Cambridge Spark Makes Data Driven Journalism a Reality

Today, Cambridge Spark launches a brand new, and industry first, Data-Driven Journalism Apprenticeship which will equip journalists with the data literacy and analysis skills they need to create insightful data-led content for TV, radio and online news and editorial.

17/12/21, LONDON: The new Data-Driven Journalism Apprenticeship from Cambridge Spark is a UK apprenticeship levy-funded programme, developed to help journalists create more impactful stories by working with data tools and techniques more effectively and confidently.

Developed in collaboration with Cardiff University School of Journalism and other industry sector experts, including the BBC, the apprenticeship programme empowers journalists to capitalise on the opportunities and value of data analysis and insights. Using the latest best practice and techniques, journalists will learn how they can be applied in the real-world to more effectively communicate with their readers and audiences.

“Cambridge Spark’s work with Cardiff University School of Journalism is bridging the data skills gap within Journalism", explains Cambridge Spark CEO and Founder, Dr. Raoul-Gabriel Urma. "By designing the world's first Data Driven Journalism Apprenticeship, journalists and related disciplines will be able to use data in powerful new ways to underpin their stories with data-driven insights.” 

Huw Davies from the BBC added; "it is my belief that the data-driven journalism apprenticeship is the only transformational training programme that any News Editor, Researcher, or Journalist should be considering to either develop their skills or their own organisations data journalism ability, for next decade. We will be working hand-in-hand with Cambridge Spark, Cardiff University and other UK News companies to ensure the scheme delivers industry leading data-driven journalism which can be published and aired as original and trusted news stories for our UK and global BBC audiences and users.”

The programme can be funded by the Level 3 Data Technician Apprenticeship Standard. It is the perfect starting point for journalists to learn how to make data add value to all forms of editorial content. The course delivers much needed competencies that address current data skills gaps within journalism as a discipline, with the programme available to news organisations large and small.

“We wanted to create a course that delivers the ability to work with data and accelerate careers in journalism", explains Dr. Raoul-Gabriel Urma. "The programme will transform how journalists can use data to communicate with their audiences, with the programme easily accessible to both small and large news companies".

Huw Davies, BBC, continues; "this specific apprenticeship demonstrates the power of collaboration between commercial training providers and higher education institutions who have in this instance demonstrated that by bridging Cambridge Sparks innovative training platform and subject matter experts in data analytics, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence complimented with world-class data journalism knowhow from one of the UKs highly recognised Journalism Schools; that apprenticeship training providers across the UK can not only adapt to employer needs, but also excel in developing impactful learning and development solutions such as this".

Over 13 months, the programme provides a best practice foundation of data literacy and analysis skills with apprentices spending 20% of the working week learning and applying new skills and knowledge.

Cambridge Spark expects more than 100 journalists from various news and media organisations to start the programme over the next 12 months. BBC Scheme Specialists are piloting and calibrating the training with up to 17 staff from across local, national and international UK-based BBC News, World Service and Monitoring teams, with view for a further 33 staff to commence training from February 2022 with rolling in-takes beyond that.

The online modules are accessible 24/7, with Cambridge Spark’s faculty of expert teachers, coaches and mentors on hand to provide guidance and advice, and a parallel industry expert speaker series running alongside.

On completion of the programme journalists will have the capability to find, derive and interpret data insights and apply analysis to real world context. They will be able to confidently build news and feature narratives around data. The skills and confidence gained in quantitative and qualitative data analysis will be invaluable, enabling journalists to leverage data driven tools including dashboards, Power BI and Excel.


Notes to editor: 

For more information, please contact Josie Jakub, Head of Marketing by email  or visit our website.

About Cambridge Spark:

Cambridge Spark is an education technology company that enables organisations to achieve their business goals by educating their workforce in Data Science; Artificial Intelligence. Cambridge Spark is the only specialist data science apprenticeship provider in the UK, offering a full-stack skills solution for data science at every level of an organisation; all powered by cutting-edge modular curriculum, expert-teaching and engaging learning technology; EDUKATE.AI®.

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