M&S launches ‘world’s first’ data and AI academy in retail

Marks & Spencer has launched the “world’s first” data science and AI academy in retail and grocery. 

The academy will initially train 10 members of staff on a level seven data science and AI apprenticeship, in partnership with education provider Cambridge Spark. 

According to the retailer, the 10 members of staff will learn “cutting edge data science techniques in areas such as modelling, machine learning and automating and optimising business processes” over the next 15 months. 

READ MORE:M&S under fire for ‘ugly’ Oxford Street redevelopment

Additionally, M&S hopes to unlock “untapped value” that is “worth millions” by educating colleagues on implementing new data-driven AI solutions into their operations. 

The move comes after M&S’ investment in data literacy programme that has already helped upskill 280 colleagues and 500 senior leaders. 

In 2018, the retailer launched a level three data technician course, hiring Mehdi Hosseini as head of data science to oversee the growing team. 

“With our brilliant cloud data platform… our digital & data learning hub… and our explorative focus on AI and Data Science via our new level seven programme, we’re setting ourselves up to not just survive in this new world but thrive” M&S head of enterprise data Suzanne Howse said.

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