UCD Professional Academy and SAS partner to launch free STEP programme to train job seekers as data skilled professionals

●     New programme launched to boost Ireland’s digital economy by offering in-demand data skills for thousands affected by the economic fallout from the global pandemic
●     Free programme offers opportunity for the unemployed to acquire in-demand data skills
●     STEP will offer routes into employment and a new source of data-fluent recruits to bridge industry skills gaps

The UCD Professional Academy, which has trained more than 5,500 students in the past year, and global analytics leader SAS, which supplies advanced analytics to 90% of the top 100 Fortune companies, have today launched the SAS STEP Programme in Ireland. It is a free digital learning programme to aid post-pandemic economic recovery by training the unemployed in much sought-after data skills, with the aim of finding them employment.

The UCD Professional Academy and SAS have designed tailored, best-in-class course content that will be delivered online with both self-paced learning and live classes delivered by UCD Professional Academy lecturers. SAS and UCD will be providing possible routes into employment for alumni, and will look to partner other organisations to place candidates into job roles.

The free programme, designed to reinvigorate the nation’s workforce with in-demand data skills, comprises four learning pathways. Today marks the launch of the foundational data literacy pathway, along with the data analyst course. Further data engineering and the more advanced data science pathways will be released later in the year. As part of the course, candidates will receive hands-on, industry-leading training through a tailored software portal, allowing users to practice, apply and embed increasingly vital data and analytical skills.

These skills are in high demand and recent research conducted by Vanson Bourne revealed that nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of businesses believe a sufficient level of data literacy is now ‘very important’ or ‘essential’ when it comes to hiring candidates. Data skills were already in high demand before the pandemic - more than nine out of 10 businesses (92 per cent) believe remote working and increased reliance on technology has amplified the need for these skills at least to some extent.

Candidates participating in the programme will be able to choose from a wide range of resources including coding challenges, guided case studies, dedicated mentors, and live web classes, allowing them to quickly increase their attractiveness to prospective employers.

“SAS STEP represents a golden opportunity to improve your data skills or even retrain for a career at the cutting edge of innovation across industries, following a challenging year for many in terms of job security,” explained Roderick Crawford, Vice President & Country Manager, SAS UK & Ireland.

“A key aspect of the programme is providing important skills that are in high demand, making candidates more employable. For some it may even offer a pathway to a lucrative and enduring career, as data analytics and AI are increasingly shaping the major decisions being taken in the world today. It is therefore our intention to place candidates into employment in as many cases as possible, both internally and across our extensive network of customers in search of these skills.”

Aaron McKenna, Director of the UCD Professional Academy, said: “Retraining people for the ‘new normal’ is easily said and often difficult to get to grips with. SAS STEP is a practical and actionable programme that the UCD Professional Academy is proud to help bring to Ireland. It will also be essential in the years ahead to plug the skills gap in data analytics, so we feel we are helping to deliver a double dose of good news for both individuals and the wider economy.”

You can find out more about the SAS STEP programme at www.sas.com/step and by watching this short video.

SAS is a global business and a leader in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, with more than 40 years’ experience in this industry. Its software is used at more than 83,000 business, government, and university sites around the world.

The UCD Professional Academy provides work-focused programmes to professionals across Ireland, enrolling over 5,500 students over the past year on courses ranging from project management to graphic design.

About UCD

UCD is one of the largest, most established centres of learning in Ireland. The UCD Professional Academy extends our heritage of educational excellence to professionals seeking to stay competitive and relevant in the changing workplace.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2021 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.

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