From education to employment

Better, quicker, digital – Ufi VocTech Showcase 2017 demonstrates the future of vocational learning

Last week, Ufi Charitable Trust, a grant-funding body which supports the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, held its annual VocTech Showcase. The event brought together Ufi projects, staff, associates, trustees and the wider voctech community to demonstrate some of the exciting tech approaches that are starting to change how vocational learning happens in the UK.

Over 150 representatives from across the voctech community attended the Showcase, at which Ufi had the chance to ‘show and tell’ some of the innovative technology approaches to workplace learning it has funded so far. As well as reflecting on current successes, the showcase encouraged attendees to look forward to future innovations, anticipating how technology-based learning can support the wider upskilling of the UK workforce.

Rebecca Garrod Waters, Ufi’s CEO said:

“Vocational teaching is an oft-forgotten part of the education sector– but developments in vocational learning have the ability to solve real problems for UK industries, sectors and communities who suffer from a lack of properly-skilled workers.

Ufi funded projects are already changing outcomes for individuals who have better access to learning and to work and career progression; and for organisations who are finding better, more cost-effective solutions to ensuring their staff have the skills they need to be productive and competitive.”

Showcase attendees heard from four projects who are using Ufi funding to employ technology in upskilling workers in the fields of food manufacturing, health and social care, and basic numeracy. You can find out more about each of these projects below:

  • Flavours of Reality, led by Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, is using Microsoft HoloLens virtual reality (VR) technology to bring engaging digital workplace training to fish and seafood processing.  Working in partnership with industry leaders, Icelandic Seachill, they are creating a ‘mixed reality’ environment for safe, effective learning of important manual skills.
  • FrailitySIM from Fusion48 is opening up VR-based learning to health and social care staff.  The social care sector faces various barriers to workforce training – cash strapped public providers, small scale private providers, wide geographical spread and a workforce often lacking confidence and time to learn.  This learner led, immersive experience uses a realistic environment to deliver digital learning to social care workers of all grades and roles.
  • Counselling Skills for non-counsellors from Relate grew from their desire to be able delivering their training to a wide range of people in front line work with clients facing challenging personal circumstances.  The project presented very particular challenges to develop a digital solution to such a human centric skill. This work also enabled Relate to think more widely about using digital learning across their distributed organisation.
  • Stardash Studios from National Numeracy is a runner game that has already been downloaded over 20,000 times and has been nominated for industry awards.  Like all Ufi projects, this would not be effective if the learning is not of the highest quality and this means rigorous trialling and testing with prospective learners.  National Numeracy used this to great effect in the development of their app based game designed to help young adults improve their numeracy and better understand why maths matters at work.

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