Heathrow Airport will launch a world class Data Academy to upskill staff across the business in data skills - supporting their development and growing the data capacity of the airport.

21 apprentices will join the pilot programme from functions across the airport - including Retail, Operations and Security.

The investment shows a commitment from Heathrow towards on-the-job training and skills development for its staff.

Training will be delivered by Multiverse, a startup tech company building an outstanding alternative to university and corporate training through apprenticeships. The company announced the closing of a $130 million Series C funding round earlier this year and now trains over 5,000 tech, leadership and digital apprentices.

Research by the UK Government has found that almost a quarter of employees use data skills in their work, yet a shortage of skills in this area is estimated to cost UK businesses £2bn a year.  In 2019, one in 10 job vacancies required data expertise, while over 100,000 data positions remain unfilled.

Apprentices will be enrolled on one of three data programmes at various levels. The 13-month Data Literacy programme covers the core technical skills required to transform data into insights, as well as softer skills like building narratives and presenting findings. Meanwhile, the 15-month Data Fellowship will give apprentices the skills to clean, analyse and model data, and tell data stories to non-specialists.

The Advanced Data Fellowship - a degree-level programme - will empower apprentices to develop their skills in data analysis and data science. Apprentices will build core capabilities in areas like statistical testing, data ethics, predictive modelling and data security.

The new skills will enable the airport to draw insights from its wealth of data, and automate tasks to improve operational efficiency.

Alasdair McGregor, Head of Planning Proposition at Heathrow, said: “We put a huge emphasis on helping colleagues to develop their skills and careers with Heathrow and we are pleased to begin working with Multiverse on a new data academy. Knowing how to transform data into usable insights is a vital skill that will help our teams continue to make our operations as safe and efficient as possible, for the benefit of passengers and colleagues.”

Multiverse CEO Euan Blair said: “In the wake of a challenging period for the aviation industry, it's a positive sign to see Heathrow Airport investing in its people and its data capabilities through the launch of its Data Academy.

"There is simply no better way of getting tech, digital, and data skills into a business than through apprenticeships. The combination of world-class coaching with real-world application means skills are gained rapidly and retained effectively. Our mission is to create an outstanding alternative to university and corporate training, and we're delighted to be partnering with Heathrow Airport to make it happen."

Multiverse apprentices benefit from one-to-one coaching with an industry expert and are supported by a thriving community with events, socials, mentoring and leadership programmes designed to exceed the best of the university experience.