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ACIA’s Giuseppe Tortorici and Anna Jakubiec-Maiti. Image: Luke Maxwell/

How training programmes can encourage more diversity

19 Oct 2021 found out more about ACIA’s Academy Programmes, which were recently recognised for boosting diversity.

Earlier this year, the Analytics Institute of Ireland hosted its annual Analytics and AI Awards, which aim to promote excellence across the industry within a variety of categories.

The 2021 awards saw Aon take home the top prize for the best diversity programme in analytics with its Aon Centre for Innovation and Analytics (ACIA) Academy Programmes.

As part of its award-winning submission, ACIA highlighted its BI Visualisation Academy, a learning hub for Aon employees who are interested in developing and upskilling in business intelligence and visualisation tools such as Tableau and Power BI.

The first academy was launched in 2016 and it has grown since then, switching from in-person training to online courses in 2020 when the pandemic forced much of the global workforce to go remote. In that time, Aon has trained more than 200 participants across more than 30 countries with various levels of seniority and a mix of men and women.

To find out more about the programmes, spoke to Aon’s Giuseppe Tortorici and Anna Jakubiec-Maiti.

Tortorici said the diversity starts with the trainers, where there is a good balance between men and women.

“Everyone can bring something to the table and can bring different perspectives that can add value,” he said. “I think the diversity is very important because we could receive different perspectives, different opinions [and] different ideas.”

A crucial part of building that diversity within the programmes is that there are not requirements to join, but the company encourages people from different areas of the business and with different levels of experience to learn new skills and level the playing field.

In its award submission, ACIA said: “We have found that everyone, from the experienced data analyst to the senior director, or the graduate who has just joined the firm, has something different to bring to our Academy Programmes.”

Jakubiec-Maiti is an example of someone who didn’t have much experience using data analysis or visualisation tools, having come from a financial background.

“Soon after I started working at Aon, I joined the Academy Programme as a trainee and training itself inspired me to self-learn more about the tool and also really helped me to pass my certification exam at the end.”

Once she gained more experience in the various tools, Jakubiec-Maiti later returned to the academy as a trainer.

“What is really great about being a part of the Academy Programme is the scope of sharing the practical knowledge and experience with others, reviewing different ideas and approaches, like what works and what doesn’t,” she said.

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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