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Universities launch new initiative aimed at training 100,000 people in data skills

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Universities launch new initiative aimed at training 100,000 people in data skills

Two Scottish universities have launched a new initiative aimed at training 100,000 people in data skills, through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

With Scotland forecast to require around 13,000 extra workers each year with data skills, the £661m Data-Driven Innovation initiative, launched by Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities, will aim to transform Edinburgh and the surrounding area into the ‘data capital of Europe’.

The £1.3bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal was announced by the Scottish and UK governments in August, including plans for increased investment in transport, housing, culture and skills and employability.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the initiative would “ensure that the UK leads the world in technologies of the future and benefits from the economic growth opportunities this brings”.

Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh universities outlined plans to increase the provision of data science teaching for students, and to support schools and colleges across the region to provide digital skills teaching and training.

Edinburgh’s supercomputing capabilities will also be strengthened with investment in a data analysis facility, which will help 1,000 organisations use data to innovate within their sectors.

Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said: "The £300m Scottish Government investment in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal will help deliver inclusive economic growth across the region. The Data Driven Innovation programme will be key to this, providing a significant step-change in our productivity.

"We are working to ensure Scotland is an internationally recognised vibrant, inclusive, open and outward-looking digital nation. I welcome the contribution that Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt Universities are making to ensure the new opportunities and benefits created by City Region Deal investment are spread across the region, providing individuals with the digital skills and aptitudes necessary to succeed while helping industry source the talent they need to grow and flourish."

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