This year’s FIFA World Cup could be the first decided by data science, as a new ruling allows data scientists with hand-held technology to sit on the bench and feed real time analysis to coaches – and now a new programme harnessing this trend is offering graduates the chance to build a career in a sector set to shape tomorrow’s economy. The new Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme will offer graduates paid placements with global employers, a fully funded MSc and expert learning from academic partner Office for National Statistics.

In October 25 STEM graduates will start the programme, part funded by the European Social Fund, and developed by the Welsh Contact Centre Forum and employers to satisfy a growing demand in expert professionals who can work effectively and efficiently with handling sizeable data.

The scheme follows the Welsh Financial Services Graduate Programme, which has seen 105 graduates trained to be job-ready to start careers in that sector in Wales and boasts a 95 per cent employment success rate.

Data science is now a tangible employment prospect for thousands of the world’s young graduates and Wales is making waves in securing its place in the data science boom.

Some of the jobs readily available include data scientist, analyst, engineer and researcher as well as fraud analyst. The data being mined can be as varied as audio, video and social media data to smart meters and other devices enabled for the Internet of Things, analysing trends and picking up on anomalies in data to create value.

IBM predicts that by 2020 the demand for data scientists will soar by 28 per cent, while the UK Commission for Employment and Skills stated that 43 per cent of vacancies in STEM roles were hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills, almost double the UK average of 24 per cent.

Commenting on the extra £2.3m of EU funds being invested in the programme through the Welsh Government, Finance Secretary, Mark Drakeford said: “We are committed to helping people get the skills they need to pursue successful careers and drive forward high-growth sectors, which are vital to economic growth and employment.

“This is another example of how EU funds are supporting Wales’ growth ambitions. We are calling on the UK Government to replace this vital source of funding after the UK leaves the EU so we can continue to invest in programmes such as these.”

The businesses signed up to the programme are Admiral, Atradius, Centrica, Hodge Bank, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Optimum Credit, Principality Building Society and MotoNovo Finance.

The 25 need not be graduates in IT nor data science, any STEM subject is acceptable and the requirements are mainly having an aptitude towards problem solving, with a curious mind. The graduates are set to earn between £18,500 and £21,000 per year for the two year period and are virtually guaranteed a job at its end.

For further information, to enquire how your business can work with the Welsh Data Science Graduate Programme, please contact programme manager, Rowena O’Sullivan Rowena.O'