Long-time youth worker among first to secure data management role after completing free SAS reskilling programme

  • James Lancashire, who was made redundant in August 2020 as a result of the pandemic, decided to retrain for a career in data with the free SAS STEP Programme
  • The ground-breaking programme, which was launched last March to train 10,000 job seekers as data-skilled professionals, today releases its dedicated data science pathway 

A long-time youth worker who was made redundant during the COVID-19 pandemic has become one of the first to secure a valuable new role in data management with the help of a free reskilling programme provided by global analytics leader, SAS.

James Lancashire was able to use skills provided by the SAS STEP programme, which was launched in March to aid post-pandemic economic recovery by training 10,000 people across the UK and Ireland to help address the data skills gap. He has just secured a full-time, senior role as a Data Management Consultant at AI firm Butterfly Data.

Carlisle-based James is among the first to have undertaken two of the pathways launched to date, which cover everything from foundational data literacy to more advanced data science skills. Launching today, the third in a series of four planned learning pathways, the dedicated data science learning pathway will provide a grounding in the key skills of programming, data engineering and manipulation, applied mathematics, statistics, data science innovation, data ethics and data privacy.

James commented: “Simply put, I would not have got this job without the SAS STEP Programme. I found myself unemployed in the midst of the pandemic and recognised that a career in this field was both future-proof and in high demand, with data being a central focus for many businesses today.

“It was difficult to imagine changing career having spent nearly two decades working for a youth charity, but it was the perfect way to improve my data literacy quickly and has opened up exciting job prospects almost immediately.”

Roderick Crawford, Vice President and Country Manager, SAS UK & Ireland, said: “James’ career switch is an excellent proof of concept for our programme’s potential to transform careers for those looking to upskill and join a new industry. Our primary goal with the initiative has always been to address the economic challenges brought about by the pandemic and to help individuals, so it’s hugely inspiring to hear success stories like this one.

“Everyone at SAS is hugely proud to have played a part in helping James on his journey in such an exciting new career direction. Although it has only been live for a matter of months, we can’t wait to see more amazing outcomes like this one as take-up of the programme continues to rise.”

Minister for Apprenticeships and Skills Gillian Keegan said: “It is great to see how the SAS STEP programme is already supporting people to access the highly valued data skills they need to get ahead, helping to tackle skills shortages in vital sectors.  As we recover from the pandemic, it is even more important that everyone has the opportunity to learn the skills they need to progress and employers have access to the high-quality talent pipeline they need for the future.”

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

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