My career after completing a Data Science apprenticeship

Natasha Bance

I joined the Office for National Statistics as a Data Science Degree Apprentice in March 2019.

The Data Science Apprenticeship is a 3-year course, which is provided by Cardiff Metropolitan University. Apprentices study for a BSc in Applied Data Science one day a week, and spend the remainder of the time working on projects in the workplace. This enables them to develop their skills by applying the theory learned at university on real-world data.

I applied to the apprenticeship as it gave me the opportunity to work in a field that otherwise seemed inaccessible to me. I had never coded before and did not think I could begin a career in data without a degree. But through the formal teaching at the university and practical learning in the workplace, I have learnt how to apply different data science techniques, such as natural language processing and supervised and unsupervised machine learning, on a variety of datasets in a professional environment.

As well as the emphasis on learning and development, the experiences I have had as an apprentice has been invaluable for my career. The opportunity to work alongside data scientists and social researchers in different teams has not only enhanced my understanding of data and analysis, but has also helped build my confidence being part of a team in a professional workplace. My colleagues have always been available to answer any questions I had or take time to talk through a topic that was new or unfamiliar. Everyone I have worked with has always been genuinely interested in the apprenticeship and how data science can be used to:

  • answer important research questions
  • provide new insights
  • help solve real world problems

I currently work in Welsh Government as a Data Scientist, having completed the apprenticeship in July 2022. I am confident I would not be in the position I am now in my career had I followed a traditional degree route. I would encourage anyone considering an apprenticeship to go for it and apply. It is a brilliant opportunity and one that I am very grateful for!

Evie Brown
Natasha Bance
Evie Brown works as a data scientist in Welsh Government.