UK govt to fund £18.5m to boost AI skills and training

AIImage: Up to 2,500 people will get the opportunity to retrain and gain expertise in AI and data science. Photo: courtesy of Gerd Altmann/Pixabay.

The UK government has announced a funding of £18.5m in the country’s technology sector to create more experts in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science, and also to encourage technology firms to bring in innovation in online training for adults.

The funding will also support more adults to enhance their skills and take up retraining to advance in their careers or find new jobs. The government claimed that it is part of its commitment to improve gender diversity in the tech sector and exploit new technologies to upskill and retrain adults.

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), up to 2,500 people will get the scope to retrain and gain expertise in data science and AI. For this, the government has allocated £13.5m of the funding, which will be used for providing new degree and postgraduate conversion courses and scholarships at academic institutions in the country in the next three years.

UK Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The UK has a long standing reputation for innovation, world-leading academic institutions and a business friendly environment and everyone, regardless of their background, should have the opportunity to build a successful career in our world-leading tech sector.

“Through these new AI and Data Conversion courses and our modern Industrial Strategy, we are committed to working with the tech sector and academia to develop and maintain the best AI workforce in the world.”

The remaining £5m will be used for funding technology companies to develop latest solutions, using AI and automation, to enhance the quality of online learning under the Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund. This fund will be launched in partnership with innovation foundation Nesta, to help eligible firms to create customised, inclusive, flexible, and engaging online training opportunities to help more people get skilled jobs.

UK Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “We all have busy lives, juggling work and family commitments so online courses are a great way for‎ more people to retrain or upskill and secure a rewarding career. Investing in cutting edge technologies such as AI will mean we can future proof the online learning experience and ensure it better meets students’ needs.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for technology firms to work with Government to put their ideas into action to help develop pioneering online training opportunities for adults.”

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