Government launches £5.75m funding to boost workers’ digital skills

The CareerTech Challenge has been launched by the Department for Education and Nesta to ensure workers are equipped for future employment.

Joe Lepper | 16th Oct 19

Charities are being urged to bid for a £5.75m government backed pot of funding to help equip workers with digital and technological skills needed for future employment.

It is estimated that a fifth of UK workers are in occupations that will be affected by automation over the next ten to 15 years.

The government is urging those in the charity, technology and innovation sectors to help ensure UK workers can adapt to the evolving labour market by bidding for funding for their future employability schemes.

The CareerTech Challenge funding stream is being backed by the Department for Education and innovation charity Nesta. It was originally announced earlier this year under the name Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund.

> See also: Charity trustee IT skills dropping, reveals Charity Digital

It is aimed at those who are likely to be most in need of additional skills, 24-to 65-year-olds without a degree and earning less than £35,000 a year.

Retail and manufacturing are among the sectors most likely to change, according to Nesta.

The charity says that more than six million people are at risk of losing their job over the next decade due to digital and technological exclusion.

“Nesta is calling for innovators, entrepreneurs and technologists – including those from the charity sector – to come forward with products and services to equip people for their future work,” said a Nesta Spokesman.


Two part funding on offer

The fund is in two parts. The first involves a CareerTech Challenge Prize to look for ways digital technology can make future focused labour market advice ore accessible. For this 20 finalists will receive £50,000 each as well as support to develop their ideas.

In March 20121 a prize winner will be chosen and handed £120,000 with a runner up awarded £80,000. Applications close on 29 January 2020

Meanwhile, the CareerTech Challenge Fund will offer support to people to build their motivation to learn and develop new skills online. This has been created to boost interest for online learning.

Grants of between £100,000 and £250,000 have been made available for those awarded funding, alongside expert support. Applications close on 8 December 2019.

> See also: Third of charities lack digital skills

Education Minister Michelle Donelan, added: “The CareerTech Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for innovators looking to put their ideas into action on a national scale.

“Everyone deserves access to high-quality teaching and, thanks to new technologies such as automation and Artificial Intelligence, there is potential to drastically improve the quality of online learning for adult students.”