Aviva are an organisation that place apprenticeships at the centre of their staff training and development strategy. At Baltic, we’ve been working in partnership with Aviva for several years, delivering training and support for their Software Development and Data Analyst apprentices.
As with many large businesses, data plays an important role at Aviva and is a specialism within which apprentices can really shine. We asked Sophie Gray, Apprenticeship Lead at Aviva to share her experiences of taking on Level 4 Data apprentices with Baltic.
Why data, and why data apprentices?
“Over time, the need to analyse and interpret data has grown within our business, and we’ve focused on growing these capabilities within the team at Aviva,” said Sophie.
“Data is crucial for us to understand the demands of our customers. With more customer interaction channels being online, we’re presented with far more data than ever before. This data tells us what our customers need, and we’re able to use these insights to design better products and services for them.
“The market for data specialists has grown, so while there isn’t a shortage of experts, we’re excited about the opportunity to grow new experts in this field. For us, this can mean colleagues already at Aviva wanting to change the direction of their career, or bright new talent joining Aviva to become our experts of the future.”
Why did you choose Baltic as a provider for your data apprenticeships?
“We chose Baltic to deliver a number of our Apprenticeship training programmes over the last three years, starting with the Software Development programme in 2016,” explained Sophie. “Baltic’s approach to working with their clients before and during programmes felt very inclusive, and they have always been very supportive of the apprentices on programme.
“Baltic’s recruitment and curriculum team worked closely with us at Aviva to understand the alignment of the Apprenticeship Standards against the roles we have here.
“The roles of trainer and coach are important elements of support, but where Baltic went above and beyond was the offer of additional technical one-to-one mentoring, to help apprentices if they were facing difficulty with the practical application of their training within their roles. The quality of the trainers has been crucial in helping individual learners have the best experience.”
Above: Sophie Gray, Apprenticeship Lead at Aviva
What do you look for in your data apprentices?
“Our data apprentices are a real mix of people from all ages, from various educational and career backgrounds,” said Sophie. “The key attribute they all hold is being inquisitive about the insights that data can provide, and the ways that this insight can be applied to the design of our products and services.”
How did your apprentices progress as they moved through the training programme?
“There is definite growth for apprentices personally,” said Sophie. “They spend a significant amount of their time juggling learning and their day to day role; this requirement to be organised and have a well-planned diary definitely transposes to life outside work.
“In terms of professional progression, our apprentices used the knowledge gained from their training to ensure proficiency in their roles and support their long term career aspirations. The focus on building up capability in understanding data through different learning initiatives does help cultivate our culture of using data to inform decisions inside and outside of work.”
What have Aviva data apprentices gone on to do after completing their programme?
“On completion of the Level 4 Data Analyst Apprenticeships, Aviva Apprentices can take time to reflect on what’s next for their career. Some have stayed in their role, content in using their new expertise. Some have changed roles internally, taking their knowledge to different parts of the business, and we’re delighted that some have enrolled on a Level 6 Data Science Degree Apprenticeship to deepen their data skills further.”
Have apprenticeships helped to close your data skills gap?
“Yes certainly,” said Sophie. “There are many different ways to learn and apprentices are one way to develop the right skills for the right people. Overall, it’s helped us to see the art of the possible – using data apprenticeships to develop both the capabilities of our people, and the business areas which benefit through practical application of these skills. These stories of successful development helps others consider apprenticeships as a positive path of career development.
“In the future, we will grow our data capability in many ways, and one method of attracting new talent in data will be through the use of the Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeship.”
Find out more
Whether you’re a large organisation looking to grow your data team and make the most of your Apprenticeship Levy fund, or an agile SME striving to make more data-driven decisions, apprenticeships can be an amazing way to cultivate your future talent.