Gateshead College students dive into the world of data science with the National Innovation Centre for Data

Image: Gateshead College T-Level student explores Python notebook  featuring Clean Air Zone data 

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The National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) and Gateshead College teamed up to offer T-Level students a unique opportunity to explore the field of data science. This collaboration aimed to ignite a passion for data among the next generation of tech enthusiasts.

I. Delving into data

Over the course of two workshops, students delved into real-world challenges, using data from the city's Clean Air Zone to examine the impacts of traffic and weather on urban pollution. This hands-on experience demonstrated the daily responsibilities of data scientists and analysts but also underscored the importance of data in solving contemporary issues.


II. Introduction to data science fundamentals

The first workshop, held on the 5th of March, introduced twelve students to the fundamentals of data science.

Eight students were invited to the Catalyst for a two-hour session that included discussions on data generation, its importance, and an interactive case study focusing on the role of data in business and environmental sustainability.

A tour of the Catalyst building at the Helix site—a 24-acre collaborative ecosystem for innovators in Newcastle—further enriched their learning experience.


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Image: Dr Paul Goodman, Innovation Lead, The National Innovation Centre for Data

III. Enhancing skills through practical application

A few weeks later, an in-person Python workshop at Gateshead College allowed students to assess pollution data against legal limits, enhancing their practical skills.


IV. Expert insights and industrial applications

Presentations from the National Innovation Centre for Data’s Senior Data Scientists Dr Jacek Cała and Dr Peter Michalák and Innovation Lead Dr Paul Goodman explored topics ranging from the generation of data to its critical role in decision-making across various sectors

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V. Solving complex problems with data

Real-world case studies from industry were introduced to get students thinking about how data can be utilised to solve complex problems.

These included exploring how data science can be used to investigate and problem solve batch failures for a polymer chemical manufacturer and a maritime paint provider.

By using real-world examples, the team illustrated the transformative power of data analytics in improving product quality, operational efficiency, and environmental sustainability.


VI. Technology and the Future of Data Science

This event also served as a platform to introduce students to advanced technologies, including large language models (LLMs) and large language multimodal models (LMMs), demonstrating their application in areas like chatbots, translation, and gaming.

The involvement of generative AI tools, like ChatGPT and DALL-E, offered a glimpse into the future of creative and analytical tasks in data science.


“ Both workshops were extremely engaging, informative and interesting. I particularly enjoyed the second in which we could use our own programming skills to work with a real data set and learn to draw our own conclusions by applying data science constructs.

I have considerably improved my interest and understanding of data science and I now consider it one of the areas of employment I want to pursue."

Jamie, Gateshead College, Student



Image: Gateshead College T-Level student explores Python notebook  featuring Clean Air Zone data 

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VII. Interactive learning and progress

A highlight of the workshop was the interactive element, which allowed students to engage with the material through discussions, feedback sessions, and simulations.

The integration of pre-workshop questionnaires and benchmarking activities provided valuable insights into the students' learning progress, showcasing a marked improvement in their understanding and expectations of data science.


“Each year, I enjoy engaging in discussions with students from Gateshead College, gaining insight into their perspectives on the latest technological advancements and the pace at which they are adopted.

Additionally, it's a great satisfaction to see how we can spark even greater interest in pursuing careers in data science.”

Dr Peter Michalák, Edge Solution Specialist, The National Innovation Centre for Data


“At Gateshead College we are proud to work with industry partners such as the National Innovation Centre for Data to ensure our learners have the employment edge and to inspire them into careers they hadn't thought of before - this workshop is always a personal highlight. 

Thank you Peter, Jacek and Paul.” 

Monika Sharma, Curriculum Leader, Digital Bootcamps at Gateshead College


Learn more about Gateshead College by visiting their website.


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