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LIDA Open Data Science for Schools (LODSS)

Getting young people into data science

We want to see greater diversity in our data scientists because we know that better diversity of data scientists, means better quality data science. So we’re starting with the next generation by inspiring, engaging and enabling school children to consider careers in data science.

We aim to make data science relatable, fun and accessible to young people from all backgrounds. We do this through role-modelling early-career data scientists on LIDA’s Data Scientist Development Programme.

16 May 2023. University of Leeds’ Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) members took their Data Scientist Development Programme to Carlton Keighley Secondary School. Owen Higgert with students working on one of the projects.

The data scientists co-lead and design exclusive school workshop activities in collaboration with project partners such as Raspberry Pi’s Code Club and Rethink Food. Seeing that a data scientist doesn’t have to look a certain way or conform to a stereotype, inspires local school pupils to see themselves in careers working with data too.

This is a widening participation initiative: we want more local young people to consider joining on-ramping programmes like the LIDA Data Scientist Development Programme in the future. There is currently a recognised digital skills gap, and we need to be part of the solution to address this, as well as increasing the diversity and quality of data science. Targeted data skills events also help schools meet criteria for careers engagement in national standards like the Gatsby Benchmarks.

The project has been commissioned for the next five years (2023-2028), and will take the form of annual school-based events that are co-produced with community stakeholders. We also look forward to working with our partners to address the digital skills gap as part of Bradford City of Culture 2025.

Project objectives

  1. Widen participation from local schools by inspiring them with and role-modelling opportunities data skills for good for all;
  2. Increase awareness of careers in data amongst schools with a large proportion of groups currently underrepresented in the field of data science;
  3. Demonstrate the value of statistical and analytical skills in creating sustainable employment via careers working with data;
  4. Spread awareness of LIDA’s Data Scientist Development Programme as a data career on-ramping programme amongst our local schools networks;
  5. Develop strong partnerships with our local school communities, industry, and public sector partners to enable a sustainable pipeline for schools engagement work;
  6. Provide opportunities to our DSDP data scientists to surface their leadership skills.

The pilot

In partnership with the Keighley Schools Together network, we are running co-produced data events sited in local schools and at our own institute, based on the knowledge that the majority of students’ future careers will require skills working with data in some form.

University of Leeds’ Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) members took their Data Scientist Development Programme to Carlton Keighley Secondary School.

The partners we are working with in this initial pilot are:

Get involved

If you’re interested in finding out more or joining our initiative as a school or organisation passionate about giving back to the community, please email Kylie Norman, LODSS Project Lead.