Leading universities across the UK get on board with the Qlik Academic Program, incorporating data literacy into their courses and giving students the skills they’ll need for the working world

Qlik, a leader in visual analytics, today announced some of the UK’s leading Universities are taking part in the Qlik Academic Program, adding data literacy classes into their Business Management and MBA courses. With the QAP, institutions such as the London School of Economics (LSE), Kingston University and Bournemouth University are running dedicated sessions on data literacy and data science, helping their students learn the data analysis skills needed to thrive in the business world. The announcement follows recent research from Qlik, showing just 18% of UK graduates are classified as data literate, suggesting that universities overall are failing to prepare students with the skills they need to enter the workplace.

“With an increase in data being used across organisations and different industries, graduates leaving university are under more expectation now than ever before to understand the fundamentals of data analysis when they start their first jobs,” said Simon Blunn, UK MD, Qlik. “And yet, there’s a gap when it comes to the subjects university courses are offering students and the actual skills they need for the working world. Our research found people who are data literate are performing better in the workplace; 76% of UK workers skilled up to work with data say they’re performing well at work, compared with only 49% of those that are not. We’ve designed the Qlik Academic Program so students leave university with some knowledge of data and an understanding of the different analysis tools that are on the market.”

London School of Economics

One of the universities that has benefitted from the Qlik Academic Program is the London School of Economics (LSE). During the last academic year, the University worked with Qlik to offer students studying for various health-related masters courses a session on data analytics. The session covered anything from applied data science in general through to detailed case studies looking at how healthcare organisations are benefitting from improved services thanks to making better use of their data. The session, which was very well-received by students, also included the opportunity to analyse some data first-hand to get their own insights.

“Data literacy is extremely important now,” said Dr. Ela Klecun, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, Department of Management, LSE. “Students need to learn what data is and how it can be used, but also to critique the hype behind it. This course has been incredibly useful for students in that sense. The sessions are a great way to introduce them to the people designing products that can help others analyse data. In terms of finding jobs, they know having data literacy skills will be crucial in putting them a step ahead of other graduates. They understand managers are looking for people who can not only understand data, but also to analyse it and report back. Data analytics is increasingly important for businesses looking for ways to find more markets and opportunities.”

Kingston University

Another institution that has run the Qlik Academic Program for students is Kingston University. The University wanted to add data literacy to its MBA portfolio of skills, after both a call from students and an understanding from professors that students should learn about data while completing their studies.

“Data is often under-used as a skill at university. But we want to give students support for the world of corporate decision making,” said Dr. Serhiy Kovela, Senior Lecturer at Kingston University. “The Qlik workshop was really useful. We can see real value for MBA students in it. Numbers don’t tell you much unless you can apply them to a real-life situation. With students, we want to play out scenarios, comparing and analysing things. That’s the kind of situation today’s managers are facing every day and this is what we want to prepare our students for.”

Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University, meanwhile, has already run the course for its MBA students twice – to great success, after students wanted a greater understanding of data analysis and how finding insights from data can work. Students who took part in the course are still in contact with Qlik as they’re keen to learn more.

“Truth be told, everything in the world these days is digital. That means a lot of data is being produced – and we need to find ways to make use of it. Unfortunately, there is a data barrier between the people who have and don’t have these skills. We want to make sure our students are the right side of that divide, so they can be competitive in the job market. We have a lot of master students who want to upskill in this area for that reason. They know people in the corporate world are noticing whether or not job applicants can bring analysis skills to the table and it’s making a difference in their appeal as a prospective employee.”

For more information on data equality and to access resources for helping individuals and organisations become data literate, visit