Our Learner of the Month for July is Joe Rolfe, a Gaming Operations Analyst, at Sky Betting and Gaming in Leeds and has been completing a Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeship with Estio since November 2017, but has worked at Sky Betting and Gaming for almost 6 years.
Joe was nominated for the award by his trainer, Mark Benzar, who noted Joe’s pro-active approach and outstanding dedication to learning whilst he was attending training at our Leeds Training Centre. Mark told us, “Joe really stood out to me as a truly dedicated learner. He created audio notes so that he could listen to them on the bus, he worked throughout his break and even went to work prior to attending training, as well as completing additional research at home. He was a pleasure to have in the Training Centre”.
Sky Betting and Gaming is the number one Betting and Gaming site in the UK based on customer volumes. They are a tech focused business that has grown rapidly over the last few years and was recently acquired by The Stars Group to form the biggest publicly listed Gambling business in the world. They have headquarters in Leeds and offices in Sheffield, Rome and Munich and currently employ over 1,400 people.
Sky Betting and Gaming made a statement regarding Joe’s award: “Sky Betting and Gaming are really pleased to be working with Estio on being able to develop our internal talent. Joe is our first entrant onto this programme and to have him as Apprentice of the Month makes us incredibly proud. We look forward to seeing Joe continue to grow and develop on his journey.”
Joe’s manager, Matthew Taylor, commented, “Joe is our first employee to take advantage of the apprenticeship scheme however this is something we will be looking to expand on in the coming years. Joe has been with the business for a number of years now and has developed his SQL skills in his own time while working in other roles. He now works in a full time analyst role, knows our data structure extremely well and writes SQL to a very high standard, however I saw the apprenticeship scheme as an opportunity to give him more formal training in this area.
“Data mining is one part of being a good analyst however getting the requirements gathering right up front, planning the piece of work well and presenting the insight at the end is what makes the difference between analysis and insight.
“By training Joe in these areas we are ensuring his knowledge of our data and his ability to mine are being used as effectively and efficiently as possible to provide the answers to his stakeholder’s questions.
“Joe and I have both been impressed with the content of the course to date and we can already see a marked improvement in the way he is approaching is work and managing his stakeholders. His work ethic and thirst for learning have always been key strengths for him so seeing him recognised in this way is extremely pleasing and thoroughly deserved.”
We caught up with Joe to discuss his job at Sky Betting & Gaming, how he came to embark upon the Data Analyst apprenticeship, and what he has enjoyed about the apprenticeship so far:
“I really enjoyed Psychology when I was in sixth form, and I went on to study Forensic Psychology at University which gave me a lot of transferable skills and gave me a taste for studying and analysing data.
“I used to work in the Fraud and Risk department at Sky, and we sat near an analytical team who were using a really cool tool to get all of the data they wanted, which I found really interesting. I really wanted to learn how to use this tool, and then I was offered an opportunity to learn. I decided to learn SQL, and that has helped me to become quite an important part of the Gaming Operations team. I always had an interest in Data and liked it, but being able to use it within a business context has been really important and I’ve really enjoyed doing it.
“In my day-to-day role as a Gaming Operations Analyst at Sky Betting there is obviously a lot of data analysis involved. I create SQL queries, and work on projects with different members of the team regarding operational analysis, and we also look at risk analysis. Sky Betting is an Online Gaming company, so there is a lot of potential risk and liability that needs to be managed through data. My team provides insight and analysis to other departments, so they can make decisions based upon the analysis we provide. A large part of my job is creating reports and running reports, and considering new reports that could be helpful for the rest of the business. I like being involved in the data side of the business day-to-day, it’s not boring to me because I find data really interesting!
“The main reason why I decided to embark upon the Data Analyst apprenticeship with Estio was to get a formal qualification in an area that I’m really passionate about. It’s really going to add weight to my CV, rather than just describing how passionate I am about Data I can now show that it’s a serious passion of mine through this qualification. As well as this I’m a learner by nature; I love to learn constantly, otherwise I start to feel like I’m not learning and developing, so this qualification is perfect for me really.
“My manager, Matt, suggested that I could do the Data Analyst apprenticeship and I had a look at the syllabus. Myself, and a member of our Learning Development team, had a meeting with a Consultant from Estio to discuss the course in more depth. I found this really useful as he was able to talk me through what was involved in the course, and this helped me to decide that this was something that would be really useful to me.
“I have really enjoyed the classroom element of the training with Estio, it reminds me of attending university and I really enjoyed the face-to-face learning with the trainers at Estio. I like the fact that the training can be tailored to me, it isn’t just a case of the trainer reading information off the slides. The trainers are more interactive than, for example, some of the lecturers I had at university, and are able to give me real-world examples as they have experience from working as a Data Analysts themselves.
“One of the modules that I have found to be the most eye-opening, or valuable, covered Project Management and how the Data Analytics Life Cycle can be impacted by Project Management. This has had quite a big impact on how I work, as it has added quite a lot of structure to how I tackle a problem. Previously, I would rush in and try and analyse everything despite there being a vast amount of data, but learning about Project Management has made me realise that a bigger focus on time management can really improve the way I work and increase the efficiency of my analysis.
“I get on with my Skills Coach really well, she’s really supportive and always asks at the end of an email if I’ve had any questions. I’ve also found that the trainers have been really helpful too – if ever I’ve had a question they’ve always been eager to help and offered their opinions on things so I have felt really supported by them. The Training Centre is a really nice environment when I go there, the other trainers and admin staff around the centre are always really friendly too.”
We’d like to thank Joe for all of his hard work and dedication during training, and wish him all the best in the future!
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