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Data and AI graduate programme offers Welsh businesses a fast-track to pandemic resilience

Welsh businesses keen to survive and thrive by unlocking the potential of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are being encouraged to join a new graduate programme, which can fast-track talent into their teams to drive the crucial innovations needed in these uncertain times.

Designed in collaboration with industry, the Fast-Track Data and AI Graduate Programme has already attracted some of Wales’ most recognisable brands, including Admiral, and Principality Building Society. However, the Programme has been created to provide opportunities for Welsh businesses of all sizes seeking to build teams to accelerate digital transformation and data driven services.

Graduates already placed through the Programme are already helping businesses in multiple industries to harness the power of data. In the world of finance, graduates have employed the latest techniques to source data from multiple sources to change how property values are calculated and create new mortgage products. However, the reality is that these skills and methods can be applied to limitless sectors.

Cnect Wales (WCCF) are calling on employers across South Wales to capitalise on a unique opportunity to strengthen their teams with new talents, who have the specialist training and skills needed to create transformative digital services.

Managed by the WCCF and part-funded by the European Social Fund, the eight-month Programme matches talented graduates with the specific needs of each participating employer. This flexible approach provides companies of all sizes with an interim skills solution to recruit from a handpicked STEM graduate talent pool.

The Programme also ensures its graduates stay at the forefront of developments in AI, big data and robotics, via a bespoke post-graduate diploma delivered by the University of South Wales.

In addition to gaining access to individuals who can apply the latest knowledge in AI & data to their companies, partner employers also benefit from the full support of the Programme’s expert team and wider network within the financial services and data industry.

Sandra Busby, Managing Director of Cnect Wales, said: “The new Fast-Track Programme is designed to provide Welsh businesses with what is needed right now to address today’s recruitment and training challenges.

“Thanks to the support of the Welsh Government and the European Social Fund, we have been able to become agile in developing a solution allowing Welsh businesses of all sizes, to bolster their teams with highly-skilled graduates.

“I encourage all employers to contact our team and explore how we can work together. There is no one-size fits all solution, so we have created a flexible programme that can adapt to the differing needs of Welsh businesses, from start-ups to national brands”.

Participating companies include some of Wales’ established organisations such as: Admiral, Amber Energy, Atradius,, Optimum Credit, Principality Building Society and Vauxhall Finance.

Some of the biggest brands in Wales have been among the first to join the Fast-Track Data and AI Graduate Programme, including leading insurance comparison site,

Commenting on the insurance expert’s longstanding partnership with the Programme and the value graduates bring to their team, Nick Sharp, Head of Data, Analytics & Data Science at, said:

“We are proud to be a partner in this programme and have been impressed by the high quality of candidates, so much so, that we have already employed two graduates from the previous data science programme.”

The Fast-Track Data and AI Graduate Programme is an evolution of the highly successful Financial Services and Data Science Graduate Programme model.

Those programmes were initially created in 2013 to support the recovery and growth of Welsh businesses following the 2008 financial crisis and their success has created a 144 strong graduate talent pool that has seen 98% secure permanent roles with Wales’ leading companies.

This partnership between businesses in Wales and WCCF will continue the legacy of graduate talent recruitment and provide a significant boost to Wales’ Fintech, data driven industries and the wider economy. Through technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and robotics, the Programme aims to take advantage of disruptive technologies to drive innovation and economic growth.

Deputy Minister for Economy, Lee Waters said: “The coronavirus pandemic has placed incredible pressures on our economy, but as a Welsh Government we are absolutely committed to supporting our firms and helping retain and develop talent here in Wales which is vital for future economic growth and greater prosperity.

“The Fast-Track Data and AI Graduate Programme will have a crucial part to play by providing new and exciting opportunities for businesses and individuals who have so much to offer. The tech sector is thriving in Wales and we want to see that continue.

“I am pleased the Welsh Government is supporting this scheme and it also demonstrates the important role EU funding plays in supporting our businesses and helping people reach their potential.”

To get involved, please contact Programme Manager, Rowena Morgan or visit the website.