From education to employment

Ufi announces work with The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award on innovative digital badges

Victoria Tuffill, CEO, Data Compliant Ltd

Ufi is delighted to announce its support for The Duke of York Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA) to develop and extend its innovative digital badge concept. The project will encourage people to develop digital and enterprise skills and help plug the UK’s digital skills gap. As one of the funders, Ufi’s expertise across the education sector and voctech will contribute to helping develop and roll out the iDEA programme.

iDEA is designed to inspire people to become digital citizens, workers, makers, entrepreneurs and gamers – enhancing their skills to help them access work and progress up the career ladder. The digital badges are short modules which cover a diverse range of topics such as cyber security, cloud computing, animation, growth hacking, customer relationship management and web development. iDEA aims to create coherence in the digital and enterprise skills learning landscape, democratising the opportunity provided by today’s digital world through digital badges which provide flexible learning , available to anyone free of charge, when and where they want to learn.  They can be done by people on their own, with their friends or in classrooms and workshops.

iDEA uses a blended learning approach that aspires to be a digital and enterprise equivalent of The Duke of Edinburgh Award. Participants take on a series of challenges to earn points which aggregate towards their Bronze, Silver or Gold Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award. The system allows for the creation of both digital learning and experience badges, so that iDEA can accredit partner activities and learning that happens in the ‘real world’ such as events, workshops and competitions.   

Working in partnership with organisations including schools and colleges, charities, local authorities and businesses, iDEA enables employers and other digital and enterprise learning institutions to be part of the project. It is working with partners from companies of all sizes to create, co-create and commission world class resources which can be accessed either via Partner websites or via the iDEA platform. Teachers, tutors and facilitators are also using iDEA resources as valuable CPD (Continuing Professional Development) to build their own knowledge of key digital and enterprise skills.

iDEA is working with Joining Communities in Leigh in Wigan to help equip adult job seekers with knowledge, information, skills and confidence. One of their learners, Jason said “It’s a great place to learn, it’s simple to use, and you can access it from any device, anywhere.  I love learning new things, and the topics that are available are things I never thought I would be interested in. Reading through these different things has opened my mind a lot. You get a trade recognised certificate at the end of the course, there is no pressure – you can do it at your own time and your own pace. There are three different stages and you feel like you have accomplished something at each stage.”

Rebecca Garrod Waters, Ufi’s CEO says, “Ufi is convinced of the value of micro credentials and digital badges to improve access to, and delivery of vocational learning. The scheme exemplifies everything that is good about the concept of digital badging – it is accessible on any device, flexible, available to adults and young people at all stages of digital skills development, and supports informal and formal learning. We are looking forward to being able to demonstrate the value of digital badging through the working example provided by iDEA.”  

About Ufi Charitable Trust: Ufi is an independent grant funding charitable trust. We support the delivery of adult vocational skills through digital technology, funding projects that will accelerate scale and access to digital vocational learning across the UK.

Our aim is to accelerate adult vocational learning, helping more people gain the skills needed for work. We want to provide opportunities for lifelong learning and skills development in ways that fit around work and life commitments. We believe that this can be achieved through the use of digital technologies, increasing the scale of people who can access learning opportunities.

We see digital technology offering increased flexibility, new approaches to learning, new ways of accrediting learning, new distribution models and new relationships with learning providers. Ultimately, developing the skills of the UK workforce is fundamental in enabling our country to compete in the global economy.

About iDEA: The iDEA project is part of The Prince Andrew Charitable Trust.  The Prince Andrew Charitable Trust funds the initiatives that The Duke of York has created within his core areas of interest:  Education and Skills; Entrepreneurship; and Science, Technology and Engineering.  The initiatives that the Prince Andrew Charitable Trust creates are made possible by the kind support of external donors and private sector partners.

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