From education to employment

Ufi & L&W partnering to accelerate the use of tech to improve adult participation in learning for work


Today, Ufi VocTech Trust (Ufi) and Learning and Work Institute (L&W) announce a new strategic partnership to accelerate the adoption and deployment of technology to help every adult in the UK get the skills they need to participate and benefit from our transitioning economy.

Over the next six months the “VocTech Challenge: Skills for an economy in transition” will bring together organisations, learners and thought leaders from across the adult education sector to share new insights and ideas that are practical and actionable, with the potential to unlock a more prosperous future for the UK.

Through original research, workshops, consultation and interviews the VocTech Challenge will develop a new programme of grant funding, partnerships and advocacy which will help shape Ufi and our partners’ future work.

Rebecca Garrod-Waters, CEO of Ufi VocTech Trust, said:

“Our new partnership comes at a time of rapid change in the UK economy and labour market, where we see that the UK’s needs will not be met unless there is greater and more equitable access to skills.

“We know that economic growth comes from a better skilled workforce, and that must include every part of the workforce. This means ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to develop skills for work through their lives, building a future economy and labour market where people aren’t just playing catch up but have the chance to thrive in new industries and sectors. 

“Together, we believe that equitable growth will require new skills strategies for an economy and labour market in transition and that technology has a critical role to play in opening access and opportunity, so that no one is left behind.”

VocTech Challenge: Skills for an economy in transition will explore how learning technology, digital tools and pedagogies can help narrow inequalities and ensure every adult can participate in learning throughout their working lives so that the UK has the skills it needs.

Ufi and L&W are particularly interested in how the challenges of upskilling and reskilling are faced and overcome by: 

  • Career changers (adults who need to re-skill in order to thrive at work) 
  • Those furthest away from learning (adults who are not currently in work, who do not have easy access to vocational education)
  • Others for whom different exclusionary factors are impacting their ability to gain the skills they need.

Naomi Clayton, Deputy Director at Learning and Work Institute, said:

“Stark and persistent inequalities in adult learning mean that those who could benefit most are the least likely to participate. This has implications for individuals’ earnings, health and wellbeing, reinforces disparities and limits the UK’s economic growth.

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Ufi VocTech Trust to address these imbalances using technology. Through our partnership, we will advocate for the use of the best digital tools and pedagogies to support adults, particularly those furthest from provision, to access learning opportunities and improve their skills.”

The VocTech Challenge consultation programme will run until May 2023. In June 2023 a white paper will be launched to announce a programme of grant making, partnerships and advocacy open to any organisation interested in developing technology that can support adults gain the skills they need for work.

Sign up to join the VocTech Challenge at

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