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Marks and Spencer to provide data science training to employees

Marks and Spencer Group PLC will establish an academy where employees can enroll in an 18-month in-work data science skills program, in a bid "to make the business fit for the digital age," the Financial Times reported, citing CEO Steve Rowe.

In the first 18 months of the academy's operation, the U.K. department store chain expects to train over 1,000 employees, from board directors to store managers, in machine learning and programming languages, the report said. The retailer will fund the program through the British government's apprenticeship levy, which mandates that companies allot an equivalent of 0.5% of their payroll for staff training.

Lessons will be provided by education services firm Decoded, and people who finish the program will get a data analytics qualification accredited by the British Computer Society, the report added.