Up to 2,500 people will have the opportunity to retrain and become experts in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), thanks to a £13.5m investment to fund new degree and masters conversion courses with 1000 scholarships for people from under-represented groups at the UK academic institutions over the next three years (Photo: PHILIP COBURN/AFP/Getty Images).


UNDER-represented groups in the AI and digital workforce, including women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, will benefit from the latest British government funding.

A £18.5 million cash injection aims to drive up skills in AI and data science in the UK.

The cash injection will also support more adults to upskill and retrain to progress in their careers or find new employment.

Up to 2,500 people will have the opportunity to retrain and become experts in data science and artificial intelligence (AI), thanks to a £13.5m investment to fund new degree and masters conversion courses with 1000 scholarships for people from under-represented groups at the UK academic institutions over the next three years.

A £5m is also being invested to encourage technology companies to develop cutting-edge solutions, utilising AI and automation, to improve the quality of online learning for adults.

Potential applicants to the AI and data conversion courses will hold a degree in other disciplines and scholarships will be made available to support applications from diverse backgrounds.

This could include people returning to work after a career break and looking to retrain in a new profession, under-represented groups in the AI and digital workforce, including women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, or lower socio-economic backgrounds.

Tech Nation statistics published in 2018 revealed only 19 per cent of our tech workforce are women.

The Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund, which will be launched in partnership with innovation foundation Nesta, will provide funding and expertise to incentivise tech firms to harness new technologies to develop bespoke, flexible, inclusive, and engaging online training opportunities to support more people into skilled employment.

On the launch of the new Adult Learning Technology Innovation Fund, education secretary Damian Hinds said: “Artificial Intelligence and other new technologies are transforming the way we live and work and have the potential to radically improve online learning and training, so more people can get the skills they need…”

Companies across the British technology sector already employ more than 2.1 million people, contribute £184 billion to the economy every year and inward investment to the UK AI sector stood at £1bn for 2018, which is more than Germany, France, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland combined.