In November 2020 the big challenge we foresaw was that the communities who are not traditionally well served by mainstream vocational skills and training provision, the focus of Ufi’s strategy, were more at risk than ever from being excluded from education and training and being able to access employment.
In response, we kicked off the 2021 VocTech Challenge to explore where Ufi can best use its resources to make change happen. Using design thinking principles, we have set about an exercise of co-creation across the VocTech community to uncover what the underlying reasons were for some of the current challenges.
The output of our ‘discovery’ phase is captured in the VocTech Challenge Green Paper and our White Paper sets out Ufi’s commitment to taking some of the issues identified forward. We strongly encourage you to read these if you are planning to apply to the fund.
Purpose of the VocTech Challenge Grant Fund
One of the key issues highlighted in the Green and White Papers was how confidence, or lack of it, was a major barrier to vocational learning for those most at risk from economic and digital exclusion.
This targeted grant call is looking for projects that use technology in ways that support learner confidence. There are a number of current and emerging technologies that could be developed or deployed to improve accessibility, create a supportive learning environment, offer increased personalisation, and motivation to start or keep on learning.
Therefore, our challenge for this fund is as follows:
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.
We are interested in groups that are currently least likely to engage with learning, to understand the drivers and barriers that they face.
It is not about a subtle improvement in what is on offer, it is about creating a step change in improving confidence and motivation so that learners are able to take action to get the skills they need for work.