About the VocTech Challenge Grant Fund

The VocTech Challenge:

How can VocTech address barriers and build bridges to create a step-change in learner confidence and motivation, leading to better outcomes for the learner, for the employer and for society as a whole?

This Challenge is focused on adults impacted by the digital divide and furthest away from learning so they can gain the confidence they need to get the skills they need for work.

This fund will have two parts:

Part A -  A funded and supported design thinking element – the ‘Define Stage Gateway’.

And

Part B - Funding for delivery of a VocTech Activate or a VocTech Impact project

Access to part B is only available to projects who engage fully in the design thinking element and have a clear, user centred plan at the end of that phase that is ready for immediate development.

We are expecting to offer up to 10 / 12 VocTech Activate grants and 3 / 4 VocTech Impact grants.

Part A - The Design Thinking Element - ‘Define Stage Gateway’

This challenge fund has a funded ‘Define Stage’ at the point where the conditional offer is made. This will be a ‘stage gateway’ to ensure that the idea has:

  • Clear user design and learning design where appropriate, focused on our target users
  • A technical approach that will deliver the aims of the project
  • A clear understanding of the opportunities to scale up and how those can be achieved

Read more about the Design Stage Gateway including details on what is required and how this will work.

£10k per project is available towards the costs of investing time in the design thinking element, plus a tailored enrichment package. This will include access to expert support to guide you through the process.  This funding is in addition to the full project costs that you apply for.

Part B - Project Delivery

We will offer a mixture of VocTech Activate and VocTech Impact type grants to support the funding of projects that ultimately build the confidence and ability of people most impacted by the digital divide to be more active and independent learners.

Our new Activate grants are for projects that are beyond their initial early concept stage, still require significant development to be ready to launch to the market but are at a stage where they can quickly begin user testing to improve their prototype.  Our Impact projects are for projects that have a well-developed idea, can deliver to a large number of learners during the project period and have clear routes to market after the funding ends.

When applying you will have to state which type of project you are applying for. We reserve the right to offer a different level of funding. It is possible that as a result of assessment, Ufi might also make recommendations on the most suitable funding type for a project.

VocTech Activate funding up to MVP (Minimum Viable Product).  Networks and relationships already in place in principle, to be able to scale quickly and / or catalyse change in service provision once Ufi funding has ended.

These projects are likely to require some tech development as well as market testing with our target audience of learners.  Part of the project will be the development of the roll-out, scaling and sustainability planning for the idea. Part of the project will be the development of the roll-out, scaling and sustainability planning for the idea.

  • Between £15-£50k, requirement for some match funding from those organisations with significant resources.
  • Minimum of 50 users to be involved in user design and testing, and an ambition for thousands of learners benefitting within 3 years of Ufi funding closing.
  • 4 – 12 months (including the Define Stage).

VocTech Impact –  funding to roll-out an idea where the tech has been tested already to MVP stage.  Networks and relationships already reasonably well established. Delivering to a large number of learners during the funding period and ready to further scale and catalyse change after Ufi funding has ended.

These projects will be characterised by their readiness to roll out, with initial tech development largely complete at the point of application.

  • Minimum of 200 users to be involved in the next stage of user design and testing and 1,000 learners engaged during the funding period. An ambition for tens of thousands of learners benefitting within 3 years of Ufi funding closing.
  • Up to £150K, requirement for some match funding from those organisations with significant resources.
  • 18- 24 months (including the Define Stage).

Return to the fund overview

Continue reading about the VocTech Challenge Grant Fund.

Alternatively, you can download the detailed fund guidance as a pdf.