The Institute of Coding (@IoCoding) is a collaborative national consortium of industry, educators, and outreach providers, led by the University of Bath, that is working to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap through the delivery of employer-led digital skills education. Today as part of the CogX Festival 2021, the Minister for Digital Infrastructure Matt Warman announced that the Industrial Masters programme for Artificial Intelligence (IMAI), which is coordinated by the IoC, will continue for a third year.
Through the IMAI, the IoC is working with the government’s Office for Artificial Intelligence to further its work on a nationwide programme of industry funded AI Masters studentships and work-based placements. These studentships and placements help people to reach careers in AI through higher education. Since March 2019, the IMAI team has matched AI Masters students with industry partners, helping to drive up skills and diversity in the AI sector.
The IMAI initiative, which was announced in February 2019, has seen the creation of new AI Masters places at UK universities funded by companies such as Deepmind, QuantumBlack, Cisco and BAE Systems, and backed by the UK Government. One such partnership is the creation of the DeepMind scholarship programme at Queen Mary University, which offered eight places to women and students living in the UK from Black and other ethnic minority groups. The new funding will enable more initiatives like this.
As companies throughout the UK increasingly use AI in processes from manufacturing to fashion and construction to medical imaging, upskilling people to develop and maintain the new technology is crucial to its success in boosting productivity. The IMAI team will work across industry sectors and welcomes conversations from organisations that are looking to grow or develop their AI capabilities.
Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:
"We are working with industry and academia to develop and maintain the best AI workforce in the world through this programme, so British businesses have the skills and talent they need to thrive.
"Through our bold new National AI Strategy we will lead the charge in harnessing the power of AI to tackle some of the biggest challenges of our time, such as climate change and global public health, cementing the UK's position as an AI superpower."
Rachid Hourizi, Director of the Institute of Coding comments:
"We are delighted to continue our work with the Office for Artificial Intelligence. We are supporting studentships on Masters-level programmes, working collaboratively with industry and leading UK universities to create more spaces for AI masters students. The IoC also supports a Coventry University led consortium that is developing new post-graduate conversion courses in AI and data science. Both the newly extended IMAI programme and post-graduate conversion courses are helping to produce a larger, more diverse and better-skilled pipeline of talent to help address the growing AI skills gap.”
Obum Ekeke, University Relations & Educational Partnerships Lead at DeepMind comments:
“This announcement is a boost for the UK’s AI skills capabilities at a time when demand is growing. We have been working with the IoC, IMAI and Queen Mary University London over the last few years to offer scholarships, and career mentorship by experienced industry professionals, to women and students from Black and other minority ethnic groups living in the UK, enabling scholars to focus on achieving their educational aspirations by removing financial barriers.”