[CODATA-international] International Project seeks to Develop Data Skills Amongst Aspiring Development Professionals

Asha CODATA asha at codata.org
Wed Mar 30 12:22:28 EDT 2022

The Development Counts: Data Skills for International Development Careers
project is an ERASMUS+ funded project seeking to support the next
generation of development professionals to harness the power of data for
global social good. The project is led by the University of Gloucestershire
in the UK, in collaboration with Gazi Üniversitesi (Turkey), L-Università
ta’ Malta (Malta) and Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED,

The project has launched new open access data skills for global development
training materials in English, Spanish and Turkish. The design of the
training programme was informed by in-depth interviews with development
professionals in Malta, Spain, Turkey and the UK about data skills
requirements in the sector. The interviews highlighted that technical data
skills alone are not enough: to successfully use data for good in global
development, graduates must be able to critically evaluate data and its
quality, navigate the politics of data, and collaborate with and influence
a range of stakeholders. A full analysis of the interviews has been
published in Open Access format in the Journal of International
Development: Bringing about the data revolution in development: What data
skills do aspiring development professionals need?

Based on insights from the interviews, the training programme was designed
to co-develop technical skills in data handling with transferable skills
such as international and intercultural collaboration and digital
communication.  One of the interviewees encouraged the team to ‘open the
appetite’ of future professionals to the possibilities of data for global
development – mastering some basics and developing confidence to deepen and
expand their skills in the future, as what’s possible to achieve with data
evolves. In a rapidly changing data landscape and against a backdrop of
lack of confidence in this area, the project team thought this was a great
metaphor for what the programme should try to achieve. It is not possible
to create data experts with one programme nor teach future development
professionals all the data techniques that may be useful across the course
of their careers (some of which may not yet exist). However, it is possible
to provide foundational training and seek to build confidence and
enthusiasm around working with data covering a range of different types of
skills. Therefore, this phrase became the theme for the programme – with
each section relating to a stage in preparing a meal.  The theme also
hopefully makes the material more entertaining and accessible for learners
who may be apprehensive about learning in this area!

There are three parts to the training programme:

   - *PART 1:* Online self-study course organised into 5 modules to
   introduce key material, hosted on the UNED Abierta learning platform.
   - *PART 2:* Online live tutor-led activities to extend and consolidate
   learning from self-study modules and support team building.
   - *PART 3:* Activities to support learners to complete remote team
   projects, applying their learning to real world  development data scenarios
   whilst developing cross-cultural teamwork and communication skills.

The training programme is  designed for groups of students from different
institutions to complete together online over a one-week period. However,
it is also possible to mix and match the parts of the learning resources
that are most suitable, and the resources may appeal to others interested
in data for development training too – especially part 1, the online
self-study course.

Links to all the training materials in English, Spanish and Turkish are
available on the project website.

If you have any questions about the project or how to use the training
programme, please contact Dr Rachel Bennett (project lead) on:
rbennett3 at glos.ac.uk.  You can also follow us on Twitter @DataSkills4Dev
<https://twitter.com/DataSkills4Dev> and join our LinkedIn group Development
Counts: Data Skills for International Development Careers Project Associates




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E-Mail: asha at codata.org
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