Laing O'Rourke Boosts Data Skills Through Professional Apprenticeships


Laing O’Rourke has launched a Data Academy in partnership with Multiverse, that will see over 80 of its staff trained in data capabilities.

Laing O’Rourke has proven its commitment to data-driven culture by investing in a pioneering Data Academy to improve skills across the entire organisation. 87 of its people taken from a range of disciplines including engineering, quantity surveying, design management to human capital, IT and finance will gain skills through Data apprenticeships delivered in partnership with Multiverse.

The Data Academy programme launched by Laing O’Rourke and Multiverse delivers best-in-class training in data analysis. Over the 18-month programme, Laing O’Rourke’s data champions will master data wrangling and analysis techniques. The programme also covers data science, including Python and an introduction to machine learning.

The training will be delivered by Multiverse, a startup tech company focused on high-quality education and training through a unique professional apprenticeship model.

As a leader in construction, the move shows a commitment from Laing O’Rourke towards on-the-job training and skills development for its staff. The new skills will drive greater efficiencies in shared functions and create repeatable and scalable processes, where data is used to create certainty and predictability in project delivery for clients.


Data champions come from across the business and range from early talent to experienced professionals.

Research by the UK Government has found that almost a quarter of employees use advanced data skills in their work, yet a shortage of skills in this area is estimated to cost UK businesses £2bn a year.

The engineering and construction sector is awash with big data: yet 96% of this data goes unused in the industry, and 90% of data generated is unstructured.

Janina Akiva, Lead Business Analyst and current Data Apprentice, at Laing O’Rourke said: “While on maternity leave, I was offered the opportunity to apply for the Data Academy programme upon my return and I felt privileged to be considered. I am an engineer by trade, and over the years my professional career has gravitated towards data driven projects, developing systems and generating dashboards. While I had hands-on experience I had never had any formal training in the data / business analyst world and the opportunity that Multiverse presented was something I did not want to miss out on. The programme has already given me a far superior understanding into the foundations of data which I am now able to apply to my projects and I am looking forward to learning more technical skills later in the course.”

Multiverse matches talented individuals with careers and delivers world-class training in a wide range of qualifications in leadership, digital and technology. Apprentices benefit from one-to-one coaching with an industry expert and are supported by a thriving community with events, socials, mentoring and leadership programmes designed to exceed the best of the university experience.

Janina added: “Considering we are in a pandemic, there are so many sessions easily and readily available and I have attended more events virtually than I would have been able to previously, due to work demands. I have already learnt so much, and I look forward to further development as the programme continues.”

Laing O’Rourke saw the decision to invest their apprenticeship levy in the new Data Academy as a vital part of their transformation journey, and a valuable addition to enhancing the experience already held within the organisation.

Euan Blair, CEO and Founder of Multiverse, said: “The fastest growing apprenticeships are in data, tech, and the jobs of the future. We're incredibly excited to partner with Laing O'Rourke to deliver a Data Academy to their team based on intensive coaching and an applied learning experience. Data is at the heart of their operation and a vital part of the modern construction industry - this data academy will help the company embed these skills across their workforce and provide incredible opportunities for those looking to reskill.”

"The amount of data that will be flowing through our construction sites in years to come will be ever growing with new technologies and sensors; drones, IoT, computer vision, etc.; with greater connectivity between actors -design partners, supply chain, local communities. The untapped potential is huge and the horizon for data analytics limitless.

Investing in our people to diversify our skill sets and nurture new talent streams ahead of the curve is the best decision that we can make.”