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Free data analytics course trialled at University of Bradford rolled out across UK


Poster showing smiling student enrolled on digital skills course

Plan to 'upskill' the nation, thanks to University of Bradford trial

Global analytics leader SAS, which supplies advanced data analytics to 90 per cent of the top 100 Fortune companies, has launched a free e-learning programme to help with the UK’s Covid recovery.

SAS STEP was successfully trialled at the University of Bradford and will now be rolled out across the UK and Ireland.

The free course offers people the chance to learn much sought-after data skills, with the aim of finding them employment.

  • New digital learning platform launched to boost the UK’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
  • The SAS STEP Programme will offer some routes into employment and a new source of data-fluent recruits to bridge industry skills gaps

To provide enhanced job prospects for those completing the programme the analytics leader will partner with Handshake, an industry leading early career network and career management platform connecting over 900 universities, 500,000 employers, and 17 million students. SAS also plans to partner with the University of Bradford, to execute the programme in the Bradford area following a successful pilot conducted in late 2020. 

Roderick Crawford, Vice President & Country Manager, SAS UK & Ireland, said: “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. 

“A key aspect of the programme is providing important skills that were already in demand before the pandemic, making candidates more employable.

“For some it may even offer a pathway to a lucrative, future-proof 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.”

Chance to learn new skills

Professor Sankar Sivarajah, Head of the School of Management at the University of Bradford, said: “The successful joint digital skills pilot programme delivered by SAS and University of Bradford was extremely well received and made a positive difference for the Bradford community.

“It has provided the opportunity for our city’s workforce to re-skill and equip them with vital data and analytics skills and capacity that is needed for in-demand jobs as we prepare for the post Covid-19 recovery of our economy in Bradford. We look forward to continuing to work with SAS and embed it more deeply into the university and wider local economy.”  

SAS STEP is primarily aimed at those seeking employment or facing redundancy but is also open to anyone looking to make themselves more employable, including graduates, the self-employed, or those already in employment. SAS has designed tailored, best-in-class course content and is providing a clear route to employment for alumni, partnering with universities to execute the programme and other organisations to place candidates into job roles.

In demand data skills

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 and more than nine out of 10 businesses (92 per cent) believe remote working and businesses’ increased reliance on technology have amplified the need for these skills at least to some extent.

Better job prospects

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.

One of the participants in the successful pilot with the University of Bradford was Ranjit Khera, who said: “Going through the process of being made redundant from my role at a major utility company after 13 years left me feeling a lot of uncertainty over my future job prospects. Thankfully, SAS STEP was a real lifeline for me in this regard - these skills will be invaluable to my career progression and have already given me more confidence about the types of jobs I can now apply for.”

You can find out more about the SAS STEP programme at and by watching this short video.

Additional information

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.


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