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Laing O’Rourke launches academy to improve staff’s data skills

19 April 2021

Laing O’Rourke has invested in a data academy to improve its staff’s understanding and analysis of data.

Nearly 90 of its staff – from new talent to experienced professionals and drawn from a range of disciplines, including engineering, quantity surveying, design management to human capital, IT and finance – will gain skills through data apprenticeships delivered in partnership with education technology start-up Multiverse. They will have the opportunity to become data champions, learning skills from data visualisation to machine learning.

The 18-month programme also covers data science, including Python software  scripting and an introduction to machine learning.

The new skills will “drive greater efficiencies in shared functions and create repeatable and scalable processes, where data is used to create certainty and predictability in project delivery for clients”.

Amy Lindsay, chief data officer at Laing O’Rourke said: “The amount of data that will be flowing through our construction sites in years to come will be ever-growing with new technologies and sensors, drones, Internet of Things, computer vision, etc., with greater connectivity between actors – design partners, supply chain, local communities. The untapped potential is huge and the horizon for data analytics limitless.

“Investing in our people to diversify our skill sets and nurture new talent streams ahead of the curve is the best decision that we can make.”

Janina Akiva is a lead business analyst and current data apprentice at Laing O’Rourke; she said: “While on maternity leave, I was offered the opportunity to apply for the data academy programme upon my return and I felt privileged to be considered. I am an engineer by trade, and over the years my professional career has gravitated towards data-driven projects, developing systems and generating dashboards.

“While I had hands-on experience, I had never had any formal training in the data/business analyst world, and the opportunity that Multiverse presented was something I did not want to miss out on. The programme has already given me a far superior understanding of the foundations of data, which I am now able to apply to my projects and I am looking forward to learning more technical skills later in the course.”

Data academy apprentices benefit from one-to-one coaching with an industry expert and are supported by a community with events, socials, mentoring and leadership programmes designed to “exceed the best of the university experience”.

Janina added: “Considering we are in a pandemic, there are so many sessions easily and readily available and I have attended more events virtually than I would have been able to previously, due to work demands. I have already learnt so much, and I look forward to further development as the programme continues.”

The training will be delivered by Multiverse, a tech start-up focused on education and training through a professional apprenticeship model. The company announced the closing of a $44m Series B funding round earlier this year and has tripled the number of apprentices trained to 3,000 in the last 12 months.

Euan Blair, CEO and founder of Multiverse, said: “The fastest growing apprenticeships are in data, tech, and the jobs of the future. We’re incredibly excited to partner with Laing O’Rourke to deliver a data academy to their team based on intensive coaching and an applied learning experience. Data is at the heart of their operation and a vital part of the modern construction industry – this data academy will help the company embed these skills across their workforce and provide incredible opportunities for those looking to reskill.”