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Skills for work charity awards £1.5m grant funding to help level up learning for those most impacted by the digital divide

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24 November 2021 – Ufi VocTech Trust (“Ufi”), the UK charity working to scale up the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, today announces new grant funding for innovators in vocational education.

Ufi VocTech Trust, the UK’s leading charity for championing the power of technology to improve skills for work, today announces more than £1.5m in grant funding for 14 projects that use tech to help adults impacted by the digital divide, so they can gain the confidence to get the skills they need for work.

The fund has been developed as part of Ufi’s VocTech Challenge White Paper which found that lack of confidence was a major barrier to vocational learning for those most at risk from economic and digital exclusion.

Ufi has offered funding to 14 organisations that will use technology to improve accessibility, create a supportive learning environment, improve assessment and offer increased personalisation and motivation to start or keep on learning.

Rebecca Garrod-Waters, Ufi CEO, commented: 

“The VocTech Challenge Grant Fund comes at a crucial time for UK skills development and aims to identify solutions for those learners who, without positive intervention, will struggle to get the skills they need to work or progress in employment.

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The funding comes at a critical time for UK skills and learners. The UK skills shortage is costing organisations £6.3 billion, and 91% of companies have struggled to find workers with the right skills over the past 12 months. This comes at a time when there are stark inequalities in adult participation in learning and when skills are most in-demand, meaning that those who could benefit most from learning are also least likely to engage.”

Commenting on their award, Sam Sims, Chief Executive of National Numeracy said:

“We are delighted to have received this offer of funding from Ufi VocTech Trust, which comes at a crucial moment: for decades the UK has fallen short in reaching, engaging and supporting the adult population who struggle with numeracy. This funding will allow us to focus on innovative, easily accessible and highly flexible approaches that help build numeracy confidence, as well as skills, among those who need our support the most.”

Priya Lakhani, CEO Founder, CENTURY Tech said,

“I am delighted that CENTURY has been selected as one of the recipients of the VocTech Challenge grant this year and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Ufi again. We work with more than half of the UK’s FE colleges and regularly hear about how students struggle with and feel demotivated by existing summative assessment technologies. Our colleges asked us to create a new solution which is fit for purpose and we are excited about harnessing our tried and tested machine learning technology to offer a personalised approach to assessment. We are extremely grateful that this will all be made possible thanks to the support of Ufi.

The 14 organisations offered VocTech Challenge funding are:

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