VocTech Challenge FAQs

These are in addition to our standard FAQs and should be read alongside these and our standard Terms & Conditions of Grant.

Application process

VocTech Activate – Early-stage ideas with potential to scale that require tech development and proof of concept testing in order to be able to scale quickly once Ufi funding has ended. This might be to a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) stage or something similar.

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 so that large numbers of learners can benefit during the funding period and beyond.

There is a question in the application form where you can explain how this project forms part of your longer term aims and ambitions and fits with your organisational strategy.

We are looking to support projects that have the potential to scale so that large numbers of learners can benefit. To do this we believe that projects need to be part of a strong network of committed partners / stakeholders.

It is up to you to determine how you manage relationships with your stakeholders and partners. Ufi does not take a view on whether formal agreements or contracts need to be put in place. It is for applicants to take their own legal advice on these matters.

Yes. However, we will only contract with one organisation.

Yes - but one good application is better than several mediocre ones.

How well projects meet the criteria.

This call is for projects which can deliver as part of the ‘Making Change Now’ pillar of our strategy, so we are looking for projects which can address the VocTech Challenge within the timetable for a VocTech Seed project (4-12 months) or a VocTech Impact project (12- 18 months).

Whilst there is no need to have formal partnerships in place by the application deadline you need to be able to show us that you can deliver.

What we fund

In our VocTech Challenge Green Paper is a view of the ‘VocTech Landscape’ in a series of problem statements / opportunities, and one of the key insights was around confidence.

We recommend you join one of our workshops and read our Green Paper to find out more.

Ufi has used design thinking in specifying this challenge and we want to continue to apply the principles right through the process.

More details can be found in the VocTech Challenge fund guidelines here.

We have introduced a funded ‘Define Phase’ at the point at which a 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 either an MVP or full roll-out of the chosen VocTech solution.

- A clear understanding of the opportunities to scale up and how those can be achieved.

More details can be found in the VocTech Challenge fund guidelines .

We are looking for both types of approaches as they will provide a pipeline of VocTech tools to showcase how VocTech can help create lasting change and have a real impact on vocational learning.

This is the simplest version of the service / product, developed and released in order to get the reactions and feedback of users/customers. This helps the organisation get feedback to bring the final product to the market.

A decision will be made about whether the project will proceed to delivery.

We do not fund projects in schools, unless these can demonstrate that they are addressing specific workplace skills provision to those aged over 16, where there is an identifiable employer need.

Projects can be B2C. You will need to explain how they address the VocTech Challenge and what evidence you have that there is a scalable market for the solution.

Yes. You will need to explain what vocational learning issue your project is addressing and how you will access and retain your learners.

We will these fund costs where they are necessary for successful project delivery. They need to be fully described and we would expect these costs to be appropriate to the overall scale and nature of the project. See hardware, software, and connectivity.

Projects aimed at improving the mental health or well-being of the workforce are not eligible. Our position is that good mental health and well-being are not, for our purposes, specific skills needed to improve the vocational skills of the workforce. Additionally, mental health is a recognised and registered health condition and anything that engages a citizen in this topic could be seen as a medical intervention and would need to comply with the various regulatory bodies.

Yes - the principle is that the beneficiaries must be in the UK.

An innovative way of improving the learner experience of assessing learners (and thereby improving take up/targeting of courses) is eligible.

No. But the manner of its deployment should be. You could use existing technology to target new audiences, or new sectors or delivering learning in a new way. See also https://ufi.co.uk/faqs/#faq-20

How much Challenge funding is available?

This funding call is part of the ‘Making Change Now’ pillar in our Strategy. There is less focus on tech development as we are looking for near market solutions that can scale and have an impact. 

If your organisation is ‘for profit’ or has access to large cash reserves, we will be looking for match funding to demonstrate a shared commitment to the project.

We are looking to fund between 12 – 15 VocTech Challenge projects.

We are looking to fund around 10 - 12 VocTech Activate projects and 3 or 4 VocTech Impact projects.

Ufi funding will pay for towards the cost of buying the equipment and kit that is necessary to deliver the project as well as salaries, project management and so on.

Funding can not be used to pay for capital costs of buildings. When looking at costs we will assess the balance of what you plan to spend in relation to the goals and objectives of your project.

Yes, applications from organisations that are not charities are required to provide some match funding. Details are in the criteria.

Please refer to our terms and conditions for clarification.

No. The VocTech Challenge has a design-led element which all projects need to undertake before Ufi will confirm the full grant offer.