address the digital skills gap, support diversity and prepare participants for the changing world of work through its small grants scheme.

The maximum grant is £10,000 per course for a minimum of 20 learners and the minimum is £5,000 for a minimum of 10 learners. It is stipulated that ‘training must be free at the point of access to those learners’.

The course can be delivered in person, fully online, or as blended learning. Timing should be flexible and suitable for people who are in work or are returning to work, according to the scheme providers.

Since November 2020, the Data Lab’s Data Skills for Work Programme has supported delivery of training in coding, data analytics, data visualisation and more to over 500 learners.

Successful providers have included tech innovators; CodeClan, Code Division, the Institute of Data and Marketing, the University of Dundee, and Jumping Rivers. 

Colleges, universities and other training providers in Dundee, Angus, North East Fife and Perth & Kinross are invited to apply for up to £10,000 of funding to deliver courses, for up to 20 participants. 

As the data courses aim to help improve the equality and diversity in the tech sector, the courses will be available free of charge for learners who earn less than £24,000 per year, are not already in training and belong to one of the following groups:

  • Women
  • People with a disability 
  • People from a minority ethnic background
  • Neurodivergent individuals

Training providers can apply online here for a share of the funding. Applications close at 5pm on Friday 28 April.

Anna Ashton Scott, programme manager for professional development at The Data Lab, said: “We are calling on providers who can offer training in crucial data skills and capabilities, including data analytics, data ethics and governance, coding, Artificial Intelligence, machine learning skills and data engineering. 

“We are also particularly interested in proposals that align with priority industry sectors for the region, which include engineering, manufacturing, tourism, food and drink.” 

Gordon Mole, head of business and employability, Fife Council who are the lead for the Tay Cities Digital SkillsProject added: “Data skills are essential for everyone’s job now. This proposal gives training providers in the Tay Cities region the opportunity to deliver new skills to residents, helping them thrive and prosper as we look to the future of work.” 

Alison Muckersie, programme director for data-driven innovation skills gateway at the University of Edinburgh, said: “We are delighted to be extending our successful programme to work alongside the Tay Cities team. By sharing the learnings across city region deal partnerships, we ensure the efficient and effective use of resources and help accelerate the implementation of successful programmes tested at a regional level but with the potential for national impact.”